Since Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco were drafted third and 18th overall, respectively, in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft, parallels have been (inaccurately) drawn between the two quarterbacks’ careers.
And while Ryan and Flacco admittedly sported similar numbers in yards, touchdowns and interceptions to the dubious “record as a starter” statistic through their first few seasons in the league, it really hasn’t been close since.
A graphic from Pro Football Focus illustrates the clear discrepancy between the two quarterbacks:
Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco both entered the NFL in 2008. Here's how their careers have unfolded: pic.twitter.com/H46aCSNP4r— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 14, 2017
Flacco only scored higher in 2009, a season in which Ryan missed two full games — and three quarters of one — as he battled a turf toe injury.
Ryan was drafted to be the savior of an Atlanta Falcons franchise that was recovering from a tumultuous season the year before.
Flacco went to a Baltimore Ravens team with a great defense — something he has been able to depend on for the majority of his career — while Ryan’s best defense finished 16th in 2010.
Let’s hammer the point home further.
Ryan has passed for over 4,000 yards for six consecutive seasons. Flacco has reached the 4,000-yard mark exactly one time, and that was this past season.
Ryan has reached or surpassed 25 passing touchdowns six times in his career. Flacco has done so twice.
Lastly, Flacco has 117 career interceptions. Ryan has 114 — on 322 more throws.
Flacco does have a Super Bowl championship, but football is a team sport.
Really, I’m preaching to the choir here. The only people who choose to think Flacco is better than Ryan are Ravens fans.