As many football fans already know, the NFL Network has recently been airing a compilation piece which features current NFL stars naming fellow football players, also current, to a list of top athletes going into 2011.
The piece, which is televised in segments and produced by the NFL, is officially titled The Top 100 Players of 2011.
The list includes a great mix of talented athletes from all different teams and, for the most part, remains unbiased, since voting takes place inside the elite ring of current players that take the field every Sunday.
However, after 49 athletes mentioned on the show and listed on the NFL’s website, we’re having a hard time finding the logic behind the ranking of the individuals who were fortunate enough to be voted on by their peers.
One such player who falls into this category is Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco.
After leading the Ravens to three straight playoff appearances in each of his first three seasons—the only player to accomplish such a feat since Bernie Kosar and Dan Marino—Flacco has found himself at No. 90 on the list, behind Atlanta’s Matt Ryan (No. 52) and Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman (No. 86).
We could be wrong, but this looks like a case of Flacco, once again, not earning the respect he deserves at this point in his career.
Even though the mainstream media might not be totally behind this latest snub of Baltimore’s beloved quarterback, it is outlets like CBS, NBC, ESPN and the NFL Network that often miss on giving Flacco the credit he’s earned.
If you think we’re a little biased in our judgment of, quite honestly, a meaningful list of current and future football stars, then look no further than NFL.com’s own senior analyst, Pat Kirwan.
Kirwan, in an article published on May 31, takes a similar stand as we do in this matter, stating Flacco “still gets overlooked at times.”
When comparing Flacco to Ryan, Kirwan said, “Tell me how much different people perceive Matt Ryan, who, in the same amount of time, has thrown 66 touchdowns, 34 interceptions and has an 86.9 passer rating?”
Kirwan added, “Ryan is 0-2 in the playoffs as compared to Flacco’s 4-3 postseason record. This past season, Flacco threw 25 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions.”
“Even though those numbers compare favorably to Ryan’s 28 TDs and nine picks,” Kirwan said, “try and find a fan who thinks the two quarterbacks are in the same class.”
More importantly, in the same opinion piece, Kirwan brought up the rumor that is gaining steam throughout the NFL community, about Flacco not putting in the time and effort into recent unofficial team practices.
“There seems to be rumors floating around that Flacco doesn’t do the extra work required to be great, something I find hard to believe after discussing his preparation with him a number of times,” Kirwan said.
By all accounts, Flacco is a hard worker. However, it’s rifts in locker rooms that often are the source of such ugly rumors as this.
We recognize the capacity that Ryan and Freeman both have at the quarterback position. On the other hand, how do two quarterbacks (Ryan and Freeman), who have yet to win a playoff game, earn higher bidding on an all-time list partially generated by their peers?
It’s possible we might never know the real answer as to why Flacco keeps flying under the radar, but an appearance in this year’s Super Bowl might go a long way in clearing up how he’s perceived as a football player by fans and, more importantly, his peers.
In addition, if you’re interested, The Top 100 Players of 2011 airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET on the NFL Network.
Todd McGregor is a Baltimore Ravens Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.
Follow Todd on Twitter! Twitter.com/ravens023
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