73-126. 1,140 Yards. 11 Touchdowns. No Interceptions. Those are the playoff stats of Joe Flacco, a player who for years has told us he’s the best Quarterback in football right now. I’m not going so far as to say that, but there is little doubt in my mind that Flacco is now “elite”. That word is very subjective. It seems like these days, elite means top 5, which I think is fair. However, with young guns like Russell Wilson, Colin Kaeprenick, Cam Newton, and RG3 coming up, that list might have to be expanded soon. But after last night, who are the top 5 QB’s in football right now? Here’s my two cents.
5. Eli Manning- After last year’s Super Bowl run, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Manning had solidified his spot in the Top 5. Even after a typical, consistently inconsistent season for Manning and the Giants, I still have him towards the top of the list. Fact of the matter is, Eli is one of two QB’s with multiple rings in the last eight years (Ben Roethlisberger is the other), and I fully expect Eli to grab at least one more before his career is done. Yes, Eli is fully capable, or incapable maybe, of disappearing for quarters and full games at times. But when he gets going, there are few who are better, and unlike most people on this list, Eli is working primarily with just two big weapons: Nicks and Cruz.
4. Joe Flacco- This is where I have the man of the hour right now. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Flacco is the anti Peyton Manning. Flacco can be bad in the regular season. He can be awful in fact. However, when it comes to January, Flacco gets it done, better then most everyone in the league. Flacco is the only QB in NFL history to get playoff wins in his first five years, and in those five years, all he’s done is take Baltimore to three AFC Championships, and now a Super Bowl. Jim Rome summed it up perfectly right after Flacco just finished outplaying Tom Brady for the second straight AFC Championship: “Joe Flacco is as good as he’s been telling he is for years.”
3. Drew Brees– Brees has been a fixture on this list ever since he took over in New Orleans, and even thought it was a terrible season for the Saints, it wasn’t for a lack of effort from Breesy. Brees could be the most accurate QB in the game right now, and he immediately makes everyone on his team better. Just look at what Robert Meachem did without him this year. The knock on Brees is his propensity to have multiple interception games, and that I cannot argue. However, when it comes to running an offense like a well oiled machine, there are few who are better.
2. Peyton Manning– Yes, the playoff woes are still there. Yes, he is the least mobile of all these Quarterbacks. And yes, Peyton does throw interceptions in big moments (look at the end of the Baltimore game). Having said all that, I think Manning is the only player on this list that you can’t make a legitimate argument against being the best at any individual aspect of running an offense. No one runs the no huddle better. No one squeezes the ball into smaller windows better. And no one is better at reading the defense then Peyton. Now, if I’m starting a team tomorrow, and I’m managing the team for 10 years, Manning is not at the top of my list. But if I’m picking a guy to go with for one season next year, there is only one guy I’m going with over Peyton.
1. Aaron Rodgers– And that guy is Mr. Rodgers. Going into the playoffs last year, there was no doubt that Rodgers was the best in the game. He had just won the Super Bowl the year before, and led his team to a 15-1 record. Then, they got smacked in the mouth by the Giants, and this year, the offense looked woefully average at times. Having said that, Rodgers is the second youngest player on this list behind Flacco, and he’s the most athletic player on the list, by far. Rodgers is the only one that’s a mobile threat, and there is no one who’s better when it comes to throwing on the run. The Packers are one decent running back, and a couple playmakers on defense from being right back in the Super Bowl, and I won’t be betting against Rodgers in that game. As far as I’m concern, he’s still the best in the business, but one more year without a playoff win, and I might have to move him down.
Tom Brady- I know what you are thinking. Where’s Brady? How is he not top 5? Here’s how I look at it. Rodgers, Brees, and Peyton are locks for the Top 5. Whether you believe that Brady is better then they are doesn’t matter for the sake of this argument Point is, their spots are secured. So if that is the case, how can you legitimately argue that Brady is better then Flacco or Eli right now? We keep touting Brady as the 3-time Super Bowl winner, and of course that’s fantastic and historically great. But he also has not secured a ring in nine years. Along the way, Eli has outplayed him in two Super Bowls, and Flacco has now outplayed Brady in two straight AFC Championships, both in New England. So when you break it down like that, I don’t see how you can have Brady in there. Of course when it comes to consistency, Brady has Flacco and Eli beat there. He may even have Brees beat in that category. But in a sport that is all about “what have you done for me lately”, I find it hard to put Brady above anyone else in the Top 5 right now. If Brady goes out next year and wins his 4th ring, I have no problem not only putting him back on this list, but putting him towards the top. As of today, February 4, 2013, he’s not top 5.
From there, we have a pretty big drop off in my opinion. The next guy on the list would either be Ben Roethlisberger or Matt Ryan, but both have bigger issues then anyone else that has been mentioned so far.
What do you guys think? Who’s in your top 5? Is Flacco in there after last night? Let us know what you think in the comments!