Dec 29, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

It's Time To Stop Hating On Joe Flacco

Why all the hate on Joe Flacco? There’s no really good reason not to like him. Sure he’s a bit inconsistent and his numbers aren’t at the “elite” level that some people would like them to be at, but is that what it’s really all about?

As one wise man once said “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”. No one listens to Vince Lombardi, the greatest coach in the history of the NFL? I just don’t get it. What will it take to get the fact that winning is the only thing that matters into the heads of fans and critics?

“winning isn’t everything, its the only thing” – Vince Lambardi

Joe Flacco fits this description perfectly. His numbers aren’t flashy at all, not one bit. He’s never passed for over 25 touchdowns in a single season and he’s never topped the 4,000-yard mark in his six years in the league. Despite those unimpressive  numbers, he has only thrown over 12 interceptions once. For a guy that has started all 109 games in his six-year career, that is an impressive number.

However, that is about the only thing about Flacco that looks good on paper. He has finished with a quarterback rating of less than 88 percent in five of his six years. He completed less than 60 percent of his passes in half of his years in the league.

You could look at numbers all day and tell me that Joe Flacco is not “elite” and he doesn’t deserve the type of money that he is receiving, but stop looking at the numbers.

Look at how big of an improvement the Baltimore Ravens have made ever since they drafted Joe Flacco in 2008. From 2001-2007, the team won a total of one playoff game… One playoff game! All of a sudden, in his very first year, Flacco doubles that, leading the Ravens to the AFC Championship in 2008. The very next year he led them to the playoffs again, and he dealt Tom Brady the first home playoff loss of his career.

This kept on going on. The next year he lead the Ravens to a 12-4 record and another postseason victory. In 2011, he lead them to yet another 12-4 record. He played a fantastic game versus the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship, out-dueling Tom Brady and nearly leading the Ravens to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, a couple players on the team (Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff) didn’t want them to go the Super Bowl (see video), to this day I’m still not sure why.

However, he never got rattled, never. He might have hit a career low in week 15 of the 2012 season when he threw an interception to Denver Broncos corner back Chris Harris at the one yard line.  He returned it to the end zone and lead the Broncos to a 34-17 domination of the Ravens which dropped the Ravens to 9-5 on the year. It capped off a tough three-game losing streak and put the AFC North title in jeopardy.

Even with all this going on around him, he found a way to show up against the New York Giants in week 16 and clinch the AFC North division title for the second year in a row. What happened next was legendary. In the second round of the playoffs, he threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones in is what now called the Mile High Miracle. He lead the Ravens to a 38-35 victory over the heavily favored Denver Broncos in the AFC Divisional round. He then faced the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship again, a year after being disappointed by some late game woes. After starting slowly, he played a terrific second half and got revenge on the Patriots with a 28-13 victory.

He played fantastically in the Super Bowl against the Sea Francisco 49ers, looking poised, gunning beautiful passes left and right, and capping off one of the greatest playoff performances by  a quarterback in the history of the NFL. He became the second quarterback in postseason history to throw 11 touchdowns. The other?… Joe. Montana.

Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) hoists the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Check out this video on Joe Flacco’s playoff run.

When it comes to quarterbacks, numbers are pretty irrelevant. If I’m a GM and I’m looking to sign a quarterback, am I looking at whether ha has passed for 4,500 yards consistently or am I looking for a guy that can bring me to a Super Bowl. If a guy that’s passes for 4,500 is a guy that can lead your team to a Super Bowl, then yes, you will want him; but a lot of times that isn’t the case.

Tony Romo is a perfect example. His career statistics are pretty impressive. He has thrown over 4,000 yards four times in his career including passing for 4,903 yards in 2012. His touchdown numbers are especially better than Flacco’s as he has topped 25 touchdown passes six times in his career – a stat Flacco has not surpassed even once.

However, he’s the last guy I want under center for my team. He single-handedly finds ways to lose games especially late in the season when the stakes are highest. He has won one playoff game in his nine-year career and has a 1-7 record in must-win games. If he’s a loser, I don’t want him; because after all, who likes losers?

Joe Flacco has two traits that you can’t teach no matter how hard your try; he has a gun for an arm and he never gets rattled in high-pressured situations. It can be the fourth quarter of a one possession game and it won’t make a difference. In fact, sometimes he even elevates his game in those situations. It doesn’t make sense but it’s true.

At the end of the day, Flacco has accomplished more in his first six years than almost every NFL quarterback has in their careers. He has more playoff wins in his first five years than Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning all had combined in their first five years. I just put him in the same sentence as the best quarterbacks in the game, so don’t you think it’s time to stop with the hate?

Tags: Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco

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