As recently as last week, at least one national writer was still throwing haymakers at
But the point of this post is not to quibble with Grantland's Bill Barnwell, who based his argument on box scores from 2008 to 2011, though I'm not sure why he decided to pick this battle with the quarterback now.
Flacco is third in the
But Barnwell isn’t the only statistician over at the Worldwide Leader who recently spent time crunching Flacco’s numbers.
So how did Alamar draw this conclusion? First, he focused on quarterbacks because eight of the past 10 MVPs were passers. Then he weeded out quarterbacks who didn't rank in the top 10 in QBR (ESPN's answer to the NFL's passer rating) and whose team didn't rank in the top 10 in total offense. He then looked at a stat called Total
The three men left standing? Flacco,
Brady is a two-time MVP with three
But Joe Flacco? Does he really belong in this conversation? Alamar believes so. He pointed out many of the standard stats I referenced above, but he also dug up three other interesting stats to support his case.
First, he said that Flacco's passes have averaged 10.7 yards in the air -- the highest total in the league and 2.5 yards higher than the league average. Second, Flacco's accuracy on those long throws has also improved, as he has completed 11 passes longer than 20 yards this season after completing 17 of them a season ago. Third, Flacco has been sacked nine times and the average time in the pocket for those sacks was 2.9 seconds.
It's probably too early to seriously debate the MVP merits of Flacco and his peers, but I feel comfortable boldly concluding after four games that Flacco has gotten better. And based on early returns, it looks like the Ravens offense should finish in the top 10 for the first time since 1997. But maybe we should cool it and wait a few months to decide if Flacco is "elite" or if he is worthy of taking home some individual hardware.