It's quite strange for anyone to still think Joe Flacco is not a great NFL quarterback. For folks with this stance, the belief likely emerged early in Flacco's career when he was still learning the ropes of the position at the professional level. And over the years, they just never wanted to shake it because he's never thrown for 4,000 yards in a season, has had some absolute duds at times and isn't the kind of person to offer a great sound byte in a postgame interview.
But here's the thing: As the quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens, Flacco has led his team to the playoffs six times in seven seasons. He's won his playoff opener in each of his six trips. He's won a Super Bowl and has been to three AFC Championships. He's done far more than the vast majority of his fellow NFL starting quarterbacks.
Flacco arguably has the best arm strength of any quarterback in the NFL. After a disastrous 2013 season, he's bounced back incredibly within the construct of the Gary Kubiak offense. In the regular season, he threw for single-season bests in yards (3,986) and touchodwns (27). And even with the 2013 season, he's still posted the most wins of any quarterback in his first seven years in league history with 72. Within the frame of his entire career, 2012 was an anomaly.
Flacco's playoff record since entering the league in 2008 is 10-4. Compared, in this span, with quarterbacks such as Tom Brady (4-5), Drew Brees (5-3), Peyton Manning (4-5), Eli Manning (4-1), Aaron Rodgers (5-4) and Ben Roethlisberger (5-3), and you see how even more remarkable that number is. This doesn't even account for the slew of quarterbacks around the league that aren't close to the discussion of Brady, Brees, the Mannings, Rodgers and Roethlisberger when it comes to the postseason.
Also keep in mind the fact that Flacco has never missed an NFL game. Brady missed 15 1/2 games in 2008 with a torn ACL and Peyton Manning missed the 2011 season with a neck injury.
Flacco's not a flashy quarterback and he's never been in an offense where the quarterback is asked to do as much as Brady, Brees, Rodgers and the elder Manning. Those quarterbacks have almost always had better receiving groups than Flacco, with the exception of Brady over the past two years. But what matters is that Flacco has gotten the job done more often than not when he's asked to.
It's time to squash the elite conversation. It simply doesn't matter. Flacco is a winner. Seven years in and it's clear which quarterback is the better one from the 2008 draft. Seven years in and the playoffs tell the story of January Joe, the one that can be counted on to deliver. Seven years in and Flacco has done more than his fair share to deserve more respect than he's given.
Flacco's a great NFL quarterback. There's nothing he has to prove at this point. He's more than capable of delivering the Ravens to postseason success and has done so before. And when it comes to evaluating quarterbacks, that's what matters.