following essay was produced as part of my 2013 effort for the
November National Novel Writing Month effort. As such, please
understand that while I did give it a quick review, it has not
gone through the same proofreading and editing I normally try
to give all of the material posted on this site.
always make some mistakes. There are errors to be found throughout
this web site, and many exist despite dozens of attempts to correct
problems. That said, ask that you approach this material in the
spirit intended – a basic thought, slightly worked out and very
informally researched, delivered in the hopes of writing more
than 50,000 words by the end of November.
~ ~ ~
the comparison and conversation and argument and debate right
now… because if you don’t support Tom Brady, you’re embarrassing
for all intents and purposes, the debate ended last night as the
final seconds were ticking off the clock.
go to the stats…
Per (Attempt -- Completion)
And before we even
consider those statistics, one more thing, the running game…
Team Rushing Yards
For Top Running Back
those details in place… here we go…
are people that like to debate whether Tom Brady or Peyton Manning
is the greatest quarterback of the modern day. There are some
that will even take that debate as the solution to the ultimate
debate, going so far as to place these two alone into competition
for the title of greatest of all time.
all of that is well and good… you know, except for the fact that
there isn’t a debate.
order for there to be a debate, there has to be room for opposing
viewpoints. And in this situation, there’s not.
Brady is clearly the better quarterback.
it’s not even close.)
stop… you’re just embarrassing yourself by even trying.)
get something straight right out of the gate. Heck… let’s get
three things straight…
-- Peyton Manning is incredible.
I have ever seen, heard or watched of the man exhibits nothing
short of a true class act. I don’t just like him… I respect
-- This article makes the story seem one-sided, which I believe
it is. But…
virtually any listing of greatness, Brady and Manning are two
of the five best quarterbacks of all time. I think if you said
to anyone that knows football: “Make a list of the best five quarterbacks
to ever play, in any order, and I’m just going write Brady and
Manning down to start things off before you say anything”… yeah,
they wouldn’t stop you. While any number of others might create
the rest of the list, Brady and Manning would be part of their
that we get into all sorts of thoughts based on the demands of
their playing days, leadership, and so on… which brings names
like Montana, Starr, Unitas, Elway, and others into the conversation
to round out the five.
placing Brady and Manning in the top five? Pretty much automatic.
Done. No arguments there.
probably could even hold a conversation with the same people about
the top three of all time, make the same Brady and Manning are
there statement, and the majority of those you approach would
still let you get away with that.
other words… we aren’t talking about two great quarterbacks… we
aren’t talking about two legendary quarterbacks… we aren’t talking
about two all-time quarterbacks. We are talking about the unquestioned
very best of the very best, with hushed tones and rarified air.
Superlatives don’t count any more. These are guys that provide
the definitions of performance… the measuring sticks… by which
all levels of accomplishment for others are defined.
-- Yeah… the end of the game.
I go into the separation of Brady and Manning… before I place
the crown on Brady’s head and ask him to sit on the throne… let’s
expand on the first two items and keep this in mind.
Broncos were losing the game in regulation play, and scored a
touchdown that would force overtime.
the chips were down… trailing by 7, only just clear of 70-yards
passing in the game to that point, and 7:37 remaining in the fourth
quarter… Manning drove the Broncos 80-yards in four and a half
minutes for a touchdown. The drive included over 50-yards of passing
from Manning, at his most efficient level of play in the entire
up above I gave the numbers for Manning as the losing quarterback.
Check this out…
Per (Attempt -- Completion)
section three, compare to section two… the definition of performance
by which others are measured.
the thing though… I’ve gone on for more than 750 words, and the
reality is I promised you a simple answer.
all, I said: It’s over.
how I opened this essay. I have repeatedly pointed out that it
shouldn’t be a debate. And, so far in the process, I’ve basically
tried to show why saying he’s not Tom Brady doesn’t mean Peyton
Manning isn’t phenomenal or any of several other superlative adjectives.
there is a reason why I’ve been avoiding the obvious so far, beyond
just stating it outright. And that’s because it is so obvious.
consider for a moment the frameworks and ideas that so often might
use to compare Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
every level that goes to Brady. Five Super Bowls… three titles…
a fairly routine presence in AFC Championship games.
Valueable Player Awards?
at that… both of them have MVP awards… but Manning collects them
in ways that find many already have him getting their votes for
next season, and he hasn’t finished winning the award again this
could even go back and forth and try to match up different statistics,
and we would find some that favor Manning.
trouble is, almost every figure or statistic or thought you might
want to utilize has problems. As an example, Manning played indoors
for most of his career… Brady has been outside for the majority
of his games.
honestly, you need to get rid of the traditional frameworks. And
when you try to strip back the thoughts to the most basic essentials,
there are two ways to look at these quarterbacks, and neither
one supports selecting Manning.
first way is by judging their career and won-loss records.
-- 0.775 Winning %
-- 0.692 Winning %
-- 0.765 Winning %
-- 0.696 Winning %
-- 0.478 Winning %
-- 0.677 Winning %
things really stand out from this comparison. (1) Brady is the
only quarterback to be more than 100 victories over .500 for his
career. And while Manning is likely to join that club if he plays
just two more seasons (and could do it in one more), the number
of games it took Brady to accomplish the feat compared to how
long it will take Manning is staggering. It’s about 60 more games…
almost four seasons. (2) Look at the playoffs. Peyton Manning
has a losing record in the playoffs. Not just fewer Super Bowl
titles or Super Bowl appearances… he has a losing record for
his career in the playoffs.
note: These records were double-checked after the completion of
the season that this article involved. Nothing else in the article
second way is the most simple of all. See… we can debate whether
or not it’s fair to judge statistics and MVPs and Super Bowls
in a team sport. That is open to debate.
Brady is playing in New England… when Manning plays most of his
career in a dome… can you fairly debate numbers? Even if both
teams were playoff-level for most of those years?
what if we simplified things? What if there was a way to compare
the two when they played in similar conditions?
guess what? There is!
thanks to the NFL for scheduling procedures that attempt to balance
things out by taking division rankings of one season to determine
the random games for the next… and thanks to Brady and Manning
leading the Patriots and the Colts (and the Broncos it would appear,
as this battle between the two continues) to multiple division
titles… we have a really great sample size of similar conditions.
played against each other 14 times now.
above I shared the stats for Brady (Winning quarterback) and Manning
(Losing quarterback) from yesterday’s matchup between New England
and Denver. And, as you can see, it’s not even close. Brady was
better for completion accuracy, total yards, averages, and all
while not throwing an interception.
get this… forget looking at just the 34-31 New England victory…
if my research is correct, here are some overall numbers from
14 contests between Brady and Manning.
loss record… Brady is now 10-4 against Manning. (And, he has a
winning record against Manning on the road as well as at home…
he is currently 3-2 on the road. He is also 2-1 in the playoffs.)
per game… Pats are at 30 per contest, and Manning with the Colts
and the Broncos is just under 25.
percentage… Brady 67% and Manning 62%.
with interceptions… Brady 26/12 and Manning 29/20.
the only thing Manning wins at is passing yards per contest.
when on average you are 5-points down in each game, you are going
to be throwing a bit more. Right? But, oh yeah… when I started
this column out, I pointed to the running game. And here’s why…)
a 24-point lead, the Broncos were certain to pull the plug on
a passing game. Let’s face it… the numbers in this contest are
tremendously slanted in Brady’s favor for a reason. But the reality
is, as the major part of 280-yards combined rushing for the team,
Knowshon Moreno turned in a phenomenal game. It’s not like the
Pats stuffed the Denver running game. And, on top of that, the
Broncos knew Brady had to pass, and had pretty much dominated
the New England running game.
understand people want to assign other factors into comparing
put up most of the numbers early in his career, and hasn’t been
as dominant in the playoffs over the past few seasons.
lately has been to the Super Bowl twice, once entering with an
undefeated team, and come away with no titles from them.
wasn’t Manning playing defense when the Ravens scored on that
playoff drive late in the game last season.
the problem there is nit-picking. It’s justification. It’s trying
to find supporting evidence for the argument by saying (my words):
“Look! Look! They aren’t as different as you think.”
already told you though… they aren’t as different as one might
think. These are the very best of the very best we’re discussing
someone tries to point out that Manning threw 3 touchdowns to
Brady’s 2 in this year’s game, I am going to reply that 2 touchdowns
and 0 interceptions and a victory is more impressive than 3 touchdowns
with an interception and a loss. It is more complicated than saying
3 is a larger number than 2.
I don’t think it has to be more complicated when you strip away
certain elements and have the ability to look at longevity based,
often from the same field, results.
has the better career winning percentage… regardless of breakdown…
overall, regular season, and playoffs.
has the better head-to-head winning percentage… pretty much regardless
of breakdown… in New England, in Indy, regular season, and playoffs.
when on the same field, the statistics I’m seeing show Brady to
be more accurate while making fewer mistakes.
Manning is running one of the most powerful offenses the NFL has
ever seen this season. He might even break some records… and could
get to another Super Bowl. If he wins another MVP… another title…
and some of the late career contests between these two that are
yet to come (but certain to happen)… it might be worth considering
this debate again.
after the game that took place this week… for now… there is no
debate any longer.
hail the king… and the best is Tom Brady.