Are You Even Elite Bro?
Are You Even Elite Bro? | Chris Esposito
The term “elite” for quarterbacks in the NFL gets thrown around rather loosely this day and age. It seems if a guy throws for over 4000 yards for a couple of seasons, suddenly he is anointed with the label of “elite”. My question is; why do you consider him elite? Has he done anything in crunch time to be mentioned the same breath as Brady, Brees and Manning? I’m an NFL enthusiast, some people may even call it a “die-hard”, but to a finer point, I’m just a guy who calls it how he sees it. Let’s take a look and separate the ELITE from the flash in the pan.
I personally have a certain criteria when it comes to judging if a quarterback is elite. I have 7 rules that a QB must possess. He must meet 5 of these 7 rules. They are as follows:
• Have AT LEAST 5 “elite” seasons
• In those 5 years, have 3500 yards or more per year
• Have a touchdown to interception ration of 2:1 at minimum
• Make the playoffs in 4 of those 5 seasons
• Advance past the first round in 80% of those playoff appearances
• Win a Super Bowl
• Be named Super Bowl MVP
Take a look at a guy like Joe Flacco, there is a 50/50 split from the experts on if he is elite or not. I’m here to say that he most certainly is elite as he meets all but one of those rules. In his first five seasons, Flacco has made the playoffs every year, won at least on playoff game each year, won a Super Bowl and was named Super Bowl MVP. In his Super Bowl MVP season, Flacco had an amazing stat line of 11:0 in his TD to INT ratio, tying Joe Montana for greatest in playoff history. Steve Young had 9 touchdowns and no interceptions in a postseason run. Without Flacco the Baltimore Ravens DO NOT win last year’s Super Bowl. Let’s compare him to a quarterback who just received “elite” money. Matthew Stafford just signed a lucrative extension to stay with the Detroit Lions, but looking at the numbers, is he really worth it? In his first four seasons in the league, Stafford has thrown for 13,000 yards. Yes that’s quite impressive, but if we dig a little deeper on that we will find out he has only played in 2 full seasons. His first two years were plagued with injuries that saw him suit up for 9 games in 2009 and 4 games in 2010. Stafford led the Lions to their first playoff appearance since 1992, however his record against teams with a winning record is 1-26. That’s not elite, that’s not even suitable for the bottom half of quarterbacks in the NFL. Hell, even Tim Tebow has a better record against winning teams. An elite quarterback makes the players around him better. A guy like Torrey Smith was a virtual unknown and Flacco grew with him and turned Smith into a top tier receiver. Stafford needs Calvin Johnson to make himself look better. With a wild arm and erratic throwing motion, Calvin Johnson saves more throws for Stafford than arguably any other qb-receiver tandem in the league.