What Peyton Manning did in one night against the defending Super Bowl champions was more impressive than what Joe Flacco did to bring that championship home to Baltimore.
Why even bother to compare?
Answer: To refute the claims that Flacco's "elite" status was justified by a four-game winning streak.
Winning the Super Bowl may be the most overrated accolade associated with NFL quarterbacks. How many times does Eli Manning need to outduel Tom Brady on the game's grandest stage to drive that point home?
But back on topic.
Flacco was a wild-card quarterback coming off of a pretty poor 2012 season:
- 14th in the league in passing yards
- 15th in the league in passing touchdowns
- 19th in the league in pass completion percentage
- 15th in the league in adjusted-net yards per attempt
Compare that to Manning's 2012 season:
- Sixth in the league in passing yards
- Third in the league in passing touchdowns
- First in the league in pass completion percentage
- First in the league in adjusted-net yards per attempt
Those incapable of comprehending the depth of the position will cry, "That was only during the regular season!" as if a four-game winning streak makes up for 16 weeks of ineptitude.
You'd almost forget the garbage performance Flacco delivered in Baltimore as Manning's Broncos beat them into the ground in Week 15 of the 2012 season.
Flacco turned himself around and strung together an impressive set of four games.
Joe Flacco (2012 Postseason): 73-of-126 (57.9) for 1,140 yards (9.0), 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions; 117.2 passer rating
Still, the reality is that one quarterback wins the Super Bowl every year by default.
It's certainly less impressive when during the entirety of the season, 13 quarterbacks pass for more yards, 14 quarterbacks throw more touchdowns, 18 quarterbacks are more accurate and 14 quarterbacks are more efficient.
Yet to some, a four-game winning streak wipes out the body of work a player put on display week in and week out.
Flacco deserves credit for being a wild-card champion who played poorly for most of the season before stepping up his game during an impressive four-game set.
What Manning did on opening night was something else entirely.
Peyton Manning (vs. Ravens on 9/5/13): 27-of-42 (64.3) for 462 yards (11.0), seven touchdowns and zero interceptions; 141.1 passer rating
He became the first quarterback to throw for seven touchdowns in a single game since Joe Kapp did so in 1969.
It was a different league back then, when games weren't nationally televised at every angle, exposing defensive players' performance on each and every down.
If your team started to get blown out and defensive backs stopped giving 100 percent on every down, it didn't become people's business to watch over and over again on YouTube and ESPN.
It's no coincidence that from 1943 to 1969, five different quarterbacks managed to throw seven touchdowns in a single game.
In the past 44 years, no one has been able to do so.
Until last night.
Since Kapp threw seven touchdowns on September 28, 1969:
- There have been 9,316 regular-season games played.
- There have been 426 postseason games played.
Counting last night's season opener, 9,743 games have been played.
If you multiply the total number of games by the two starting quarterbacks representing each team respectively, there has been a grand total of 19,486 opportunities for a quarterback to throw seven touchdown passes in a single game.
Out of those 19,486 opportunities, only Manning has accomplished this feat.
Is that more impressive than Flacco's four-game winning streak?
Ryan Michael is a Senior Writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter at: @theryanmichael.
Any questions, comments or professional inquiries can be directed to his email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.