"Is Joe Flacco elite?" is a question that has clearly jumped the shark (unless you’re asking someone like PFT Commenter). While it’s easy to poke fun at the question, it certainly can’t be debated that Flacco has a penchant for coming through in the big moments. But just how clutch is the Ravens’ number five in relation to his contemporaries as well as quarterbacks throughout history? Bleacher Report’s Mike Tanier, who once upon a time was Flacco’s high school math teacher, recently wrote an article that ranks his former pupil as the number 21 all time clutch signal caller.
For reference, he comes just in front of George Blanda at 22 and Warren Moon at 20. In terms of active players, Flacco ranked ahead of Matthew Stafford at 24, behind Russell Wilson at 14, Ben Roethlisberger at 13, Eli Manning at 10, and (who else but) Tom Brady at number one. In the article, Tanier writes about what makes Flacco such a confusing case study:
Flacco is too good to be lumped in with the "bad" quarterbacks who lucked into Super Bowls but not great enough to join Brady and Co. on Mount Olympus. Because the middle ground went extinct in our culture years ago, we simply cannot comprehend how Joe Flacco is possible.
This is a great summation about what makes this argument so maddening. But we’re not here to have it; rather, let’s continue talking about the subject at hand.
Flacco, the unassuming quarterback with the cannon arm and low-sodium microwave popcorn personality, short-circuited our national quarterback conversation. He's absolutely ordinary during the regular season. Then the postseason comes, and...darn it, he's still ordinary. But he's the exact same ordinary as he was during the regular season, and that's a crucial skill when everyone else starts buckling under the pressure.
Flacco’s low key demeanor is what separates him from the pack come playoff time, and is probably what has earned him his spot on the list, as Tanier speculates.
Be sure to check out the article for more, especially on old Baltimore greats Earl Morrall and Johnny Unitas who come in at 18 and four respectively.