Breakdown of Rodgers and Flacco, two Super Bowl MVPs in Sunday matchup
Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco.Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The names of elite quarterbacks often steal the headlines of NFL game matchups, especially during the regular season.
Tom Brady against Peyton Manning overshadows the names of the teams they play for.
That is not the case this weekend in Baltimore, but as Tyler Dunne so aptly pointed out this morning in the Journal Sentinel, this game matches the two highest paid quarterbacks in the league - Joe Flacco and Aaron Rodgers.
Furthermore, they are two of the last three Super Bowl MVPs.
After leading the Baltimore Ravens to an unlikely Super Bowl triumph last winter, Flacco became the game’s highest paid player at $120.6 million over six years.
A short time later, Rodgers (MVP of Super Bowl XLV) signed a five-year, $110 million deal with the Packers.
While their status atop the salary charts in the NFL links them together, that might be the only similarity.
Flacco will probably never lead the league in passer rating.
He is the ultimate hot and cold player. His career 85.1 passer rating is anything but elite.
This season, he ranks 28th in that category at 70.1.
However, he has led 16 game winning drives in the 4th quarter or overtime in his five-plus seasons at the helm.
In the post-season last year, he was magnificent with 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions, a 117.2 passer rating and a Super Bowl MVP award.
Rodgers has always been a highly-rated quarterback.
He carried a career 104.9 passer rating into this season.
Even in his first year as a starter in 2008, Rodgers had very good numbers with 28 touchdown passes and just 13 interceptions fashioning a 93.8-passer rating.
In the Packers' remarkable playoff run of 2010, Rodgers threw for 9 touchdowns with just 2 interceptions in four games.
His passer rating was 109.8.
Numbers never tell the full story of a great quarterback.
Leadership is an intangible that can’t be counted statistically.
You have to “see” a quarterback play and lead-especially at this level.
Flacco in his short time has been an outstanding leader.
He may not be the vocal rah-rah guy in the locker room, but you can see him “will” his team to victory on the field when you watch the games.
There appears to be no question his teammates respect him and follow him.
Flacco is a classic pocket passer. Although he has some mobility, he is best when he’s in the pocket looking to make a play down field to one of his array of fleet receivers.
Rodgers has the athleticism to extend plays with his legs, and while a very good pocket passer, is perhaps more dangerous and just as accurate outside the pocket.
His mobility compensates for, at times, shaky protection from his offensive line.
He has become the unquestioned leader of the Green Bay offense through his intense competitiveness, precision performances and personable personality.
Intangibles aside, here are the numbers this season posted by these two Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks:
- Flacco: 201 attempts with 116 completions (57.7%), 1,360 yards, 5 TDs 8 interceptions, 14 sacks, 70.1 passer rating.
- Rodgers: 152 attempts with 101 completions (66.4%), 1,331 yards, 9 TDs, 3 interceptions, 11 sacks, 105.5 passer rating.
You might think looking at the numbers the Packers have a big advantage at this position, but to me the numbers reflect more the contrasting styles of these two leaders than a difference in performance or ability.