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.