28 Jan 2001: (FILE PHOTO) A general view of the Lombardi Trophy being held aloft before the Super Bowl XXXV Game between the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Ravens defeated the Giants 34-7. The New York Giants are scheduled to play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The two teams last met in the Super Bowl in 2008, where the Giants defeated the Patriots to win Super Bowl XLII. (Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons/Allsport)
Former head coach of the Baltimore Ravens and current NFL Network analyst Brian Billick wrote a story on NFL.com, titled, "Dilfer aside, elite quarterbacks essential to win titles." In it he says that other than his own QB, Trent Dilfer, who won Super Bowl 35 for Billick and his Ravens, a team needs to have that so-called "elite" QB in order to get to and win the Super Bowl. He lays out this year's two starters, Tom Brandy of the New England Patriots and Eli Manning of the New York Giants.
I wonder if Billick would have even posted this story had Ravens WR Lee Evans held onto QB Joe Flacco's late throw for what would have been the game-winning touchdown. That would have propelled the ravens into the Super Bowl instead of the Patriots and Billick would either have to pull or change the story. Of course, he could have just posted it as it currently is, with Flacco in that class of "elite" quarterbacks.
Billick may actually be mostly correct, but not completely. Going back to the 2004 Super Bowl, the winning QB's have been Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger (twice), Eli Manning, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady (twice). However, in both 2003 and 2001, the winning signal-callers were far from being anywhere near the discussion of "elite," as both Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Brad Johnson (2003) and Dilfer (2001) led their teams to victory supported by strong running games and shut-down defenses.
However, going even further into the past of Super Bowl winning QB's will find the names of stars such as Kurt Warner, John Elway, Brett Favre, Troy Aikman, Steve Young covering the eight years preceding the Ravens victory. Therefore, it appears that Billick is pretty much dead-on when looking at the teams that have consistently competed for the Lombardi Trophy.
If you want to argue this, the crux of your argument should not be whether or not an elite QB is needed to win the Super Bowl, as the Ravens were one play away from getting there, but whether or not Joe Flacco is an elite QB, which is a whole other story in itself. One thing for sure about Flacco, he is absolutely a franchise QB, and certainly one who is good enough to lead his team to the Super Bowl. That last sentence is one that he will surely prove at some point in what will be a long, solid NFL career.