Where Does Super Bowl XLVII MVP Joe Flacco Rank Among NFL's Top QBs?
Where would the reigning Super Bowl MVP have ranked a month ago, and where does he rank now?
Here's a comprehensive breakdown of the current quarterback rankings.
10. Philip Rivers
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Philip Rivers has experienced quite an interesting career arc in the NFL.
He went 14-2 in his first season as the San Diego Chargers starter, and in his second campaign he led his team to the AFC Championship Game. Between 2008-10, he averaged more than 4,300 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and just a shade over 10 interceptions.
But he has regressed after a legitimate MVP-worthy 2009 season, and so has his team.
Rivers' weaker arm strength, occasionally bad footwork and poor decision-making has gotten the best of him over the last two seasons.
Also, many starting quarterbacks around his age have advanced deep in the playoffs, and some have played for and even won Super Bowls.
No. 10 is as high as Rivers belongs at this juncture.
9. Tony Romo
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Tony Romo has a frightening tendency to fold under pressure.
His apologists love blaming the coaches, receivers for running incorrect routes or the Dallas Cowboys defense, but there truly is no denying the quarterback's affinity for non-clutch play.
If he was more productive in crunch time, he would be much higher on this list.
He has a career completion percentage of nearly 65 and has thrown 59 touchdowns and 29 interceptions over the last two seasons while averaging more than 4,500 passing yards.
8. Joe Flacco
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A little more than a month ago, Joe Flacco wouldn't have sniffed any top 10 QB lists.
His spectacular, four-game run to the Super Bowl MVP has rightfully placed him into this prestigious distinction, but he's not "elite" by the traditional definition.
Flacco has averaged just slightly over 20 touchdowns to 11 interceptions during the regular season in his career, and his bad games have been epically atrocious.
But when he's on, there are few who possess more natural quarterbacking skill, especially when it comes to firing the deep ball.
At 28, Flacco may be entering the prime of his career.
Therefore, it's extremely plausible that his individual statistics greatly improve in 2013 and beyond.
7. Matt Ryan
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Matt Ryan is, easily, one of the most productive and accomplished regular-season quarterbacks in the NFL.
He has compiled a 56-22 regular-season record in his five-year NFL career and has tossed 127 touchdowns to 60 interceptions all while averaging nearly 3,800 yards passing per year.
His relative postseason struggles certainly don't help his standing, but the future is undoubtedly bright for the former Boston College standout, especially with Roddy White and Julio Jones split out wide.
6. Eli Manning
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Eli Manning and Joe Flacco are similar.
Sometimes they look totally bewildered on the field and make agonizingly bad decisions that directly result in embarrassing defeats.
But their relaxed demeanor has led each quarterback to amazing postseason achievements and wins in huge divisional games during the regular season.
Eli's career completion percentage is 58.6 percent, and he has thrown 211 touchdowns and 144 interceptions during his career.
However, he has averaged more than 4,200 passing yards per season over the last four years, and his 8-3 postseason record speaks for itself.
Ultimately, he's defined by two magical playoff runs that ended with Super Bowl victories over Tom Brady and the mighty New England Patriots.
5. Ben Roethlisberger
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Though Ben Roethlisberger can't fall back on gaudy passing-yard and touchdown totals, his improvisational skill, tremendous quarterback IQ and two Super Bowl victories place him in the top 5.
He has only thrown over 30 touchdowns in a season one time and has eclipsed the 4,000-passing yard plateau on two occasions.
Big Ben exemplifies what it means to be a leader at his position, and he certainly is capable of being a high-volume passer.
4. Drew Brees
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How good is Drew Brees?
Well, some considered a 5,177-yard, 43-touchdown season with 19 interceptions a down year for the Saints signal-caller.
Brees operates a pass-heavy system in New Orleans, and he is an absolute technician in it.
Without Sean Payton and a horrible defense that put him in many precarious situations, he got into trouble more often than usual in 2012, but that doesn't mean he's no longer one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Brees' career completion percentage is nearly 66 percent, and he averages nearly two touchdown passes per game.
Oh, and he won a Super Bowl.
3. Peyton Manning
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Peyton Manning miraculously returned from serious neck surgeries, and after shaking off early rust that materialized during his year away from football, the future first-ballot Hall of Famer was incredible in 2012.
Compiling a 65.2 completion percentage over 14 seasons isn't easy, neither is six consecutive campaigns with more than 4,000 yards passing.
Manning's smarts and decision-making are legendary, as are his leadership qualities.
2. Tom Brady
It doesn't get much better than Tom Brady.
He has played the overwhelming majority of his career without top receiving talent, especially relative to other premier quarterbacks in the NFL, and his production has never subsided as a result.
Since returning from a ligament tear in his knee in 2009, Brady has thrown 137 touchdowns to 37 interceptions—an insane ratio.
Over that span, he has averaged nearly 4,600 passing yards per season.
1. Aaron Rodgers
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Aaron Rodgers is the ultimate quarterbacking surgeon in today's NFL.
No one possesses his blend of precise pocket-passing ability, downfield touch and accuracy while throwing on the run, and he can pick up yards while scrambling as well.
Rodgers has a quick release that frequently yields absolute lasers to Green Bay Packers pass-catchers, and he is in complete control of just about every game in which he participates.
He arguably pieced together the greatest quarterback season in the history of football in 2011—68.3 percent completion percentage, 4,643 yards, 45 touchdowns and six interceptions, and his 2012 wasn't much worse with 4,295 yards, 39 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Rodgers is capable of it all.