Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning: The Bigger Picture

TravisContributor IJanuary 4, 2009

This article is a response to Ryan Michael’s extremely biased article "Peyton Manning vs, Tom Brady: A Look Inside the Numbers."

First of all, it’s angled to favor Manning from the outset. The main focus was stats, and we all would acknowledge that Manning is a statistical genius.

Then the author continues his "genius" by posting Manning's career records compared to Brady's, and then claiming in the very next sentence that the championships have little effect because "teams" win championships. But the last time I checked, Peyton wasn’t the only one on the field, so why mention his wins and losses?

Furthermore, it's a misleading comparison. We all know it’s easier to rack up pass yardage in a dome (where Manning plays eight times a year), but Brady plays in the AFC East, where there are no domes, teams play a guaranteed 11 games outdoors every season, and players are expected to play in several bad-weather games a season.

He claims that Brady has benefited from the rushing attack more than Manning, basing that conclusion on 11 seasons of stats by a dome team who just so happens to be extremely pass-happy. He then compared them to a cold-weather team built to run the ball more. Still with a four-season advantage, the Patriots have only averaged 83 yards more per season, so how does Brady benefit more?

Between '01 and '07 the Patriots have rushed the ball 3,254 times to the Colts 3,102. That's only 152 pass plays taken from Brady. In that span, the Colts didn’t rush more than 465 times in a season. while the Patriots did so only four times.

The Pats have only had two 1,000-yard rushers compared to six for the Colts. In 11 seasons, Manning has had a Hall of Fame running back in his prime for eight consecutive seasons, from 1998 to 2005. Brady has had one for three years, with only one year at his peak, 2004.

So, wouldn't that make the Colts more of a threat in the run game than the Patriots?

In all of Manning’s 11 seasons he’s been coupled with legendary wideout Marvin Harrison. From 2001 to 2007 Manning has had at least one 1,000-yard receiver; in 2005 and 2006 he had two, and in 2004 he had three.

In the same span, Brady has had three 1,000-yard receivers total, with two of them in 2007. Before 2007, Brady’s leading receivers were Troy Brown, Deion Branch, David Patten, David Givens, and Reche Caldwell: only one of them, Branch, is on an active roster in the NFL today, and he's in Seattle now. Also, none of them has lead the Patriots in receiving for more than two seasons.

He claimed that Peyton has had more pressure on him because he was selected first in the draft, has a suspect defense and he’s shown that he can get it done in the regular season. But you’re wrong, its Brady who has had more and responded better to the pressure than Manning did.

Granted, in Brady’s first season there was no real pressure on him to win. Slowly but surely he built that pressure. By winning the Super Bowl in the fashion that he did. He raised the bar so high that he was expected to keep winning.

Major success brings heavy pressure. When faced with the pressure of the playoffs after winning his first Super Bowl, Brady maintained undefeated in the postseason leading his team to two more Super Bowl Titles. Manning played his first postseason game in '99, and didn't win his first until '03, six years into his career.

If you really wanted to compare the two you could have compared them head to head, but for reasons well known we know why you didn’t. They’ve played a total of 10 games against each other. Brady having the better record of 7-3 and he’s 2-1 in championship games, with a win streak of six.

Their stats head to head are; Brady: 205 out of 314 for 2,275 Yds; 17 Td’s; 11 Int’s. Manning: 228 out of 381 for 2,761 Yds 16; Td’s 14; Int’s. Manning has thrown 67 more passes while only completing just 23 more. Manning has thrown a touchdown less and three more picks, his only advantage is having 486 more yards.

In one of these games Brady throws four picks and his team still only lost by seven. In another game, the Pats blow a 17-point halftime lead. So in all honesty they had the opportunity to be 9 -1 against the "Mighty" Peyton Manning.

I don't wanna hear any BS about the Patriots having a better defense. Since the departure of Lawyer Milloy, the Patriots have had a patchwork secondary. Basically pulling a Mcguyver and keeping their team together with a paperclip and a stick of chewing gum.

The only thing certain about the Pats' D was their front three. Both teams have defensive head coaches, so why is it that Belichick’s teams have had more success defending and Dungy’s have had none at all? We already know who the better coach is...and I'm pretty sure your gunna bring up Spygate but that's something for another discussion

I'm my opinion you can’t decide a winner on stats alone. You have to add in the intangibles as well. It’s clear that Brady is the tougher quarterback of the two. Not only has he been sacked more from 01-07, but he’s shown his willingness to stand in the pocket to the very last second, knowing that a big hit was certain, and for the most part he would always get up and perform as if he was unaffected.

He also plays in cold weather, and the mindset of his team is very defensive therefore he’s been in a lot more close games. The knock on Manning on the other hand, was he gets rattled easy and he doesn’t like to be touched, let alone hit.

I myself will acknowledge that, that notion is no longer the case with Manning. But I remember one season, Belichick said the key is to give him (Manning) "happy feet" meaning to keep his feet shuffling because he makes poor decisions when his feet are not set.

Another knock on Peyton was he couldn’t win when it really mattered. Brady is far more clutch. Brady has 26 fourth quarter comebacks in seven seasons to Manning's 31 in 11 seasons. With four extra seasons Manning has only produced five more comebacks, that's an average of one per season.

Brady is averaging three comebacks per season to Peyton’s two. So that means if Brady played 11 seasons he’d have 38 fourth quarter comebacks, seven more than Peyton, but that's just in theory. Oh and not to mention the two that provided his team with jewelry.

For Brady to be as successful as he is, in my opinion I think he’s worked way harder to get where he is as a sixth-round draft pick. Not only did Peyton go number one, but quarterbacking is hereditary for him. He comes from a family of starting NFL quarterbacks, it’s pretty much his destiny.

Here's a helping hint on who's better. For the most part of his career Manning was compared to Marino, and Brady was compared to Montana. Now we wouldn't dare to say Marino was better than Montana would we? Why not, because of the rings, right? Listen in all honesty Peyton would tell you himself that he would trade his stats with Brady if he could get Brady’s three titles.

Oh yea, one more thing for those of you who will state that manning was the inherent of a terrible team, and Brady got to watch Bledsoe, I’ve got two things to say to that. As I mentioned Peyton got his quarterback mind from his genes. Brady got to watch Bledsoe for one season, not to mention he took Bledsoe’s job while Bledsoe was healthy!

Bledsoe was a relic gunslinger who could no longer compete in this league. He never won anything, and finished his career by getting replaced by three quarterbacks. Romo, Lossman, and Brady.

As far as Manning picking up a 3-13 team, Brady picked up a 5-11 team who lost the first two games of the season he started in. So technically they were 5-13 when he took the helm.

In 11 seasons Manning has two losing seasons and has exited the playoffs seven times. Of those times he went one and done.

In seven seasons Brady has never lead his team to a losing season, nor has he exited in the first round of the playoffs.

…Brady by a landslide