The Labeling of Elite Quarterbacks …..

September 23, 2010 |

You gotta feel for a guy like Joe Flacco …..

With each passing week, he’s labeled with a differing description of where he WAS …. where he IS …. and where he’s HEADED.

We’ve heard and read nearly every imaginable word or phrase to describe the most highly touted quarterback in Ravens history. For the most part, Flacco has been successful in his 2+ years in the NFL.

Thus, the labels have usually been complimentary …..

Average Joe

Joe Cool

Joe Schmoe

Up & Comer

Next Big Thing

Rookie Sensation

Upper Echelon

You get the picture, right? However, the one label we haven’t cast upon the Ravens quarterback is ELITE. We’ve hinted at it. We’ve proposed it. We’ve even suggested he’s “almost there.”

That’s right, if you’re tuned into the scuttle of talkers and listeners among Baltimore’s football culture, you’ve undoubtedly been around people who’ve bantered about Joe Flacco’s progression toward ELITE status among quarterbacks.

Of course, these conversations occurred before last Sunday’s visit to Cincinnati. Welcome to the harsh world of football fanatics. It’s a world filled with overreaction and impulsive discretion.

I’m not certain any one athlete’s capabilities or qualities can be summed up in one word or a short description. I would like to think the role of a competitor at the very highest level is much more complex.

Better yet, if prime athletes are accurately identified through one word identifiers, is it reasonable to suggest they must possess more than sheer dominant abilities and on-field production?

I think so.

After all, when is the last time you saw an ELITE QUARTERBACK who couldn’t charm a television audience with a charismatic touch? Today’s ELITE gunslingers fit such a description …..

Peyton Manning – CHECK

Tom Brady – CHECK

Drew Brees – CHECK

For me, being an ELITE quarterback demands a dominance of the position for an era of time. While I think Aaron Rogers and Philip Rivers are on the verge, they’re not quite among the above listed players.

I think a determining factor will be whether Rogers and Rivers can capture the attention of a respective television audience – off the field. ELITE quarterbacks make commercials and they endorse mainstream products.

Such endorsements are convincing, too. While anyone can make a half-hearted attempt to pitch razors, soft drinks and video games, ELITE athletes seal the deal with consumers – just as they do on the field.

Do you see where I’m headed?

Do you love Joe Flacco’s television commercials for local merchants? Do you foresee him collaborating with Justin Timberlake or Serena Williams to sell ANYTHING?

When I look at Joe Flacco, I see a guy who’s most comfortable blending among a crowd. That’s fine with me. I just want to see him win; I don’t care if he ever reaches that rockstar-ish ELITE status.

Just win baby. Hey, that’s what Al Davis would say, right? And, when he made that phrase popular, he was winning Super Bowls without ELITE quarterbacks.

Perhaps, we should just let Joe be Joe. It’s worked for the last couple seasons …..