This is about as un-dull as Flacco gets when he’s celebrating.
Well the 2013 season has finally come to a close and one of my preseason Super Bowl picks won it all. Sure, I picked the Packers to ultimately triumph over the Ravens but as far as I see it, that’s a very minor, trivial detail.
The younger generation has now gotten seemingly an unprecedented run of good Super Bowls. I just turned 30 little more than two weeks ago, so if my “Back in my day…” talk sounds a little goofy, then I apologize. But I watched my first Super Bowl in 1991 (or at least the first one I remember), which featured the infamous Scott Norwood missed FG that ended the Bills best hope at winning a Super Bowl. And my eight-year old self thought that meant all Super Bowls were tightly contested. But then what proceeded for the rest of the 90s was a bunch of blowouts.
After that initial Super Bowl, it wouldn’t be until 6 years later when the Broncos and Packers scrapped that I got a compelling Super Bowl. Since then, we’ve had more good Super Bowls that were relatively closely contested than not. In fact, it’s been 6 years since we’ve had a Super Bowl that I didn’t feel like was a compelling game (Colts-Bears). And before that, the only other one the past ten years was the Bucs-Raiders game in 2003.
Basically I’m saying you younger whippersnappers have been spoiled. If you started watching Super Bowls in the 80s and 90s, you basically knew that more than likely you were going to get a lopsided blowout.
As for the game itself, I am happy that the Ravens won. I’m even more happier that the 49ers seemingly got their just desserts as their season ended on a controversial no-call on a defensive holding on 4th down.
I’m also glad we’re not going to hear the Colin Kaepernick hype this off-season. I don’t have a beef against Kaepernick. I liked him a ton at Nevada, and watching him run the Pistol at Nevada for all four years was one of the better sights of college football. But I don’t like what he represents in terms of the media hype. I remember when Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl in 2001, won MVP despite an extremely mediocre performance, all the hype that followed him. Look, I love me some Brady nowadays. But in truth, that Tom Brady didn’t begin to exist until 2004 or 2005. Prior to that, he was one of the more overrated quarterbacks in the league.
And I had the same fear with Kaepernick if the 49ers had won. Because he played on a stacked team and he managed to win under almost identical circumstances as Brady in 2001, that he would suddenly be propelled into the “elite” quarterbacks group. I hate how quarterbacks are judged by team success. I was also going to hate on this hype that is to come from the mobile quarterbacks. Yes, we have a number of mobile quarterbacks in the NFL, and many of them had a great deal of success this past year. But I again want people to know that this is nothing new. Nothing has changed in the NFL to suggest that mobility is going to be the significant plus going forward that the media is making it out to be. Vince Young and Michael Vick also had great success early in their careers. But the league adjusted, as it always does. Becuase neither of them could make the strides as pocket passers, they became increasingly mediocre.
The same could happen with this new crop of mobile quarterbacks, namely Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin, and Cam Newton. I think of that group, Griffin stands the best chance to break out of the mold because I believe he has all the necessary tools to be an excellent pocket quarterback. I think Wilson is always going to struggle throwing from the pocket due to his lack of height. I just don’t think he’s ever going to be the sort of QB that can drop back 40 or 50 times per game and sling it and the Seahawks can consistently win that way. Thus he will need to be supported by a complementary if not top-notch ground attack. Kaepernick and Newton don’t have any issues with size, but I don’t think they have the ideal pocket skills or accuracy to be great doing that either. I think they will also need to have complementary ground attacks.
I’m curious to know what the talk on Flacco will be after this season. Is he going to be propelled into being a so-called elite quarterback now that he has hardware? Probably. I don’t think he deserves it, but I didn’t think Eli Manning deserved it last year. My definition of what makes an elite quarterback or an elite player at any position, is when you don’t have to go out of your way to argue whether that player is the best player ever.
If you were to ask me who I thought was the best safety in the NFL, and I answered Troy Polamalu, you would probably not give me a perplexed look. If I answered Ed Reed, or Adrian Wilson, or going back some years with Brian Dawkins, you’d probably not try to argue with me over that. But if I said Eric Weddle, Earl Thomas, Malcolm Jenkins, or Danieal Manning, you might give me a quizzical look. Now in the case of Weddle and Thomas, they may soon claim elite status since Polamalu, Reed, Wilson don’t seem long for this league and certainly haven’t played at that elite level the past year or so.
Is Flacco an elite quarterback? No. But he’s a franchise guy. How I usually categorize quarterbacks is to basically place them into four tiers. If you’re in the top two tiers, then you’re a franchise guy. Which basically means your team should be willing to build around you for at least 5-7 years, if not up to 15 years. Here’s a basically breakdown of how the tiers work: