At age 30 and going on 31, I have watched the entire Tom Brady and Peyton Manning rivalry unfold. From Brady’s first start in 2001 to the 2015 AFC Championship game, the two’s final meeting.
The point is, I have spent my whole life debating this with one fan or the other, but never thought I would do it on a platform such as cover32. The reason for that is because this debate has been over for years, and never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed it would be relevant in 2017.
But here we are, just about half way through 2017. A story, which first appeared on this site, asserted that Peyton Manning was the greatest quarterback and NOT Tom Brady. Let’s be clear, this is not whether or not you believe Brady is the best all time. This is about Brady’s case against Manning. And not the Manning who has beaten him twice in the greatest of stages.
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The first point made in the story is that Manning’s stats alone prove that he is the greater quarterback. However, what is not mentioned is that as of right now, Manning has play 30 more regular season games than Brady over the course of his career. It makes sense, considering Manning came into the league in 1998 and was a day-one starter. Brady was drafted in 2000 and took over in Week 3 as the starter against these very Colts. The Patriots won that game 44-13.
Back to the ‘raw stats’. Manning has a 10,358 yard and 83 touchdown advantage over Brady. In order for Brady to tie those marks in the 30 games, he would have to average 2.8 touchdowns a game and 345 yards per game. For his career, Brady has averaged 1.9 touchdowns per game and 261 yards per game.
Obviously those averages would not do it, however, the difference (2,006 yards and 21 touchdowns) would be minuscule. Especially considering the fact that Brady has thrown 99 fewer interceptions than Manning and would likely not catch him even if he plays for another decade.
Yes, Peyton Manning currently holds a number of records, but that isn’t likely to stand. As mentioned before, Brady, if he plays three more seasons would surpass Manning in all his statistical glory. That’s if Drew Brees hasn’t done it already, in which case, Brady will be chasing Brees.
Brady on the other hand owns just about every playoff and Super Bowl record that exists. Here is a list of some Brady’s records that “don’t compare to Mannings”.
- Game-winning drives
- Fourth quarter comebacks
- Best Postseason winning percentage
- Division championships
- Conference title games
- Wins with 50+ attempts in playoffs (5-2)
- Passing yards
- Touchdown passes
- Super Bowl MVP’s
And the list goes on. Brady has already surpassed Manning in combined regular season and postseason victories and Brady will set the record this year for most regular season wins. But Manning can hang his hat on his one-yard advantage for most yards in a season over Drew Brees.
Football is a team game
Yes. Football is a team game and every great quarterback has had a good team around him at some point. Peyton Manning has had a number of good teams around him, including a Hall of Fame coach in Tony Dungy to lead the way. Hardly a slouch. Also, a pretty stout running back in Edgerrin James.
If Brady’s career yards per attempt of 7.5 indicates an ability to only throw short passes, then Manning is right there with him with his 7.7 yards per attempt.
The claim that Manning is better because Cassel went 11-5 with the Patriots and Curtis Painter went 2-14 is void of context. Cassel took over a team that won 16 games the year before and won five fewer games with primarily the same team. In addition, they had one of the easiest schedules and Cassel managed to throw 29 FEWER touchdowns than Brady. The team on a whole scored 179 fewer points.
But the main reason is that Cassel was just better than Painter. After leaving the Patriots, Cassel had a Pro Bowl season and as of 2016 was still in the league.
Tom Brady is not the primary reason for most of their Super Bowl victories
It’s hard to know where to begin. Brady has led the two greatest comebacks in Super Bowl history, largely on his arm, and has four game-winning drives to boot. The idea that Brady “needed” Vinatieri to win those Super Bowls is absurd. In Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII, why would the Patriots get greedy and go for a touchdown when all they needed was a single point? The final drive in Super Bowl XXXVIII would not have been needed if Vinatieri didn’t miss a field goal earlier in the game.
Brady also broke the completions record in that game against the Panthers. Something he has done two more times since.
Brady was lucky to win the last two Super Bowls
The author brings up the “lucky” interception and Edelman catch to discredit Brady’s 36-of-44, for 376 yards and three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and overtime but fails to mention the David Tyree catch in Super Bowl 42 or Wes Welker’s drop in Super Bowl 46.
Manning has never had a good defense
With the Colts, Manning enjoyed a top 10 defense in PPG six times. He had a top 11 defense YPG five times. In Denver, he enjoyed a top three defense in yards per game three out of his four years and a top four in points per game twice.
In contrast, Brady has had a top 10 defense in PPG 11 times to Manning’s eight. Seven times Brady enjoy a top ten defense by yards per game.
No matter how you slice it, there is no metric that says Peyton Manning is greater than Tom Brady. That is no knock on Manning who is one of the greatest to ever play the game, however, he is just not Brady. Manning fans should accept that and enjoy his Hall of Fame career as Brady marches toward his sixth ring.
The post Reaction: The Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning “debate” appeared first on Cover32.