The Super Bowl has been over for a few weeks now. A debate raged for a good while after around Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl winning quarterback, Joe Flacco. The debate was over this:
Is Joe Flacco an elite NFL quarterback?
I listened to the debate, tossed around a few thoughts, looked up few statistics, debated if I should even get my thoughts together on this issue and then came up with what follows:
To determine if an NFL quarterback is indeed elite, the definition of elite needs to be decided upon. Is an NFL quarterback elite because of the number of NFL championships he has won? Is an NFL quarterback elite because of the amount of yards and touchdowns he throws every year? Is an NFL quarterback elite because of the won-loss records of his team each year? Is an NFL quarterback elite because we all just kind of know who the elite quarterbacks are?
I do not think there is consensus at all among anyone and everyone on how to determine if an NFL quarterback is elite.
I took a look at the the five NFL quarterbacks most widely considered to be elite quarterbacks today:
I then took Joe Flacco and gathered up the same important statistics. Joe Flacco has been in the NFL for five years (2008-2012 seasons). Therefore, I gathered up statistics for all of these quarterbacks and their teams for only the past five years. (Tom Brady missed nearly all of the 2008 season. Peyton Manning missed all of the 2011 season)
I will give my take concerning Flacco like this:
Five playoff appearances in five years (each of his NFL seasons).
This is equalled only by Brady and Peyton Manning who made the playoffs in each of their four full seasons within this stretch.
Super Bowl Appearances
Each of the other five quarterbacks have only one Super Bowl appearance in the last five years as well.
Super Bowl Wins
Rodgers, Brees and Eli Manning each have won one Super Bowl in the past five years. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have not won a Super Bowl in the past five years.
Conference Title Appearances
Each of the other five quarterbacks have only 1 conference championship appearance a piece in the past five years.
Brady has 4 division titles (one for each season he has played in the past five years). Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Brees each have 2 division titles in the past five years. Eli Manning has 1 division title in the past five years.
Average Wins Per Regular Season
Brady has averaged 13 wins a year for the four years he has played over the past five years. Peyton Manning has averaged 12 wins a year for the four years he has played over the past five years. Rodgers, Brees and Eli Manning have averaged 10 wins a year each of the past five seasons.
Average Playoff Wins Per Season
Peyton Manning has averaged 1 playoff win in the four years he has played out of the past five years. Rodgers, Brees and Eli Manning have averaged .8 playoff wins in each of the past five years. Tom Brady averaged .75 playoff wins in the four years he has played out of the past five years.
Average Passing Yards per Season
Rodgers, Brady, Brees and Peyton Manning all averaged more passing yards per season over the past five years. Eli Manning averaged less passing yards per season over the past five years.
Average TD Passes per Season
Each of the other five quarterback averaged more TD passes per season over the past five years.
Average Int per Season
Rodgers and Brady each averaged less Int per season of the past five years.
Peyton Manning, Brees and Eli Manning each averaged more Int per season over the past five years.
Average Fumbles per Season
Each of the other five quarterbacks averaged less fumbles per season over the past five years.
Average QBR (Quarterback Rating)
Each of the other five quarterbacks averaged a higher QBR per season over the past five years.
Average Game Winning Drives per Season
Rodgers and Brady each averaged less game winning drives per season over the past five years. Eli Manning also averaged 3 game winning drives per season over the past five years. Peyton Manning and Brees averaged more game winning drives per season over the past five years.
Team Total Offense Rank Average
Each of the other five quarterbacks led teams that had higher Team Total Offense Rank Averages over the past five years.
Team Total Passing Offense Rank Average
Each of the other five quarterbacks led teams that had higher Team Total Passing Offense Rank Averages over the past five years.
Team Total Rushing Offense Rank Average
Each of the other five quarterbacks led teams that had lower Team Total Rushing Offense Rank Averages over the past five years.
Team Total Defense Rank Average
Each of the other five quarterbacks led teams that had lower Team Total Defense Rank Averages over the past five years.
The telling statistic comparison seems to come down to the final two team categories - Team Total Rushing Offense Rank Average and Team Total Defense Average. Baltimore had a markedly better running game than any of the teams led by any of the other quarterbacks over the past five years. Baltimore also had a vastly superior defense than any of the teams led by any of the other quarterbacks over the past five years.
In fact, these two statistical categories and comparisons coupled with the Baltimore’s season and playoff success over the past five seasons clearly reveal that the Baltimore Ravens have been the best team in the NFL for the past five years.
In light of that discovery, that all then means this:
Joe Flacco has been the quarterback of the team that has been the best team in the NFL for the past five years.
The term, elite quarterback is a rather nebulous term.
It is still a nebulous term in light of these statistics from the previous five years. A quarterback who passes for a lot of yards and a lot of touchdowns in the regular season does not guarantee his team a league championship. A quarterback who leads his team to a lot of regular season wins does not guarantee his team a league championship. A quarterback who wins a division title does not guarantee his team a league championship. A quarterback who takes his team to multiple conference title games in the space of five years time does not guarantee his team a league championship (of these six quarterbacks, only Flacco has taken his team to more than one conference championship game - and he has done it 3 times).
Drew Brees has passed for nearly an average of 1419 more yards and average of 18 more touchdowns per season over the last five years and has no more league championships than Joe Flacco over that same time period.
Aaron Rodgers has an average QBR Rating of 73.02 over the past five years that is 19.01 points higher than Joe Flacco’s 55.03 QBR Rating but has no more league championships than Flacco over the same period of time.
Peyton Manning has had the 3rd highest Average Ranked Passing Offense in the four seasons he has played during the past five years to Joe Flacco’s Average Passing Offense Rating of 20 over the same time frame and still has the same number of league championships as Flacco.
Tom Brady has the 4th highest ranked Average Total Offensive Team in the four seasons he has played during the past five years to Joe Flacco’s Average Total Offensive team of 12 over the same time frame and still has the same number of league championships as Flacco.
Eli Manning has led his team to an average of 10 wins and 6 losses in the regular season and an average of .8 playoff wins per year over the past five years to Flacco’s average of 11 wins and 5 losses during the regular season and an average of 1.8 playoff wins per year during that same stretch - and we now call Eli Manning and elite NFL quarterback.
As a result of all of this figuring and comparing, I think none of these quarterbacks is elite over the previous five year time period.
The previous five years is all we can investigate because Joe Flacco has only been in the NFL and playing for the previous five seasons. Each one of these quarterbacks is beatable. Each one of these quarterbacks has failed in the playoffs. Only four of these six quarterbacks has won only a single league championship in the five year timeframe.
All that has been revealed it seems is that the Baltimore Ravens have been the best team in the NFL for the past five years. We could say that the Baltimore Ravens are the NFL's elite team, couldn't we...
(I have misplaced my quarterback comparison spreadsheet. Once I dig it up I will post it here)
Statistic source: Pro-Football-Reference.com
The weekend of Saturday January 26 and Sunday January 27 was an interesting weekend for a lot of reasons. One particular contest was not played on the same court or same pitch but half a world apart.
On Saturday January 26, 2013 the Northern Illinois men’s basketball team travelled to Yipsilanti, Michigan to play Mid-American conference rival Eastern Michigan.
Northern Illinois then proceeded to play one of the most futile games and easily one of the most stunning First Half’s in NCAA basketball history. The Northern Illinois Huskies scored a total of 4 points in the First Half of the game. 4 Points.
On Sunday 27, 2013 Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona hosted Osasuna in a La Liga league match. Messi then proceeded to play one of the most impressive matches in his already stellar and award-studded career. Messi scored 4 goals in the match. 4 goals.
There is not much more to say about this juxtaposition that occurred on the same weekend. So we follow on...
Most of us don’t follow Northern Illinois basketball or the Mid-American Conference. Most of us don’t follow La Liga football (soccer, for us here in the USA) much less Lionel Messi.
Here are some important facts about these two events:
Northern Illinois Huskies Men’s Basketball Team
Division I. Mid-American Conference, West Division
Overall Season Record: 8 Wins 11 Losses (1-5 in conference)
- In the First Half of their game that Saturday, the Huskies shot 1 for 31 from the floor (3.2%), 2 for 5 from the Free Throw line (40.0%) and 0 for 17 from the 3-Point Line (0.00%).
- Northern Illinois made their first shot from the field one minute into the game to take a 2-0 lead.
- The Huskies didn’t score again until 8:48 in the First Half when the made one Free Throw to score their third point.
- To round out their four points for the Half, Northern Illinois made another Free Throw when their was 2:32 seconds left before Half Time.
- Northern Illinois made their second field goal of the game at the 14:27 mark of the Second Half - 24 minutes and 33 seconds of total game time, more than entire Half of basketball; During this stretch the Huskies missed 36 consecutive shots.
La Liga (Spain’s top professional league)
Team Season Record: 19 Wins 1 Loss 1 Draw
Season Statistics: 21 Games Played 33 Goals 7 Assists
- Four-Time Winner of FIFA Ballon d’Or (FIFA’s player of the year award including this 2012 season)
- Messi had 5 Shots on Goal in the match; He made 4 of them. One of of them was a Penalty Kick.
- Messi was 3 for 4 from the pitch (75%) and 1 for 1 on Penalty Shots (100%).
- The times of Messi’s goals were: 11 minutes, 27 minutes, 56 minutes and 58 minutes (a regulation football match is 90 minutes, so Messi scored his final goal with 32 minutes left to play).
Northern Illinois very sad First Half of play against Eastern Michigan stands on it’s own as one of the worst performances in college basketball at any level.
On the that same weekend, however, something even more sad for the Huskies and their coaches and remarkable for the rest of the sports world, is that the world’s best football player (one man) scored in one match the same amount of points they scored as a team (15 players) in one Half of play.
Northern Illinois vs. Eastern Michigan box score
(Also split up by Halves to get the entire picture)
FC Barcelona vs. Osasuna Match Results and Statistics
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