Flacco or Ryan – are we really still doing this?


It’s a debate that has been going on every year since the 2008 Draft—Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco?

Both have demonstrated why they were deserving of their first round pick, but the fact that Ryan was taken higher (third overall) is a rationale behind those who are on the Falcons’ side of the discussion. 2012 was a big year for both Ryan and Flacco (though one bigger than the other, of course).

Ryan finally got the monkey off of his back by winning a playoff game against Seattle (ED. note – an earlier version of this article said that the game was in Seattle. We apologize for the error.) after failing to do so in his first four years. Flacco not only added on to his tremendous playoff win total, but got two shiny pieces of commemoration, including a Super Bowl MVP honor.

The old saying “Rings Don’t Lie” certainly applies here, but some are still convinced that Ryan, who has won a total of ONE playoff game, is the quarterback that they would like under center for their team.

Let me start by saying this: Ryan is a tremendous quarterback with a skill set that can’t be overlooked. He has the flashy statistics to give his supporters something to work with, but that’s about all. It’s nice to be able to rave about 4,500+ passing yards, but it’s also nice to have two of the best wide receivers in the league.

Let’s be honest, any quarterback who has Julio Jones and Roddy White on the same team is bound to have success. Both Jones and White are legitimate playmakers who with anyone throwing to them, are going to catch the ball. Don’t forget about Tony Gonzalez, possibly one of the best tight-ends to ever play the game, who is still playing with great hands and power.

Flacco, on the other hand, wasn’t so fortunate to have incredible talent like Jones, White, and Gonzalez around him. He has had to make comebacks and late rallies with players like Dennis Pitta and Torrey Smith, who, with all due respect to their talents, are not at the caliber of Atlanta’s stars.

This isn’t fantasy football. The NFL isn’t a numbers game! No, Joe Flacco hasn’t put together a season where he has had over 4,000 yards, but he hasn’t needed to! The key is putting it all together and giving your team a chance to win late in games—and that is what Flacco does.

I have been one of the biggest critics of Flacco, specifically when he hit an all-time low late in the 2012 regular season. I addressed the point that missing the Super Bowl for the fifth straight year with a team that was more than capable was unacceptable. Flacco needed to get it done in crunch-time, something that he did. For that, he deserves major credit.

After winning Super Bowl XLVII, Flacco has put the pressure of Ryan heading into 2013. If the former third-overall pick can’t get the job done this year and fails to win a playoff game again, will this debate finally be over?

Not likely, but I still know who I’m going with.

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About Joe Wedra

Joe Wedra
Joe is an NFL enthusiast that spends way too much time studying tape, but he wouldn't want it any other way. Joe can be found on Twitter @JoeWedra, where he'll tweet out everything from Ravens analysis to scouting reports on Division II offensive line prospects...all for the love of the...more

15 Raves on “Flacco or Ryan – are we really still doing this?

  1. Big C on said:

    Even if we didn’t win the Super Bowl, he’s still better and he’s still our guy. You see young un, in the Ravens offense, no QB is ever going to put up gaudy stats. They simply aren’t showcasing the QB like every other offense in the NFL in the regular season, they wait until the playoffs. Mainly because, our WR’s cant’ win like other pro bowlers. I mean everyone needed to just relax. He’s the guy to get it done, he’s overcome those beatdowns the Steelers laid on him and has risen IRON-tough. But in all reality, Aaron Rodgers wouldn’t do much better in our system, with those receivers. Hasn’t anyone noticed that all these QB’s putting up stats have certified BALLERS as WRs??

    • Joe on said:

      Don’t forget the lack of protection Flacco has always had. If Flacco had played for Atlanta he would have won a couple of Superbowls by now

    • The Football Professor on said:

      Thank you C. I take exception to the bloggers contention that no one was harder on Joe Flacco than he was, during the “lows” of the 2012 regular season or at any other time. You cannot have it both ways, that you thought Ryan was better because of his stats unless Flacco led a team to the Super Bowl “in five years” or not. Flacco has always been better. The Ravens have always been better than the Falcons, and even with ole’ man Cameron calling offensive schemes that were no better than plays designed in the ’50′s and ’60′s (as per Greg Cosell of NFL Films) the Ravens had a better game plan. Die-hard fans like myself knew the minute Flacco out-gunned his competition at the NFL combine and at the senior all-star games, that we had picked a “winner”. If if had taken Flacco ten years to do what he is capable, he would still be better than Ryan. Ryan has nowhere near the playoff consistency or the playoff road wins that “Cool Joe” has. The non-athletes who think they can grab a keyboard and analyze Super Bowl MVP’s amaze me. Flacco, when it is all said and done, will have eclipsed Rapelisbergher, Shady-Brady, Lyin’ Ryan, Luck, Manning I, Manning II, and all these other pretenders. My man #5 is the man.
      That is the kind of ringing endorsement you give a man who plays “all out” like Joe. The only bone-head play he made all year was that out pattern that was returned for a pick-6 right before the half the game we lost at home to Denver. We were about to pull even or near even, and that changed the complexion of the game. What impressed me more than the mental error he made, and any NFL QB is bound to make some at the speed of the game the way it is played, is his supreme effort to catch the DB before he scored. That is the kind of “never-say-die” attitude that makes a QB a Montana or a Flacco, tied btw for most perfect postseason ever. That is why “Cool Joe” was able to connect with Smith, J Jones, Boldin, Pitta and Dickson to accomplish the perfect postseason. That is also why he was able to throw the Miracle at Mile High, which was not “luck”. He simply, out-believed, out–executed, and out-threw the competition. Denver has an excellent defense. They just were not ready for Flacco.

  2. darren on said:

    flacco, without lee evans dropping a perfectly thrown ball last year in n.e., should have went to the sb in 2011 season also……….matt ryan and the falcons have only won one playoff game ,,,,,,but not only that, matt ryan has personally chocked as qb the last 2 playoff runs….hes had the team in a position to win and threw the ill advised int…..this is what makes flacco the better qb…..comes down to who does it when u have to do it…..no real decision here

  3. John on said:

    Who give a $h1t anyway? They can have Ryan. But they can’t have Flacco (he just signed a minor contract).

    Can’t we all move on and discuss something that actually means something?

  4. tmw on said:

    Seriously, all this talk about Flacco is just annoying to no end.

    I could not care less about calling him “elite” or not, or comparing him to [insert any QB] all the time.
    Joe is a raven, he does a great job and led us to consecutive playoffs and a super bowl. PERIOD.

    Now can we please let this “discussion” just die? pretty please?

  5. callahan09 on said:

    Nice post. One small correction, if I may… Ryan’s playoff win came at home against Seattle, not in Seattle.

  6. g money on said:

    Don’t forget that Ryan plays in the sunny NFC south, with a bunch of games in some cozy domes. I don’t want to get involved in the argument, especially because most of the people who defend Flacco now would have loved to have Matt Ryan after the regular season loss to the broncos.

  7. JerryB on said:

    There’s really no debate here. Joe Flacco has won more games (63), including playoffs than any other QB in the NFL since entering the league 5 years ago with Ryan. He has taken his team to the playoffs in each of those years and just won a Super Bowl in which he was name MVP. So, what’s to……….debate?

  8. Craig on said:

    Something else too,
    Ryan may be in this boat too, though I am not sure, but Flacco’s durability is crazy. With offensive offensive lines (yes, I meant that), playing the Steelers and Bengals twice a year – two teams with ferocious pass rushes – that he has not missed a game is incredible. Lets just say, for giggles, everyone ELSE is right and he is just average….I bet a team wins more with an average QB who plays every game versus having an above average injury prone QB. Just look at our friends in Pittsburg, DC, Philly, etc.

  9. Mark on said:

    I think Joe, under the tutelage of Cladwell, is going to explode this season putting a serious hurtin’ on the other QBs of the league once and for all, including Melted Ice, Tomalina Brady, and Da Forehead Manning

  10. Mill on said:

    I don’t care that opposing teams fans and the media dont see what we see. Let Ryan be the fan favorite and the media golden boy. I’ll dry my tears on my Superbowl T-shirt, while I stare at Joe Flacco hold that Lombardi above his head with confetti falling on my desk top.

    In the words of Mr. Al Davis, JUST WIN BABY!

  11. The South on said:

    The Falcons will be hard-pressed to win their division this year. The Saints will be back and very tough. Ryan indeed has a lot to prove this year.

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