Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco Poised To Become an Elite Quarterback

Jim PiascikCorrespondent IJanuary 10, 2011

After his performance Sunday, expect great things out of Joe Flacco.
After his performance Sunday, expect great things out of Joe Flacco.Larry French/Getty Images

When you think of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL, the names Brady, Manning, Brees, Rodgers, Rivers, etc. come to mind.

That pantheon needs to prepare to welcome a new member to its ranks.

Not even considered the best quarterback in his draft class by the mainstream media, the time has come to recognize the greatness of Joe Flacco.

Put down by most and the whipping boy of quite a few analysts, Flacco has proved he is well on his way to being an elite quarterback. Many will argue with this viewpoint, but the facts are undeniable.

The most important thing about Joe Flacco is that he is a winner. In his first three years, Flacco is 36-16, a better mark than John Elway, Peyton Manning and Terry Bradshaw; more importantly, Flacco has led his team to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons.

The only other quarterbacks who have accomplished that feat in the Super Era are Dan Marino and Bernie Kosar.

In the playoffs, Flacco has taken his winning to another level. All six of his playoff games have been on the road and he’s won four of them. That’s more road playoff wins than Dan Marino, Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger, amongst others.

Many will say that the Ravens running game and defense are responsible for Baltimore’s playoff victories, even going as far as to say that Flacco is holding the Ravens back.

These people must not believe in the old Al Davis adage, “Just win, baby.” 

The fact is, Joe Flacco is a winner; all he does is win and his team is 100 percent behind him. Flacco has even taken some of the leadership role from Ray Lewis this year.

If there is one thing that is certain, it is that Lewis takes his team very seriously and wouldn’t put his trust in someone untrustworthy. Are you really going to doubt Ray Lewis?

In his first three seasons, Flacco’s passing yards have gone from 2,971 to 3,613 to 3,622, and his touchdowns from 14 to 21 to 25. His completion percentage has never dropped below 60 percent in a season, and he has only thrown 34 interceptions in 52 games.

His performance has been so good, he is one of only six quarterbacks to throw for 10,000 yards in first three years. The others? Jeff Garcia, Drew Bledsoe, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino and Carson Palmer.

Not bad company to be in.

All the company that Joe Flacco is keeping right now is elite. His quarterback rating, which has gone from 80.3 to 88.9 to 93.6 in his first three years, is trending towards elite.

With this in mind, isn’t it ignorant not to believe that Joe Flacco himself is trending towards elite?