NFL Fantasy Analyst Jason Smith of NFL.com put out his rankings of the league's quarterbacks from #1 to #32. Since Smith is a fantasy football analyst, my initial reaction was that perhaps this was from a fantasy point of view, which is purely based on numerical statistics, with winning games irrelevant to fantasy football. However, reading the story, it appears he is not merely basing it on fantasy, but overall, yet obviously in his own opinion.
He starts off by reminding us how New York Giants QB Eli Manning stated he was a top-five QB prior to the 2011 season, making some people scoff at the bold statement, but then all Eli did was go out and win his second Super Bowl and game-MVP trophy in the past four years. Now you have Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco one-upping Manning by not saying he also is a top-five QB, but "the best," which led to Smith's idea to do these rankings.
Due to his two rings in the last four seasons, Jason has Eli Manning ranked #1 overall, basing his justification on the fact that no other quarterback in the league has won more than him. While I do not have a problem with giving a QB credit for his team's wins, it is not necessarily the only factor in determining a QB's value. Or is it?
At the same time, if he wants to figure wins into the equation of ranking the QB's, then how can he justify putting Cam Newton, Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Michael Vick AND Matthew Stafford, in order, all ahead of Joe Flacco? What have the Carolina Panthers, San Diego Chargers, Atlanta Falcons,, Philadelphia Eagles and/or Detroit Lions done in the "win" factor Smith employs, that Flacco hasn't done significantly better than all of them, which is as the late Al Davis used to preach, "just win, baby!"
To the author of the story, I say to Jason Smith, if you want to anoint Eli Manning the top ranking because he wins titles and games, then you just have to put Flacco a lot higher because he has won more games in his first four years of his career than ANY other QB in NFL history. You can't play it both ways and if you take titles and wins out of the decision-making, then Ei Manning needs to be a lot lower than the top spot, much less well below his better brother.
Although I do not have a problem with New England Patriots QB Tom Brady being 2nd on his list, pretty much everyone else would have the top three include Brady along with Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, while Smith has Brees and Rodgers tanked 4th and 5th respectively. To even consider putting a guy with one good rookie season (Newton) seventh overall, much less in the top 10-15, almost sounds irresponsible to me. Cam Newton is better than Matthew Stafford, much less Joe Flacco? Puh-lease.
Looking at the list, I can see Flacco ranked 7th, and would not expect much of argument on this, even though there would be those who will take Joe over Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger right now. My list would put (in order) Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Peyton, Eli, and Ben ahead of Flacco, with Stafford, Ryan, Rivers, and Matt Schaub behind him.
This debate will not go away anytime soon, but if Flacco does want to be in the discussion to be permitted to sit at the "big boys" table, he needs to step up and lead the Ravens to the Super Bowl next February, and not just get there, but win it as well