All of this talk about “elite” is getting us away from the real issue…

October 22, 2012 | Drew Forrester


“Is Flacco elite?”

Elite, elite, elite.

I’m making a decision, right now, on October 22:  I am no longer using that stupid word – elite – to judge a quarterback, particularly the guy in Baltimore.

Mind you, I’m not one that throws that “E word” around much as it is, but it’s always the big argument in football.  Is so-and-so an “elite” quarterback?

It’s 10-minutes of filler for ESPN and all of the other talking heads.  “Is he elite?”…blah, blah, blah…

So, from this day forward, I’m going to use a new word to discuss and analyze any and all quarterbacks in the NFL.

It will be a non-negotiable word.  One you can’t possibly argue.  And right now, in the league, there are only six of these kind of quarterbacks.

They’re called “championship quarterbacks” and they are, in no order, Brady, Roethlisberger, Brees, Rodgers, Eli Manning and Peyton Manning.

No one else in the league is worthy of inclusion on that list.  And that includes Flacco.  And Matt Ryan.  And Michael Vick.  And Matt Stafford.  And RGIII.

You’re either a championship quarterback or you’re just a quarterback.

In the other words, there’s only one way to be an “elite quarterback”.  You must have a ring.  There are a few very notable exceptions over the last 30 years.  Guys like Dan Marino and Jim Kelly and Warren Moon are Hall-of-Famers and they don’t sport flashy jewelry.  But those are three very rare exceptions to the rule.  And that rule is:  “If you want to be elite, you better have a ring on your finger.”

At this point, Flacco is a good quarterback.  Is he better than Ryan or Stafford?  Some games, yes.  Some games, no.  But he’s not better than Brees.  Or Brady.  Or Roethlisberger.  Or any of the guys with a ring.

We love to argue about whether or not the quarterback is “elite”.  For whatever reason – mainly because he’s usually the guy who makes the most money – it’s always the quarterback we throw under the super-microscope and try to come up with a word to define him.  These days, that word is “elite”.

But how do we determine what makes a guy “elite”?  Is it winning?  Championships?

We better be careful saying, “you can’t be elite unless you have a ring” because we’d then have a certain linebacker and safety in Baltimore who can’t be considered elite…since both Suggs and Reed are sans jewelry.

So, let’s get rid of that word, elite, when trying to define our quarterback in Baltimore.

You’re either a “championship quarterback” or you’re a quarterback trying to become one.

Let’s just worry about the only thing we should be worried about…and that’s WINNING.  Yes, he’s been the quarterback of the team that has made the playoffs four straight seasons.  Yes, he has a post-season victory in each of those four seasons.  And, honestly, I’m glad Flacco is the quarterback in Baltimore.  I’m in the pro-Flacco camp, if such a group exists.

But let’s just settle this debate about Flacco – and any others in the league who are good but haven’t won anything yet – and call a spade a spade.  He’s not a championship quarterback.  Yet.

When (not if…but when) Flacco does win a title, he’ll be considered “elite”.

For now, he’s not elite.

No disrespect, but that’s just the way it goes when you haven’t held up the trophy.


11 Comments For This Post

  1. charlie Says:

    good point, and it should go for the franchise, as well. they’ve been darn good the last several years, so we should be grateful for thatl. but is the next step up to the championship level, or in the other direction?

  2. The Armchair QB Says:

    There are many adjectives that have been used the past 4 years to describe the Ravens’ offense: out-of-sync, dysfunctional, predictable, etc. But the one consistent description is…..inconsistent! It applies to the QB play as well, but when you play in such a system, your performance is likely to be a mirror image of that system! It’s been that way for 4 plus years and isn’t likely to change until there;’s a change in coordinators…….

  3. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    If you remember, Flacco and his agent used that term. We all know it’s about a new contract for Flacco, the more accolades, the more money. I’ve stated before that he is not in the company of the QB’s you mentioned, win a Super Bowl and then we can talk ELITE.

  4. Steve Says:

    Trent Dilfer, championship qb. Or just the opposite exception like Marino. (DF: Trent Dilfer won a championship. That’s undeniable. Put him in whatever category you want. But he has a ring.)

  5. Carlos Henry Says:

    Is Joe Flacco elite? Definitely not, but we knew that already. Those of us Raven’s fans who can be objective and don’t have purple shades glued to our faces knew it anyway. All I heard last week were delusional fans saying, “No problem, the offense and Joe will carry the team and make up for an average, injury riddled defense.” And what exactly made these people believe that? They couldn’t have seen anything this year as proof because I’m a fan and I haven’t seen it. This team is in trouble because their once great defense is average at best and their quarterback and offense which were supposed to be ready to lead the way are inconsistent and cannot,and I repeat cannot, carry the load. You don’t know what you’ll get from Joe week to week. He’s better at home but as we all know they can’t play all of their games at M and T bank stadium. Huddle, don’t huddle or have a conference before every play, I really don’t care. Just move the chains and score some points for god’s sake. You need those points now more than ever because your defense can’t stop anyone and that won’t change this year.

  6. Donta Says:

    Trent Dilfer was not elite and he won a super bowl Joe Flacco can get us to the super bowl. I could care less if he is elite as long as we win most seasons and have a shot at a title. He is not elite but so what the Ravens need to get back to running the ball an keeping this defense off of the field less no huddle the defense is not good enough for that. The Ravens will win if they get back to this formula.

  7. P Gavin Says:

    When Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer and John Elway are announced at a banquet it is all the same way. Super Bowl winning Championship Quarterback. End of discussion.

    Legitimate starting NFL QB??, Joe is certainly that and so are Ryan, Rivers etc. That is why teams sell their souls to get someone who they think CAN get them a Championship. Gone are the days of Joe Gibbs plugging in anyone and winning.

    And anyone who looks at this WEEKLY(and hash over every throw) is a fool and doesn’t understand sports. 32 teams are TRYING to win it all, 31 go home. Only ONE Championship QB in any year.

  8. OVER40DON Says:

    FLacco plus Cameron equals a very average to below average Offense. Get a new off. coordinator and the team might win as they rebuild the defense. I think we can put the no huddle offense to bed at least on the road. Good grief the Packers showed how you can destroy the Houston defense. Didn’t see that game myself and doubt if the Ravens watched much of it ( on film). But the way Flacco was throwing maybe it wouldn’t have mattered.

  9. Chuck Says:

    If you have to ask if a QB is “elite” then you know he’s not.

  10. BudIce05 Says:

    Joe(Bill Troup on the Road)Flacco is not elite… he couldn’t even hold Bert Jones jockstap

  11. Eric Says:

    I think Flacco and Cameron get too much blame here. I was in Houston at the game. Here’s what I saw: 1. Inept protection by the offensive line, particularly Bobby Williams. I’ll say it. He sucks. 2. Receivers unable to get separation. Johnathon Joseph blanketed Torrey Smith, all day. Cam doesn’t help by running bunch formations and putting people in motion, but the receivers could not get open. 3. Rice was keyed on all day by Connor Barwin. Why don’t we see more of Bernard Pierce?

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