Sunday, February 7, 2010

Peyton Manning: Best Quarterback Ever?

Super Bowl XLIV has just started, and there is a great debate raging.

The question at hand: If The Indianapolis Colts win today's game, is Peyton Manning the best quarterback in the history of the NFL?

Really? Peyton Manning, greatest quarterback of all time?

Peyton Manning is a great statistical QB. He has amassed incredible yardage, touchdowns, accuracy percentages, and has led The Colts to more winning seasons than losing, no doubt. He even has one Super Bowl ring, and should The Colts win today he will have two. Fantastic career.

But the best ever? I can't honestly believe the question has even been raised.

John Elway and the Denver Broncos appeared in five Super Bowls over the course of Elway's phenomenal 16 year career, more than any other QB as a starter. The Broncos won his final two Super Bowls. Over 30 percent of Elway's seasons ended with a trip to the Super Bowl. He is also incredibly well known for his fourth quarter comebacks.

Joe Montana won four titles, and is another fourth quarter comeback legend. Many consider Montana to be the best of all time, with Elway being the possible exception.

Terry Bradshaw's Steelers had four Super Bowl wins over a span of six years. While not known as a stellar QB, Bradshaw clearly was a leader.

Troy Aikman won three titles, as has Tom Brady. A number of quarterbacks have two super bowl victories to their names - Bart Starr, Bob Griese, Roger Staubach, Phil Simms, and Ben Roethlisberger.

Then there are a couple of players who have made it to as many Super Bowls or more as Manning. Fran Tarkenton played in four losing efforts during the 1970's for the Minnesota Vikings. Jim Kelly and the Buffalo Bills played in four straight Super Bowl games, losing all four. Roger Staubach lost a couple in addition to his two wins.

Steve Young won one Super Bowl as a starter in San Fransisco and was Joe Montana's backup for another, and many believe that if Young had a support system equal to Montana's then perhaps Young would have won one or two more.

Kurt Warner played in three Super Bowls, winning one and losing two, and had the three best individual performances ever in Super Bowl games. He also revived two dismal franchises and brought them to the sport's title game, and is one of history's most accurate passers ever.

Brett Favre played in two consecutive Super Bowls, winning one, and is considered one of the elite fourth quarter comeback players in league history.

There is one QB who only made it to one Super Bowl, and played in a losing effort, who is considered by many to be one of the best ever - Dan Marino. While Manning is now breaking many of Marino's records, Marino was never surrounded by the talent that Manning has had with The Colts.

These are only the players from the "Modern Era," which begins with the first Super Bowl. Not mentioned in this list are the likes of Otto Graham, who won eight titles over an eleven year career in Cleveland. Len Dawson. Johnny Unitas. George Blanda. I'm sure there are more.

For comparison, here is a professional writer's list of the top ten of all time. This writer lists Peyton Manning at number seven. I think that's a reach.

So I am curious... do you think Peyton Manning will be deserving of this "Best Quarterback ever" title he may receive from some if The Colts win today?? If so, please explain why, because I believe I just made a great case for many who stand in his way before he deserves such accolades.


Hack said...

Thank you for proving to me that there are others out there who feel the same way I do! The hype around this guys is just unreal. I think he may be the most overrated player in recent years. I've written about this many times. Feel free to check out my blog anytime.

Soloman said...

Hack -

Thanks to you too... I'll check your place out sometime.

I'm amazed at the hype.. and yet I still heard someone today saying "someday we'll be calling him the greatest," as if that's even really possible?!?!

He's 9-9 in postseason, and 1-1 in Superbowls. Two Bowls over a 12 year career? No way...

Accurate? yes.

Strong arm? sure.

Good field general? Pretty much.

Prone to be picked off late in the big game when it's crunch time?


Top ten in the modern era? Not yet, maybe someday with another SB win or a couple more appearances.

Anonymous said...

When I hear the question "Whos the best QB ever" I think who is the best at that position which means who has the best qualities at that position and hands down its Peyton Manning. No one has ever been in command of an offense like Peyton. His knowledge at that position and for the game has never been seen before which is why you see defences leave there normal base formation because of his abilitys at that position. He has an impact on a defence more than any other QB in nfl history.

Soloman said...

Anon -

I understand your point, which is why I made mention in my reply comment to Hack about the fact that he's a good field general.

Defenses play different rotations and change their field positioning all the time. I don't believe it is accurate to attribute that to Manning as much as it is to attribute it to constantly evolving coaching techniques.

To be the best you must win, and you must win when it counts. Manning during the regular season appears invincible at times, but he's proven to be vulnerable in the playoffs.

Manning is without a doubt one of the best of the past decade, and one of the better QB's of all time. I simply don't think that over the entire history of the game he's one of the ten best ever.

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