Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco Proves He Was the Better Pick over Matt Ryan
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It's been a debate that has spanned the course of five years, dating back to the 2008 NFL Draft.
Which was the better pick at quarterback? Matt Ryan at No. 3, or Joe Flacco at No. 18?
In their rookie years, Ryan led the Falcons to the playoffs just a year removed from the Michael Vick dog-fighting saga, and Flacco led Baltimore to the AFC Championship Game.
After that first year, I've been begging for an Atlanta/Baltimore Super Bowl to finally determine which quarterback was the better choice five years ago.
But after the events that transpired on Sunday, there's no need for a Super Bowl between the two.
Joe Flacco has ended that debate by leading the Ravens to their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.
If this debate was settled long ago after Flacco led Baltimore to the AFC Championship Game last year, then maybe I'm about a year too late.
But for the last five years, when Flacco has been asked to deliver in the playoffs, he's done just that nine times out of 10. He was one Lee Evans dropped pass away from bringing Baltimore to the Super Bowl last year.
Looking at it a year later, what better script could there be for Ray Lewis to ride off into the sunset? The Ravens took down the Colts, beat Peyton Manning and co. in Denver, and got their revenge on Tom Brady and New England.
You could point to Lewis' return to the roster as a sign of motivation that has Baltimore where it's at now, but after what Flacco did against Denver and Baltimore, he's put the team on his back when need be.
Unlike his counterpart in Atlanta, Flacco now has the most road playoff wins in NFL history with six. Ryan, as of the win against Seattle, has only one playoff win in five years.
Win or lose, Flacco gives Baltimore the best chance to win, no matter what QBR stat Skip Bayless throws out. No one can deny that he is a clutch quarterback who can get it done in big-time situations.
Can it be said that it wasn't Ryan's fault as the reason why Atlanta isn't in the Super Bowl this year again? Sure, but how much longer can that question be asked, now knowing that the guy in Baltimore led his team to the big game in his fifth year?
Until Ryan gets the Falcons to a Super Bowl, Flacco will have ultimate bragging rights just by getting to the game alone.
And if Flacco can lead Baltimore to a win over San Francisco, then no one should ever open this debate again.
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