As I prepare to watch this weekend’s NFL games, let’s talk about the whole Manning vs Brady debate – because I’m jumping on the blog bandwagon. This is officially the 1000th column/blog post about this debate. From Peter King, to Bill Simmons, to guy in parents basement, to me. Let the debate continue because that’s what we do.
In my lifetime, these are the two greatest quarterbacks and NFL players of all-time. And most of the debate centers on Peyton’s better overall numbers (TD passes, yards etc..) compared to Tom’s 3 Super Bowl rings to Manning’s 1.
The best way to break this down is what player do you want on your team? I’ll pick Peyton because he’s just so damn consistent. I’m not saying Tom isn’t, but I think his coaches have had the ability to get the best out of him, as Peyton seems to be great whomever his coaches would be.
With Peyton, you know what you’re going to get every single week and you still can’t stop him. Like Lombardi’s Packers of the 1960s, a system is in place and they are going to run the same plays with the same players over and over again because they practice them over and over again. It’s a master structure, like a great business. They have a product that’s good and they keep selling that product. As the cliche goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. If you get to the playoffs every year, then you’re doing something right.
With Tom, you have zero idea what the gameplan will be on any given week. I’m a Buffalo Bills fan and I watch the Patriots play my team twice a year, and every single time they play them, they have a new wrinkle in their system and a whole new way to beat us. Tom executes and seems to have that inner instinct to win. He gets it done. They work in the business structure of great marketing savvy. They are successful because they figure out how to beat the other team.
So there you have it. Tom has 3 Super Bowl rings, but you can argue that was a long time ago and in a different league. The Patriots figured out how to use the new salary cap era far sooner than the rest of the league and they piled up 3 Super Bowls by the time the rest of the league caught up. Since 2004, the Patriots you can argue have choked a bit in the big games.
Peyton only has 1, in a year (2006) that his defense really carried his team to the big win. Re-watch the Wildcard Game vs the Chief, the divisional game vs the Ravens, and the Super Bowl vs the Bears that year. Peyton is average at best and his defense really stepped up.
The argument is that Peyton is a great regular season QB, but chokes in the playoffs. That is true because his Colts team really underperformed in many playoff years. His 2005 team was just a brilliant team, but his coach’s son committed suicide a week before the playoffs started and they were a shell of themselves when they lost a heart breaker to the eventual champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
So who wins? If Peyton gets one more Super Bowl ring and Tom retires at 3, then Peyton will be known at the greatest Quarterback of all-time. But he needs to get that 2nd ring.