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I'm not going to go point by point and debate this, because honestly that's just going to lead to more and more debate which I don't particularly have the time or energy for when it isn't directly going to lead to a story. The bottom line is this. I don't think stats are the be all and end all of quarterback performance, but I think they're a great place to start looking. With Stafford and Romo, I think both are criminally underrated. I've written about Romo ad nauseam at my full time job and Stafford has made great strides this year. Ultimately when you're talking about winning a Super Bowl, there are so many factors at play that it's unfair to give all of the credit to the quarterback. There really isn't evidence to suggest that Flacco is close to on the level of a Manning, Brady or Rodgers (at least at their peaks, since I'll gladly admit at that Brady is no longer elite for a variety of reasons pertaining to both himself and his roster). That is the true elite level, where Manning, Brady and Rodgers are/were. Flacco isn't there. Winning is a such a team function that calling Flacco elite because he wins, like so many Ravens fans do, is just a ridiculous statement. That's my ultimate point. I hate team success determining how we rank quarterbacks, who are individuals and should be treated as such. I'll give you credit, you're far more articulate and knowledgeable than most of the Ravens fans I've encountered. I'll just never see the logic for consider Flacco elite beyond ESPN rhetoric and homerism.
After a cursory glance:
- Brees improved because he HAD Payton, not because he lost Cameron. It'd be impossible to measure Cameron's impact on Rivers since it was his first year as a starter. I'm no fan of Cameron, but he's nowhere near as terrible as Ravens fans make him out to be. He's certainly done wonders for Zach Mettenberger. Either way, there is no circumstance that looks to make a huge difference for Flacco,
- You talk about the advantage the true elites had at receiver while ignoring everything they've lost on defense and the running game. Your only argument using that was Brady's running game was good last year and this year, ignoring the '07-'11 stretch when it wasn't a factor, the past few years for Rodgers and every year for Peyton since Edge left Indy. In terms of Rice and his fumbles, it's not like he magically loses his skill in the playoffs. It's a smaller sample size against better competition. Those numbers wouldn't look as bad with a bigger size (which I imagine will grow in the next few years).
- In regards to winning as a team function, you only mention the ridiculous Moore play. You casually mention the defense and only mention last year's as being bad. That's kind of a moot point, because I acknowledge that Flacco played elite level football in the playoffs last year. He carried them for four games. That's not who he has typically been, and not who is currently. A lot of the argument for Flacco as elite relies on him making the playoffs and winning there in his first five years. That doesn't happen without the defense.
- You pretty much ignore the five years of mediocre statistics that Flacco has put up. Those are important. So are the mediocre stats he's put up this year. Justify them all you want, but there's no way Flacco can argue for elite with the numbers he has.
Ok, at this point I'm done with this. Honestly I should thank you. You played a big part in me getting 109 comments, which makes me look good to the higher ups. This isn't my main writing job, so not a huge deal, but it's still nice. At this point there's just no reason for me to argue this anymore. The numbers support me, and honestly so does the film. He had one elite stretch, now he's back to Earth. I don't see what Ravens fans find so insane about that. Oh well, it's been fun.