Even with Joe Flacco coming off of his first Super Bowl win in 2012 with the Baltimore Ravens, I still believe that Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons is the best quarterback drafted in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Now before I begin this argument, I respect Flacco and what he has done for the Ravens. Yes, he had an incredible postseason where he finally displayed his leadership and passing skills that were quite dazzling. I also understand that many fans from Baltimore will raise the point that Ryan has an abysmal playoff record of 1-3 compared to Flacco’s impressive 9-4 that includes a Super Bowl ring.
Besides the Super Bowl win however, Ryan has shown more consistency and skills in his ability to be a better all-around quarterback than his counterpart. Lets start from the beginning, as I will break down the cold hard facts that proves Ryan is a better player than Flacco.
When the Falcons drafted Ryan No. 1 overall, he was entering a franchise that was wounded deeply when they lost their franchise player in Michael Vick to federal prison and was spurned by their head coach Bobby Petrino, who left the team before the season was even over.
Not only were the Falcons in shock mode, but they were in an identity crisis, as it was shattered into a thousand pieces where Vick was their all … literally.
On the other hand, when Flacco was drafted by the Ravens, he was going to a franchise that had a proud history and more importantly, a friendly environment where he was able to have a smoother transition. It also doesn’t hurt to have an iron-clad defense that was led by some of the greatest defensive players such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
So when fans bring up the fact of how Flacco has taken his team to the playoffs five years in a row and that he has an impressive record — no offense to Flacco, but it doesn’t hurt when you can rely on a defense that was one of the best in the NFL year after year. Unlike Flacco, the only thing Ryan could rely on was his running back, but he figured out it’s hard to win games when your defense is non-existent.
Despite Flacco being on a much better team with the Ravens, Ryan made his mark and proved that he was on his way to becoming an elite quarterback. In their rookie years, Flacco threw for 2,971 yards, 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions compared to Ryan throwing for 3,440 yards, 16 touchdowns with just 11 interceptions.
Being “clutch” has also been a key point in arguing who is better, but honestly, Mattie Ice has been more clutch than Flacco has. In fact, Ryan has led his team back in the fourth quarter to win close games, while Flacco leaned on his invincible defense early in his career to hold on for the victory in tight games.
In their five years in the NFL, Ryan tops Flacco in every statistical category. Ryan has thrown for 18,957 yards compared to Flacco’s 17,633. Ryan has zipped in 127 touchdowns compared to Flacco’s 102. While Flacco has thrown four fewer interceptions than Ryan, Flacco has never thrown more touchdowns in a single season than Ryan.
Ryan also owns a 90.9 passer rating, while Flacco has a 86.3. Also, Ryan has thrown for 4,000 yards in two consecutive seasons, whereas Flacco has yet to throw for 4,000 yards in a single year.
Even though Ryan has not yet been to the Super Bowl, he has clearly shown that he is the better quarterback all-around. In all honesty, what Flacco has done in his career is indeed something to be noted, but Ryan had a tougher climb than Flacco since the beginning of their young careers.
Flacco may have his ring, but once Ryan gets one, he will get a crown plus a ring of his own. Even so, Ryan has proven to be the better passer and quarterback than his counterpart, and continues to get better every single year.