It shouldn’t surprise you that most NFL players would rather have Tom Brady or Peyton Manning as their quarterback -- not Joe Flacco -- with two minutes left in the Super Bowl and a championship on the line.
Flacco has steered the Ravens into the end zone during clutch drives in some big games such as the AFC divisional round win last winter, but Brady and Manning are among the NFL’s all-time leaders in comeback drives.
But it was a little astonishing that Flacco got no love in a recent ESPN poll asking players that question.
In an anonymous player survey conducted by ESPN during the season, 128 of the 320 players polled said they wanted Brady, a three-time champion with the New England Patriots, in the final minutes of a Super Bowl. Peyton Manning, whose Denver Broncos play the Seattle Seahawks on Super Sunday, got 86 votes.
Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers was a distant third, followed by Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Eli Manning of the New York Giants.
I understand why some players would prefer those quarterbacks, also Super Bowl champions, over Flacco. But it was surprising to see that Flacco got just one vote.
During his six years in the NFL, Flacco has led 19 game-winning drives, which ranks 12th among active quarterbacks. He has led two of them in the playoffs, including one in double overtime in that divisional round win in Denver. That drive came after he threw that miracle deep ball to Jacoby Jones in the final minute of regulation.
What was stunning was seeing that Oakland Raiders rookie quarterback Matt McGloin, who has won one game in the NFL, received one more vote than Flacco and that a pair of backup quarterbacks in Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles and Josh Johnson of the Cincinnati Bengals got as many votes as the Ravens quarterback.
Obviously, the fact that guys like McGloin and Johnson got votes shows that this poll shouldn’t be taken too seriously, just like the NFL Network’s annual top 100 list.
Still, I know Flacco doesn’t yet have the resume of Brady or either Manning brother, but hasn’t he done enough in crunchtime to earn a little more respect from his peers?