The NFL Network is promoting a series of the Top 100 Players of 2011, and the Baltimore Ravens' QB Joe Flacco has made the list, albeit at the lower end at number 90. With the Top 100 representing around 6% of the entire league, that is quite an honor for the third year pro out of the University of Delaware. However, when you look at one of the other quarterbacks named to the list ahead of him, you have to scratch your head and wonder where the justification for both QB's positioning.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers' QB Josh Freeman made the list at #86, four slots ahead of Flacco. While Freeman is an up and coming NFL QB who lead his team to a great turnaround season in 2010, he has not nearly earned the resume that Joe Flacco has in making the playoffs in each of his three years in the NFL, making one scratch his head and wonder where the justification for the positioning came from? The two players' statistics from the 2010 regular season were very similar. Flacco threw for 3,622 yards while Freeman threw for 3,451 yards. Their completion percentage was virtually the same, with Joe leading 62.6% to 61.4%. They both threw 25 TD passes, although Freeman only threw six picks while Flacco threw ten. Finally, Freeman's QB Rating was 95.9, while Flacco's was 93.6. Those stats do not create any significant separation between the two, at least on paper.
However, on the true test of the gridiron, Flacco's track record is vastly superior. Three years in the league, three trips to the post season and four road playoff victories. Meanwhile, Freeman only became a starter midway through the 2009 season and has not been in the playoffs at all. Even the NFL Network's Brian Baldinger questioned the rankings and comparison, saying if you look at a team's signal-caller as the most important guy on the field, then you'd have to put Flacco in the Top 50 players in the NFL for 2011. The Top 100 is voted on by the NFL players themselves, so you have to give a lot of credit to them based on their first-hand knowledge.
With 80 more slots to be determined, we know a lot more Baltimore Ravens will be on this list, perhaps as many if not more than any other team in the league. In the meantime, there is no question about it that the Ravens' Flacco deserves a higher ranking than just #90.