Quarter-Back Again: Elite-ness Revisited

So, Joe Flacco got himself a Super Bowl ring (and a Super Bowl MVP award, despite any arguments in favor of Jacoby Jones). Does that make him an elite quarterback? I expressed some of my thoughts at length earlier and I more or less declared that, prior to the Super Bowl at least, Flacco was not an elite QB. Now that he’s won, I’m prepared to reevaluate and modify my original ideas, if needed. The criteria I laid out in my previous post was meant to be a measurement of who the best active QBs in the NFL are, whether you want to call them “the elite,” as I basically did, or not. “Elite” has been a troublesome word for me as I struggled to write that post, and now this one.

Here’s a bit taken from an earlier draft of my previous post:

The term “elite” is kind of vague. I believe that elite QBs are a smaller group than the “top 10,” perhaps numbering anywhere between 4-8 in a given season. Of course, by saying “in a given season,” I am suggesting that elite status can be temporary. A QB can be really good for 3 years and then wind up playing for another 10 that aren’t so notable. OR, another more likely prospect is that a QB might start slowly and build to elite status. However you try to slice it, the term is kind of hazy. Even if the term isn’t hazy, everyone’s opinion on who fits the term’s definition is different as well.

I left that part out for one reason or another, but now I’m more inclined to embrace it and its suggestion of the potentially fleeting nature of being an elite QB. Rather than being just the top 4-8 QBs in any given year, perhaps the elite are those whom you would want to lead your team, based on recent performance. Obviously, there can be perennial elites, like the 4 gentlemen I mentioned in my last post (Brady, Brees, Peyton Manning, Rodgers). However, maybe it would be more appropriate to call these perennial elites future Hall of Famers (with the possible exception of Rodgers, who just needs to keep it up for a few more years). That would then suggest that the elite status should be extended beyond just the top four. Continue reading

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Quarterbackstravaganza!

I’ve been trying to write a post about Joe Flacco and whether he qualifies as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL (let alone, one of the “elite”) for over a week now, with no success. I’ve done all kinds of research, tallying, calculating and clicking around on pro-football-reference.com and wikipedia to find out not just about Flacco, but also about how he compares to most every other long-term starting QB in the NFL since the year 2000. It’s to the point where my thoughts are so disorganized and the information I’ve compiled is so unwieldy that I just need to throw it all (well, not all of it) out there.

Here’s what it boils down to: since at least the start of the 2011 season (or earlier) there has been some discussion about whether Joe Flacco is an “elite” quarterback. Now he’s playing in the Super Bowl and it sounds like he’ll be demanding “Drew Brees money” when he gets a new contract in the off-season. Throughout all of this, and even up to this point, I’ve personally been skeptical of this praise of Flacco and the desire to rank him among the best QBs in today’s NFL. However, maybe there is something to all of these stories and arguments. Maybe Flacco is actually better than I give him credit for. In an effort to see if Flacco is indeed one of today’s best, I’ve compiled a list of criteria for what I think makes an NFL quarterback one of the best. Please be aware that this is a personal, non-professional/expert analysis. It’s just one fan doing amateur statistical and career comparisons in order to convince himself that he’s right, or find out that he’s wrong. Continue reading