Three Blue Hens stand head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to notoriety in the First State. Since the current Vice President of the United States is a University of Delaware graduate, we will reserve the top spot for him, but a close second at the moment is Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco. However, the Baltimore quarterback was not the only Hen to earn accolades over the weekend. Presently, the third most well-known Hen is Delaware’s daughter and the best basketball player in the history of the school, Elena Delle Donne. On Monday, the All-American was named the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week, espnW National Athlete of the Week and the College Sports Madness National High-Major Player of the Week.
It marked the fourth consecutive time and the fifth occasion this season that Delle Donne received top-billing in Delaware’s conference during a one-week span. The forward averaged 28.7 points and 6.7 rebounds while playing just 29 minutes per game in the Hens’ three wins last week. She added six blocked shots, six steals and five assists for Delaware. Delle Donne posted her second-highest scoring output of the season on Sunday when she dropped 35 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the field in UD’s rout of Hofstra.
The victory was Delaware’s 30th consecutive CAA win and the school’s 13th straight victory overall. The 3-0 week helped the Hens jump five spots in the latest Associated Press top-25. Delaware is ranked 20th in the weekly poll, which is released every Monday.
Speaking of rankings, Sunday’s Super Bowl performance got me thinking where former Blue Hen quarterback Joe Flacco ranks among NFL signal callers. Only seven active quarterbacks have won Super Bowls, and Flacco joined that elite fraternity on Sunday when he capped off his postseason for the ages. During his playoff run, Flacco bettered two of the other six names on that list when he beat Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos and Tom Brady’s New England Patriots. He also threw 11 touchdown passes in the three games, tied for the most in NFL history.
There is no doubt he was incredible over the last month, but how much does that outweigh a rather inconsistent regular season? Well, since they don’t give out rings for regular season play, it sure seems like the answer is a considerable amount.
So let’s reassemble the rankings.
To me there are four men who are still inarguably ahead of Flacco. The UD alum may have topped Manning and Brady this postseason, but their body of work speaks for itself. Aaron Rodgers also has to rank above Flacco because of the numbers he has accrued and the world championship he won three years ago. And Drew Brees may be slowing down a bit, but he’s still capable of throwing for 400 yards every time he touches the field.
Then it gets much more interesting. Eli Manning had a terrible season, but his prowess in big situations has been well proven. His two fourth-quarter comebacks in Super Bowls have to keep him in front of Flacco. Ben Roethlisberger also has two Super Bowl rings, as well as a third appearance in the big game, but at the same time, he got outplayed in a playoff game by Tim Tebow last year and failed to get his team to the playoffs this season. The Steelers signal caller has become injury-prone and is just not the same player he was when he took Pittsburgh to the Super Bowl in 2010.
It’s close, and I honestly cannot believe I’m typing this sentence, but I’d rank Flacco in front of Roethlisberger right now, as well as every other remaining quarterback in the NFL. That’s what winning a playoff game in each of your first five years and capturing a world’s title will do to your reputation—it forces people to reevaluate it. Flacco has always been better than people have given him credit for; now the only difference is he’s finally getting that credit.
With the way Flacco and Delle Donne are racking up the honors, the Vice President better find a way to bring everyone together in Washington soon, or his spot on top of the rankings might be in danger.