Manning was already a two-time Super Bowl MVP, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, a former No.1 overall draft pick and a member of football's first family.
Flacco had never reached a Super Bowl and had never made a Pro Bowl. While Flacco was a first-round pick, he played at Delaware, which has a strong program but hardly the first place scouts look for NFL quarterbacks.
At the time, the Ravens and Flacco, in particular, were struggling. The Ravens had lost three straight games and Flacco had thrown interceptions each game and completed under 55 percent of his passes during that stretch. Less than two weeks earlier, Flacco's long-time offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron, was fired.
That's why we ultimately scuttled the story. Then about a month and a half later, when the finest stretch of Flacco's career ended with the Ravens beating the 49ers to win Super Bowl XLVII and the QB capturing MVP honors, we joked about our decision and how prescient we could have looked if we had written it.
Like Manning nearly did in his fourth NFL season in leading the Giants over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, Flacco played a near flawless postseason. He threw 11 touchdowns and no interceptions and was at his best in the biggest moments. In doing so, he won over Ravens fans, some of whom had questioned whether he was the guy to take the team to the NFL mountaintop. Manning heard the same questions before his first Super Bowl win, only louder in New York.
I bring this up now because defensive end Chris Canty, who signed with the Ravens in March after playing four seasons with Manning and the Giants, told Pro Football Talk last week that he'd take Flacco over Manning.
"He won a Super Bowl and he's one of the best deep-ball passers in the NFL," Canty said about Flacco during an in-studio appearance on the NBCSN show. "Take a look at the tape."
Canty is now Flacco's teammate so his choice is going to be scrutinized from that perspective. But decide for yourself after looking at the numbers over their first five seasons: