Personally, I don’t like labeling quarterbacks as “elite.” There are just too many interpretations of what elite can mean, how many quarterbacks can be elite and so forth. I prefer to look at it as can they lead their team to a Super Bowl and then win it.
If we are going by this, then Flacco is now an elite quarterback. You can also argue he is an elite quarterback just based on his performance in the playoffs, which is also a valid argument.
In the playoffs, Flacco went 73-of-126 for 1,140 yards with 11 TDs, 0 INTs, a QB rating of 117.2 and a QBR of 83.6. These stats come from four games. Over a full season this would equate to a statline of 292-of-504 for 4,560 yards and 44 TDs. The completion percentage of 58 can seem a little worrying but when you factor in the fact that he is throwing many more deep passes than most quarterbacks, it isn’t much to worry about. His eleven touchdown passes to zero interceptions ties him with Joe Montana for the best TD-to-INT ratio in playoff history.
While Flacco had a good playoffs as a whole, his performance in the Ravens 34-31 Super Bowl victory was great. He went 22-of-33 for 287 yards with 3 TDs, 0 INTs, a QBR rating of 124.2 and a QBR of 95.1. This QBR of 95.1 is seven points higher than any of the Super Bowl performances since 2008 (when QBR was created).
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On the deep ball, Flacco excelled again in the Super Bowl. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Flacco was 7-of-13 for 171 yards and 2 TDs on passes longer than ten yards. This has been the key to Flacco’s postseason success. In the postseason from 2008-2011, Flacco threw 1 TD and 6 INTs on passes longer than ten yards.
With this performance, Flacco won the MVP of the game which always helps in an argument about being elite.
People who hate on Flacco will point to his regular season stats to say he isn’t elite. While they have a point, consider that Flacco’s improved play occurred after offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was fired. It will be interesting to see how Flacco plays after a full season under new coordinator, Jim Caldwell. If Flacco doesn’t perform well then there could be an argument but, I see Flacco having a career year next season, statistically speaking.
In my opinion, the only question there should be with Flacco now is his contract situation, not whether he is elite or not because, how many active quarterbacks have a Super Bowl MVP trophy?