ESPN's Mike Sando sure knows how we like to fill our Ravens downtime — with talk of just how elite quarterback Joe Flacco is.
The ESPN writer polled a number of NFL sources and asked a total of 28 to grade each of the league's starting quarterbacks, then put those into tiers in a piece today on the Worldwide Leader. The piece is behind ESPN Insider's pay wall, but here's the spoiler you're looking for — Joe Flacco isn't in the elite tier.
Sando's poll had Flacco at No. 12 in the league, in Tier 2, which included Eli Manning (New York Giants), Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers), Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons), and Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys) ahead of Flacco.
The write-up for Flacco isn't exactly positive, either, though it was noted Flacco got Tier 1 votes because of the 2012 Super Bowl run.
One offensive coordinator polled cited Flacco's "droopy face" as a negative, while a defensive coordinator dinged Flacco for missing open reads and leaving big plays on the table.
Judging by the formula, which had evaluators assign tier numbers to every quarterback, number that were then averaged, Flacco likely got some Tier 3 votes as well, which would put him in the company of players like Jay Cutler (Chicago Bears), Alex Smith (Kansas City Chiefs), and division rival Andy Dalton (Cincinnati Bengals).
The first tier included the quarterbacks you would expect — Tom Brady (New England Patriots), Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos), Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers), and Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints) — plus one, Andrew Luck (Indianapolis), who was a bit of a surprise. Luck, Romo, and Ryan were the only quarterbacks ranked above Flacco without championship rings.
This is kind of a tired debate around these parts, and one Ravens fans probably hoped was further put to bed by the Super Bowl win a season ago. But in the season since then, Flacco was the face of a disappointing Ravens offense and some of the Super Bowl shine seems to have worn off.
What say you, Baltimore? Is this a debate you even care about anymore? And if so, what do you think of Flacco's rating? Let us know in the comments.