They have reason to be. The rookie from the University of Delaware has led the Baltimore Ravens to a 5-3 record. Last year, the team had five wins the entire season. In his last three games, he had 620 yards and four touchdowns, producing a 147.2 QB rating and more importantly, three Ravens wins.
Flacco is a huge underdog for the award, but I think he definitely deserves it.
While some may argue that Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan deserves it, I respectfully disagree. Although I agree that Ryan deserves lots of credit for picking up a Falcons team, he has played less effectively on third down, in the fourth quarter and away from home. Overall, Flacco has been much more consistent.
Let me break it down: On third down, Flacco has an 85.1 quarterback rating and a 61.4 completion percentage. On fourth down, Flacco is 2-for-3 with 18 yards. On the road, Flacco is 78-for-121 with 913 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.
But if you take away his game against the Indianapolis Colts, in which he threw three interceptions, you have four TDs and no interceptions.
In the fourth quarter, Flacco is a phenomenal 33-for-47 with 446 yards and one touchdown. Last week, he led his team to a 37-27 win when they were down 27-13 with 6:06 left in the third quarter. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he led his team on a touchdown drive, when they were down 20-13 with five minutes remaining in the game.
On the other hand, Ryan hasn't been nearly as good. On third down, Ryan is is a lowly 28-for-53 with 295 yards and no touchdown tosses. On the road, Ryan has a lowly 54.2 completion percentage and five interceptions. In the fourth quarter, Ryan isn't bad, but not as good as Flacco. Matt is 36-for-61 with 380 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.
As I said, Flacco is much more steady. Flacco has had one real BAD game. It was against Indianapolis, where he was 28-for-38 with 241 yards and three interceptions. Besides that game, Flacco has been incredibly steady for what people called a "huge reach" on Draft Day.
In the other six contests, he has thrown just two interceptions in a game only twice. And in his last four contests, he has yet to throw a pick.
On the other hand, Ryan has gotten more consistent, but hasn't shown week-to-week progress much this year.
In week one, he was 9-of-13 for 161 yards and one touchdown. The following week, he went 13-for-33 for 161 yards and two picks. The next week, he did well again, going 12-for-18 for 192 yards and a touchdown. The following game, he sucked, throwing just 158 yards on 21-of-41 passing. He did well in his next game, with 194 yards and two touchdowns.
He finally had back-to-back good games, with 301 yards and one touchdown. Following the bye week, he struggled. He was inaccurate, as he threw 23-of-44 with two interceptions. But fittingly, last week, he went 17-for-22 with 220 yards and two touchdowns. Based on his consistency to be inconsistent, he'll struggle today.
People might also claim Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, Felix Jones or DeSean Jackson are deserving of the award. As I write this, Flacco threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Yamon Figurs to take a 7-0 lead over the Houston Texans. I think he deserves it more then Johnson, Forte, Jones, and Jackson because you have to take into account what the rookies' respective teams did last year.
Flacco and the Ravens were expected to win four to six games and finish last in the AFC North. Right now, they are one game behind the 6-2 Steelers.
Also, you have to factor in expectations: all of the players mentioned above were expected to do well - Flacco was expected to be a bench warmer all season.
But, he hasn't been. When you look at the stats, you think Matt Ryan deserves the Rookie of the Year. But, after you read this, I hope you think differently.