NFL Top 100: Will Joe Flacco be respected around the league?
The NFL Network last year started a new countdown list which was pretty popular among fans. The Top 100 list, a list of the best players currently in the NFL, as voted on by other players. Like any countdown list on NFL Network, there will always be a debate among what was ranked too high, too low and how a player or play didn’t make the list when it should have. I find the Top 100 very interesting, and I look at the list and can’t help but think that Joe Flacco will never earn the respect of his peers.
In 2011, Joe Flacco made the list at 91, after leading the Ravens to the playoffs for the third straight year. Meanwhile, Josh Freeman was ranked higher at 86 and didn’t even lead his team to the playoffs. Matt Ryan who was drafted 3rd overall in 2008, was ranked higher than Joe at 52. 39 spots higher than Joe, Matt Ryan who still hasn’t won a playoff game and was recently shutout in a playoff game was ranked 39 spots higher than Flacco. During the 2011 season, Joe Flacco showed that he can be a Franchise QB but only moves up to 74 in 2012? Once again Joe takes the Ravens to the playoffs, and the fourth straight year he has done that by the way, and isn’t ranked higher than 74? What does Joe have to do to earn respect around the league, and will he just barely make the Top 50 if he wins the Super Bowl?
So many people still live in the past and believe that the Ravens defense is the reason for the wins and not Joe. How is it that Joe can lead a 92 yard drive on the road, in a tough environment like Pittsburgh and against a Dick Lebeau defense and people still say they win because of their defense. Case in point, their is a NFL Player who is on Twitter under the name “Playerrater” who gives his opinion on where players are ranked. This player posted the following regarding Joe’s # 74 ranking:
“Flacco shouldn’t even be on this list. The
@Ravens defense should be #74 I guess.”
I didn’t realize Ray Lewis led the 92 yard drive, I didn’t realize Ray Lewis was the one who drove the Ravens down the field and was a Lee Evans catch away from the Super Bowl. No it wasn’t Ray Lewis, not Ed Reed, it was Joe Flacco. Many of Joe’s critics don’t realize that Joe actually outperformed Tom Brady in the AFC Title game, they don’t realize that Joe’s only problems are that his receivers drop passes which makes him look bad and his offensive coordinator Cam Cameron won’t take the handcuffs off of him. If Evans catches the ball the Ravens are in Indianapolis not the Patriots, many times Joe throws perfect passes but the receivers just can’t catch the ball. Also, can anyone explain how Joe Flacco is the only quarterback whose defense wins games for him? Yet there are many defenses around the league that help their team win but guys like Brady, Brees and Big Ben, and Tim Tebow get all the credit. Double Standard anyone?
When the Steelers won the Super Bowl in 2008, the Steelers had the # 1 Defense; In 2009, the Saints defense was # 1 in turnovers, and the Giants led the league in sacks last year, but their defense didn’t win the game for them. I felt sorry for the Broncos defense and Matt Prater last year because they weren’t getting any credit while Tim Tebow was getting all the praise in the world even though we know the Broncos defense and Matt Prater was the reason the Broncos really made the playoffs.
Everyone can keep using the excuse of the Ravens defense wins the games and not Joe Flacco but let me point something out to everyone. They have been a defensive team for over a decade and still struggled to find consistency and be a consistent Super Bowl contender. Flacco gets drafted in 2008 and the Ravens have consistently made the playoffs four straight years, Coincidence? Trent Dilfer, Elvis Grbac, Kyle Boller and Steve McNair and many others have all quarterbacked the Ravens while having the same Defense but none of them took the Ravens to the playoffs four straight years.
If it truly was the Ravens defense who wins games, then why doesn’t Grbac, McNair, Boller and Boller have rings? Joe Flacco changed the culture in Baltimore and has made them a more balanced team and still gets no credit. It wasn’t until the Ravens got Joe that they were this consistent of a playoff team, regardless how great their defense was they still struggled because they didn’t have the quarterback.
Now they have their quarterback who has shown he can win games and is all so close to taking the Ravens to the Super Bowl. It’s time for the rest of the league and the media to wake up and see that Joe Flacco is a guy who can get it done on the field and will carry the Ravens to a Super Bowl someday. I have a feeling Joe could lead the Ravens to the playoffs for the fifth straight year in 2012, lead the Ravens to New Orleans and win the Super Bowl, and still not gain any respect around the league from his peers.
Mike Presley is a NFL Featured Journalist for The Penalty Flag. He is a graduate of the Carolina School of Broadcasting and hosts a weekly NFL show on the schools radio station 89.3 The Storm entitled “The Front Seven.” Mike writes for the racing website www.hardcoreracefans.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepresley64.