Does that last part sound familiar?
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The biggest difference of course is that Manning’s fourth season ended with a win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII and Flacco’s fourth ended with a loss (one in which he played well) to the Patriots in the AFC championship game (but here’s an example of one Ravens player who thinks Flacco played well enough to win against Tom Brady and the Patriots, and there are likely many more who feel the same way).
Their stat lines also show that Flacco was more stable and productive in his first four years than Manning:
Flacco: 215.9 passing yards per game, 60.8 completion percentage, 80-46 touchdown-interception ratio, 86.0 passer rating. The Ravens went to the playoffs four straight seasons and won five postseason games.
Manning: 199.7 passing yards per game, 54.7 completion percentage, 77-64 touchdown-interception ratio, 73.4 passer rating. The Giants went to the playoffs three times and won four postseason games (all in 2007).
This is not to say that Flacco’s career arc is presently on par with the more clutch of the two Mannings, who has since become one of the top five or six quarterbacks in the NFL. Joe may never be as good as Eli is now. But you have to figure brighter days are ahead for Flacco, especially if the Ravens can give the 27-year-old a diverse arsenal of passing weapons like the one Manning has or a sturdy offensive line like New York's. Or both.