Perhaps the single most common debate in the NFL, if not in all of sports, right now is whether Tom Brady or Peyton Manning is the greatest QB of their generation. Rarely have two such clearly superior athletes had careers that overlapped so long, and developed so drastically differently.
People who read this blog know that I am a Tom Brady fan. I acknowledge that Peyton Manning will likely retire with every single regular season passing record of any importance, and will be a total lock first ballot hall of famer. I also recognize that Peyton has demonstrated some of his best performances after being ignominiously dumped by the Indianapolis Colts in favor of the latest wunderkind, Andrew Luck, and I definitely get some satisfaction out of watching Indianapolis suffer Luck’s growing pains while Peyton has simply transformed the Broncos from a mediocre team to an AFC powerhouse.
So it’s not as if I feel that Peyton Manning is a bum. Quite the opposite, Manning is perhaps the single best game manager and precision passer to have every suited up.
So if that’s true, how can I prefer Brady over Manning?
The answer to that question can simply be found in two striking sets of statistics. In games where the two have gone head-to-head, Brady has won 10 while Peyton has won 4. In the post season Brady has 3 SB rings and one of the best playoff records in history while Peyton doesn’t even have a winning record. This is beyond “Brady has 3 rings and Peyton only has 1.” This is more “in big games, in bad weather, against good teams, with the season on the line, Brady is just head and shoulders better than Peyton Manning.” And that’s what I want in my QB. Win the big games in difficult circumstances no matter the weather.
I think last night’s game will probably cement the notion that Peyton Manning is the greatest indoor, good weather QB ever, but if you have to play a game in the cold, rain, snow or wind…. you better be able to run the ball.