Well, Tiki Barber is the latest to troll us all with that argument, and I'll take the bait.
Barber brought new life to one of the dumbest arguments in sports, on CBS Sports Radio Network (thanks to CBS' Eye on Football for the quote):
"The expectation was that he was never going to be Peyton. I remember having these conversations with people who watched Eli in college, saying, 'He's good, but he's never going to be Peyton, he's not Peyton.' Guess what? I think he's better than Peyton," Barber said. "Because of clutch. What matters in sports? It's winning and losing. You get to the stage and what do you do? Eli's gotten there and he's won."
I shouldn't get mad at this. Tiki Barber (who also offered up that Eli could be a top five all-time quarterback) knows better. But here goes.
Anyone who blindly uses Super Bowls or wins as the sole argument to judge a quarterback should be ignored. They are wrong. They couldn't be more wrong. Trent Dilfer was not better than Dan Marino. Jeff Hostetler was not better than Dan Fouts. And Eli is not better than Peyton.
If you're reading this blog you already know blindly judging a quarterback by "his record" is horrendous. Because of the simple reason that football is a team game. Eli Manning has not won two Super Bowls. The New York Giants have won two Super Bowls with Eli Manning at quarterback. Eli Manning hasn't solely won one more Super Bowl than Peyton Manning. The New York Giants with Eli at quarterback have won one more championship than the Indianapolis Colts/Denver Broncos with Peyton. Football games are won and lost by teams. They give out more than one Super Bowl ring every year. Saying Eli is better than Peyton just because he has one more ring dismisses the contribution of every other Giants player on those two title teams. Wins and Super Bowls are part of a quarterback's resume, but it's not the only line on it. Or we'd have to believe Brad Johnson is better than Jim Kelly.
Is Peyton Manning a better player if Rahim Moore doesn't fall asleep against the Ravens and the Broncos go on to win a Super Bowl last season? Is Eli Manning less of a quarterback if Asante Samuel doesn't drop a game-clinching interception or if Wes Welker makes a catch he almost always makes, and those two Giants Super Bowls have different outcomes? Of course not. That's ridiculous.
Eli Manning is a very good quarterback. He'll get Hall of Fame consideration, and rightfully so. It's not a knock against him that he isn't better than his brother Peyton, because it's possible Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback in NFL history. Until the NFL starts playing one-on-one quarterback games like it's a H-O-R-S-E competition, judging quarterbacks by wins and "clutchness" and whatever other weirdness Tiki Barber was spewing ("Because of clutch" should replace Hawk Harrelson's "The Will to Win" as this year's most nonsensical sports quote) will completely ignore how the game is played.
I know Barber knows better. He played the game. It's very clear he does not believe what he said. But he accomplished what he set out to do. Nice trolling, Tiki.
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