The debate before and during the 2012 season was whether Joe Flacco was one of the NFL's elite quarterbacks.
No one's making much of an argument to the contrary anymore, certainly not ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski.
Flacco made a significant jump in Jaworski's quarterback countdown, as the Ravens' franchise passer was unveiled today as No. 4 on the list, behind only the yet-to-be-ranked Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers.
Flacco was slotted ninth a year ago and Jaworski received some flak for putting him in the top 10. Flacco only went on to pass for a career-high 3,817 yards and 22 touchdowns while matching a career-low with 10 interceptions. Oh yeah, and then he became just the second quarterback in NFL history to pass for 11 touchdowns without being picked off on the way to leading his team to a Super Bowl title.
He parlayed that into the biggest contract in NFL history at the time it was signed in March - a six-year, $120 million deal.
Here's what Jaworski had to say about why Flacco was ranked so highly during the segment on SportsCenter:
"So what did Flacco do in 2012? He won four consecutive playoff games, throwing 11 touchdown passes without an interception. Following the Miracle of Mile High, Flacco - for the second consecutive season - outplayed Tom Brady in the AFC championship game in Foxborough.
"Flacco was outstanding in the Super Bowl. His ability to make downfield throws off movement was a deciding factor in the game. Few think of Flacco as a mobile quarterback, but his functional mobility created explosive, game-changing plays. ... Joe Flacco is now a Super Bowl champion. That counts an awful lot in my evaluation of quarterbacks. That is why he jumped from No. 9 to No. 4 in my quarterback rankings."