Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Is Joe Flacco an Elite Quarterback?

Going into his first Super Bowl, Joe Flacco is getting questioned about whether or not he is an elite quarterback, among the likes of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.  This is especially topical since he outplayed those two quarterbacks on the road to earn this Super Bowl berth.  Eli Manning fielded similar questions last year and went on to upset Brady in the Super Bowl.

What makes a quarterback elite? Is it team wins? Winning percentage? Perhaps you believe that quarterbacks get too much blame and praise for winning a 52 player team game, therefore they should be judged by completion percentage or touchdown to interception ratio instead. Do elite quarterbacks need to be clutch in the fourth quarter and win the big game, and not just stat hogs in the blowouts?

Here is a breakdown for those stats for the nine quarterbacks who have started at least five playoff games since Flacco joined the league in 2008:

QB Wins Win % Comp % TV/INT Ratio SB GW D
A 3 43% 62% 1.6 0 1
B 4 67% 68% 8.5 1 2
C 4 80% 63% 3 1 2
D 8 67% 54% 2 0 2
E 2 33% 66% 2.8 0 0
F 5 63% 66% 3.6 1 0
G 5 71% 59% 1.3 1 2
H 4 67% 61% 3 0 2
I 1 20% 66% 1.3 0 1

Which quarterback would you want?

  • D has the most wins
  • C had the highest winning percentage
  • B has the best completion %, TD/INT ratio, has won a ring, and has two game winning drives
  • F is second in comp. %, wins, td/int ratio, and has a ring
  • G is second in wins, win %, has a ring, and two game winning drives

Which one of these QB’s would you avoid?

  • E has only won two playoff games with no Super Bowls or clutch drives
  • A has a sub-500 record and no Super Bowls either

Hard to judge the elite quarterbacks without the names and history, huh? Hate to break it to you, but the ones who look like they are not elite (E and A) are Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. The winning-est QB’s (D and C) are Flacco and Eli Manning.  The QB’s with good stats and a ring (B, F, and G) are Brees, Rodgers, and Big Ben. The remaining QB’s are Matt Ryan and surprisingly Mark “Butt Fumble” Sanchez.

Next time elite quarterbacks are mentioned, be sure to look at the full picture and not just the glamour name.

Note: I am fully aware that if I start at 2007 instead of 2008, it includes two more wins for Brady and four more for Eli, but overall the stats do not change that much and defeats the purpose of the Flacco debate. Game winning drives are a stat determined by profootballreference.com.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting perspective, but if you normalized all of the game stats by [Per Seasons in the League] you could better account for the selection bias embedded in excluding 2007. Just a thought.