The NFL announced Joe Flacco as its Rookie of the Year Thursday at a presser on Radio Row. As you know, Flacco led the previously offensively-challenged Ravens all the way to the AFC Championship game with impressive veteran-esque road wins in Dallas, Miami, and Nashville. He finished with 2,971 yards passing, completing 257 of 428 passing attempts for 14 TDs and 12 INTs with an 80.3 passer raing. Not bad. Certainly an upgrade over the Kyle Boller, Troy Smith, Bobo the Clown circus of QBs they've rotated in since Super Bowl XXXV.
However, if I had a vote, it would've gone to QB Matt Ryan, who had superior stats playing in a top-to-bottom better division. 265-434 for 3443 yds and 16 TDS (to 11 INTs) with an 87.7 passer rating. Freaking amazing for a rookie QB. He led the much-maligned Falcons (a team with one of the worst defenses in the league last year) to a playoff appearance out of the NFC South, arguably the most cutthroat division this year. Flacco had the Ravens defense backing him up, which was a big reason they beat Tennessee and advanced to the AFC title game (which probably locked up Flacco's honor). It's obviously alot easier to win when you've got that crew keeping opposing offenses to 13-16 ppg. It's also easier to add to your stats with 4 games against the Bungles and Browns. Quid pro quo... I understand that Baltimore's offensive philosophy is more grind-it-out than Atlanta's down the field passing game, but I'm slightly more impressed with Matt Ryan's body of work and his turnaround of the moribund Falcons than I am with the Ravens run to the AFC title game with Flacco at the helm. It'll be interesting to see if Matt Ryan can take another step forward next season and to see if Joe Flacco can keep winning if that Ravens defense starts to deteriorate through free agency.
UPDATE: Ok, so I was sort of right. As Rexx reminded me from Baltimore Beatdown (great site, check it out sometime), Matt Ryan won a previous rookie of the year award this year (turns out it was AP offensive ROY on 12/30/08). Being so distracted by the Bucs' epic failure, I competely forgot he was given that honor. Thursday's award was sponsored by Diet Pepsi and endorsed by the NFL, so take it for what it's worth. I stand by my argument for Ryan.