Eli Manning or Donovan McNabb.
For Audubon, NJ, native and Ravens QB Joe Flacco, the time has come to decide who he’ll be compared to by the end of his career.
Will it be McNabb, who got to five NFC Championship games, losing four of them? Or, will it be Manning who is inconsistent but is known for his postseason prowess that includes two Super Bowl rings?
For whatever it’s worth, Flacco has put up nice numbers during his career, yet he gets no love. People question if he is an elite signal caller in a league with Tom Brady, the Mannings, Brees and Aaron Rodgers.
Through five seasons, Flacco has thrown for 102 TDs and 56 picks. He’s amassed 17,633 yards through the air. He’s never had a QB rating lower than 80.3 nor higher than 93.6.
Eli Manning had 98 TDs and 74 INTs with about 15,000 yards through his first five years. The numbers are very comparable, and until he won a Super Bowl, people questioned whether or not he was a top-of-the-line signal caller.
McNabb had 87 TDs and just 49 INTs with more than 13,000 yards passing in his first five seasons. McNabb was seen as a stud in his prime, but not remembered as such now. He never won a ring. Flopped in his lone Super Bowl and countless NFC Championship games.
Why is the time now for Flacco? Why when he is just 28, having celebrated a birthday this week? The answer is simple: Upcoming retirements.
Ray Lewis announced this is his last rodeo. Safety Ed Reed isn’t far behind, having considered hanging up the cleats the last few seasons.
Tom Brady won Super Bowls with a much better defense than he has on his sideline now. Eli won his Super Bowls with attacking defenses and some lucky bounces of the ball (David Tyree and Mario Manningham). McNabb was studly when he had Brian Dawkins, Jeremiah Trotter and Hugh Douglas. When Dawkins left for Denver, McNabb’s perceived value took a hit.
Ray Lewis is to the Ravens what Brian Dawkins was to the Eagles, and that’s probably a gross understatement. Take him off the roster and the Ravens aren’t the same as we saw when he was out during the regular season.
Sunday marks the Ravens third trip to the AFC Title game in Flacco’s five seasons. A win this week pushes him closer to the elite status he seemingly deserves. A Super Bowl ring pushes him over the edge. Of course, that can’t happen without a win in Foxboro on Sunday.
Joe, the time is now.