Most people won’t agree with the conclusion, but the numbers show this about Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco: He belongs in the conversation with the NFL’s elite.
After last week’s 38-35 double-overtime win at the Denver Broncos, he won his fifth playoff game on the road to tie him with New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
“Joe is confident, and I hope our whole team is confident," coach John Harbaugh said after the Ravens clinched the AFC North with a 33-14 victory vs. Giants. "You hope all your players are confident. That’s something that you want to see out of your guys. He performed at a real high level, in a critical situation, in an important game, against a very good defense that was very determined. So, that was big for us.”
In the postseason, Flacco has done the same. He has a 7-4 record since coming into the league in 2008 and has led the Ravens to 3 AFC championship games. He already has victories on the road vs. Peyton Manning (Broncos) and Tom Brady (New England Patriots). The Ravens travel to the Patriots on Sunday for another chance to advance to the Super Bowl.
"I'm tired of talking about Peyton Manning," Ravens cornerback Cary Williams said going into last week's game vs. the Broncos. "What about our guy, Joe Flacco? No one gives him any respect."
During the span of Flacco's NFL career, Manning is 2-4 in the playoffs. Brady is 3-3, Aaron Rogers (Green Bay Packers) 5-3 and Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints) 4-2.
All of those quarterbacks have something, however, that Flacco doesn't: Super Bowl championship rings.
All, including Eli Manning, have at least appeared in a Super Bowl since Flacco entered the league in 2008. If not for a dropped pass in the end zone by Lee Evans in last year's AFC title game with the Patriots, Flacco would have that under his belt.
In a contract year, accomplishing the Super Bowl feat won't only put Flacco among the elites, it'll pay off in his bank account.