Super Bowl 2013: Victory Won't Make Joe Flacco an Elite Quarterback

Michael DulkaContributor IJanuary 19, 2013

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 12:  Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens looks to pass against the Denver Broncos during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 12, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Ravens won 38-35 in 2 overtimes.  (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Joe Flacco has been criticized for claiming he's an elite NFL quarterback. With a Super Bowl victory in 2013, Flacco would certainly be hearing more of that debate.

Even if the Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl, though, Joe Flacco shouldn't be considered among the NFL elite.

For Flacco and the Ravens to win the Super Bowl, they will need two big games out of the quarterback. With a sparkling new addition to his resume, Flacco would be taking the necessary steps. A Super Bowl trophy puts Flacco on the doorstep of being considered elite, but it doesn't let him in. 

While he's played well in the postseason, Flacco's regular season stats don't exactly scream elite. He finished with a quarterback rating of 87.7, good for 12th in the league. He finished tied for 15th in touchdowns with 22 and 14th in yardage with 3,817 yards. 

Those numbers are fairly average. With only 10 interceptions on the year, that increases his status toward the top of the pack. 

Flacco needs to improve his consistency in the regular season. He didn't have a game all year long in which he threw more than two touchdowns and didn't throw an interception until the playoffs.  He had monster games and duds as well. 

His best game of the regular season was the season opener. He completed 21 of 29 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns in a 44-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

The next week, he played a poor game with 22-of-42 passing for 232 yards, one touchdown and one interception in a 24-23 loss the Philadelphia Eagles

Flacco had six games with a quarterback rating over 100 during the regular season. His rating was below 83.2 in each of the six games that followed. In all six of the games with a rating over 100, he had a positive touchdown to interception ratio. In the six games that followed those performances, he had a positive ratio just once. 

In order to erase those regular-season numbers, Flacco would need more playoff success than one successful Super Bowl run to be considered among the NFL's elite quarterbacks. 

Flacco is an above-average quarterback in the NFL. Throughout his NFL career, he's proved he's a franchise quarterback who can lead a team to success. The fact that he has won playoff games in his first five seasons in the league is remarkable.

The fact of the matter is that the term "elite" has been thrown around too frequently. Whenever a quarterback does something special or wins the Super Bowl, the topic of whether he is elite or not emerges.

Flacco needs to do more to be considered an elite quarterback. He needs to put up better numbers and have more success. A Super Bowl win would be a huge step for Flacco, but he shouldn't be anointed right away.