Tom Brady > Peyton Manning

By Johnny Green

(I wrote a column about Brady and Manning the other day, but before I posted it, I remembered that Bean wrote one a few months back. So this is his take on the “Best Quarterback of the Generation” debate.)

(AP Photo/ Charles Krupa)

The NFL is the best football league in the world, and it is made up of the best players in the world. Among these players there is one position that outshines the rest, and that position is quarterback. The quarterback is the player who takes the blame when the team loses and the credit when the team wins. They have a lot of control over the outcome of the game, and they are the teams’ leaders. There are a lot of great quarterbacks in the NFL today, but there are two main ones that stick out in everybody’s mind, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. There are countless numbers of debates on who is better out of these two. I am going to tell you why Tom Brady is better, and some of the reasons even go past football.

First I am going to start with the end of their college careers and the beginning of their NFL careers. Coming out of college there was a huge debate on who to draft; Peyton Manning, or another great college quarterback Ryan Leaf. After they both had an incredible senior year, the first overall pick of the 1998 draft was Peyton Manning. Since he was the first pick he had a lot to live up to in the NFL, and I will admit he exceeded his expectations. Two years later in the 2000 NFL draft, Tom Brady was drafted in the 6th round at the 199th overall spot. He was good in college, but didn’t receive any hype coming in to the draft and wasn’t sure he would even get drafted. Now, due to his great success, he is considered the biggest steal in draft history. I would rather be a guy that is doubted and disrespected, but end up proving everybody wrong, than a guy who is supposed to do well and does well. So right from the start Tom Brady’s overall story is a better one and the story only gets better from here.

Peyton Manning came into the NFL, and everyone knew he would be the starter from day one. When Tom Brady came in he had to fight for his spot. He was behind veteran quarterback Drew Bledsoe. He started out as a third string QB, but earned his spot as a backup during his first year. He only got to play in one game; he had three attempts and one completion. Going into his second season he had to fight for his spot as backup again. He earned the spot and started to impress his coaches in practice. During his second year, the second game of the season, Drew Bledsoe got hurt and Brady had to come in. He lost that game, but won the next game in which he started. It just so happens that the first team Tom Brady ever beat as a starting quarterback in the NFL was the Indianapolis Colts and their star quarterback Peyton Manning. Now Manning already had 2 seasons of playing time prior to this, but for the comparison we will start with their stats from Brady’s first year as a starter. In 2001 Brady had 18 touchdowns passes with only 12 interceptions which gives him a plus 6 ratio. Peyton Manning had 26 touchdowns and 23 interceptions, giving him a plus 3 ratio. Tom Brady led the Patriots to an 11-5 regular season record and a super bowl victory, his first year as a starter. In this same year Peyton Manning’s colts went 6-10 and lost to the Patriots twice.

One of the biggest criticisms of Peyton Manning is that he cannot win in big games. One of the biggest compliments to Tom Brady is that he is a big game specialist. He is considered as one of the most clutch quarterbacks of all time. I find this criticism about Peyton Manning to be true, judging by the fact that he almost always had a good team all season long, with winning records, but would crumble in the playoffs. In the 2003 AFC championship game Brady and Manning faced each other head to head to see who will go to the Super Bowl. Peyton Manning was intercepted three times. A Patriot defenseman Ty Law had more interceptions than the Colts star receiver, Marvin Harrison, had receptions. This is a big reason why I believe the criticisms about Peyton are true.

Peyton Manning has had many great regular seasons, but as far as the playoffs come he hasn’t had many at all. It took him nine long seasons as a starter to win his first Super Bowl. In this amount of time Tom Brady racked up three, with three less seasons as a starter than Peyton. I would show you post-season numbers and stats, but the best way to judge this is by looking at wins, and most importantly, playoff and championship wins. You can have big numbers all year long, but if you can’t perform when it is most important, then are the big numbers even worth it? When it comes to the regular season Peyton Manning’s stats are amazing. They are better than Brady’s but not by far. If you look at playoff stats, Tom Brady destroys Manning and almost any other QB to have ever played the game. The championship numbers alone show you who the better player is. Another example of a player whose stats aren’t the best but he is considered the best ever in his sport by everyone is Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan isn’t number 1 in any statistical category, but he is highly regarded as the best to ever play. If everything was judged by stats this wouldn’t be so. The main reason he is considered the best is the same reason Brady is better than manning, Championships.

Now for the people who love to look at stats and use that as there only argument in this topic I have a few things to say. Yes, Manning has had more yards than Brady and more touchdowns, but he also played his whole career with two wide receivers that are going to be in the hall of fame. Brady was out there with mediocre receivers until 2007. When finally given a great receiving core in that year, a core comparable to Manning’s, Brady had a better statistical year than Manning ever had. He also broke Manning’s season touchdown pass record by getting 50 and only throwing 8 interceptions. When Manning set the record he had 49 with 10 interceptions, still more mistakes than Brady. Also, when equipped with good receivers Tom Brady led his team to a 16-0 regular season record. The first team to ever do this, and barring a miracle catch in the Super Bowl, Brady would be a 4 time super bowl champion. Despite losing in this game, his Super Bowl record is still better than Manning. Brady is 3-1 in Super Bowl games while Peyton Manning is 1-1, usually failing before he even gets there.

I can’t see how anyone can disagree with me than Tom Brady is the better quarterback. Peyton Manning is a great quarterback, top 5 all time probably, but he’s just not as good as Tom Brady. To be considered great, what it all comes down to is championships, just ask Dan Marino who would probably be considered the best of all time if he had a Super Bowl under his belt, but he couldn’t seal the deal. Now he’s a quarterback with really good stats.

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