These stats say: Flacco not so elite

These stats say: Flacco not so elite
September 30, 2012, 6:25 am
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Who would have ever imagined that Joe Flacco would become so controversial?

Right now, somewhere someone is probably arguing that he doesnt deserve to be considered among the NFLs elite quarterbacks. The other day, that someone was Bill Barnwell and the somewhere was Grantland.com. The piece was headlined The Myth of Joe Flacco.

Barnwell uses a statistical model to opine that the strongest argument for Flacco how many games he has won has been built on the Ravens defense.

Joe Flacco's win total isn't really that impressive, Barnwell writes. Flacco's Ravens won 44 of 64 regular-season games from 2008 to 2011. By my count, an average NFL quarterback with a similarly effective defense would have won 42 games with that same defensive output. Flacco's winning ways, if you want to give him credit for them, were worth about a half-win per season.

Applying this model to other quarterbacks who have played since 1993, Barnwell finds, not surprisingly, that Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Steve Young and John Elway rank highest in what is sort of a simplified version of baseballs wins above replacement stat.

Barnwell acknowledges his model may not be perfect, but hes sticking with the idea that strictly using the Ravens record is giving too much credit to Flacco.

There are plenty of limitations to this simple metric, Barnwell writes. Perhaps there is something about Flacco's performance that is grossly underestimated in his statistical line and the defense's points allowed that makes him so valuable. In reality, though, people want to use Flacco's win-loss total as a measure of his level of performance, and when they do so, just about all they're reporting on is how well Baltimore's defense has played.