Manning vs. Brady
Who's Better: Peyton Manning or Tom Brady?
By: Nathan Rush | 11/25/10, 4:43 PM EST
Who’s Better: Peyton Manning or Tom Brady?
If I were going to enter a laboratory to design the perfect NFL quarterback, I’d use Peyton Manning as the blueprint. In fact, I wouldn’t bother with the lab version — I’d stick with the real thing.
You want physical gifts and durability? Like Manning himself said in that old Sprint commercial: “That guy’s pretty good — if you like 6-5, 230-pound quarterbacks with a laser rocket arm…” That laser rocket arm provides equal measures of touch, accuracy and velocity. He manages to avoid pass-rushers with a quick release and deft footwork — he is the active leader among NFL quarterbacks in lowest sack percentage (3.15 percent heading into this season). As a result, Manning has never missed a start in his 13 seasons in the league.
You want intangibles and leadership? Manning is the closest thing to a player-coach in NFL history. As you watch Colts head coach Jim Caldwell stand passively on the sidelines, is there any doubt in your mind who the true coach of this team is?
Watching Manning direct traffic at the line of scrimmage is like watching a maestro conduct the New York Philharmonic. His control over the team extends to the sidelines and the practice field as well. He does everything for this team but wash the socks and jocks.
You want mind-boggling stats? Manning is building the greatest statistical resume in history and will retire with most of the meaningful passing records. And for much of his career, he’s done it without the support of an elite ground game or defense.
You want postseason honors? Manning has earned three MVP awards and five first-team All-Pro designations and has made 10 Pro Bowl trips.
Most important, do you want wins? Manning has guided the Colts to an unprecedented run of excellence — seven straight seasons with 12 or more wins.
Bottom line: By any conceivable metric, Manning’s the man.
– Rob Doster
The 199th pick of the 2000 NFL Draft is clearly better than the first overall pick of 1998. And the reason is intangible. Tom Brady’s blue collar rags-to-riches journey has added a killer instinct that Peyton Manning’s blue blood NFL royalty upbringing did not allow for him to develop. It’s not the destination, but the journey that makes these passers.
Brady’s backup role to son-of-a Super Bowl winner Brian Griese and ill-conceived timeshare plan with two-sport “superstar” Drew Henson only added fuel to the fire for the Michigan man. Meanwhile, Manning’s heir to the throne status included signing with Tennessee rather than Ole Miss — to side step Archie’s 18 mph legacy in Oxford — and being “snubbed” by the Heisman voters in favor of Brady’s UM teammate Charles Woodson. As fate would have it, Brady’s hard road to the top is his best asset, and Manning’s tremendous advantages have spoiled him in subtle ways.
When times are tough, Tom Terrific has an aura of calm confidence, convincing his team the impossible is within reach — which has been true for a man who personifies the American dream. On the other side, Peyton often makes a “Manning face” because his teammates don’t live up to his own amazing talent and lofty expectations. As is the case in all walks of life, it’s not so much what they do as how they do it.
Brady also leads Manning in nearly every category of worth. Brady posted a league-leading 76.6 winning percentage (105–32) after defeating Manning head-to-head in Week 11. He also carries a 14–4 mark in the playoffs and trails only Joe Montana (4) and Terry Bradshaw (4) with three Super Bowl wins.
Granted, Manning may have more individual awards and better career statistics, but Brady stacks up well with one MVP, two Super Bowl MVPs and the greatest statistical season in history — throwing for 4,806 yards, 50 TDs and eight INTs for a 117.2 rating during a 16–0 year in 2007.
Both are among the best ever. But, when “it” really matters, Brady is the best.
– Nathan Rush
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