Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco appeared on "The Scott Van Pelt Show" on Wednesday, and he talked about a bunch of things with fill-in host Doug Gottlieb, including January's playoff loss to the Steelers, the additions of Lee Evans and Ricky Williams and even the improper benefits scandal down at Miami.
But Flacco's assessment of where he thinks he stands in the pantheon of NFL quarterbacks will surely get everyone worked up around here if the message boards and talk radio phone lines aren't already on fire.
This week, Giants quarterback Eli Manning caused a stir when he said that he thinks he’s a top-five NFL signal-caller. So when asked by Gottlieb if he considers himself to be a top-five guy, Flacco said that he does.
“I think of myself the same way,” the fourth-year QB said. “Every quarterback in the league should feel that way. You don’t want to talk about yourself as a quarterback, but here in Baltimore, we’ve won a lot of games in the last three years and we’ve won playoff games each year. And when you’re talking about football games, it’s all about winning football games and that’s what we’ve done.”
It’s a pretty innocent quote from Flacco, but get ready for some backlash in Baltimore and beyond (though it won’t be as big of a story as when Eli Manning, who does have that Super Bowl ring going for him, said it).
I mean, what else was Flacco supposed to say? “Nah, Doug, I think I’m actually in the 10-to-15 range.”
Anyway, let’s talk about top-five quarterbacks for a minute. Everyone sets their own qualifications when talking about which quarterbacks are considered “elite.” I have one strict criterion: They have to have a Super Bowl ring, though that doesn’t necessarily guarantee them membership in the club (sorry, Eli).
My VIP members are Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger. Flacco, Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Michael Vick and, yes, even Eli are waiting in line outside.
So while I dig Flacco’s bravado, I disagree with the notion that he is a top-five quarterback at the moment. He’s probably already getting bashed for saying this before the season, but he shouldn’t be.
The bottom line: Flacco gets his chance to back up this talk -- and silence his many critics -- starting Week 1 against the Steelers.