With Super Bowl XLVI looming on the horizon, the question has arisen as to who is the better quarterback, Peyton or Eli? Peyton is often considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, with 54,828 career passing yards, and a 94.9 career quarterback rating. However, the one field he is lacking in is Super Bowl wins.
Eli, on the other hand, is making his second Super bowl appearance in four years and, as a result, has cast himself out of his older brother’s shadow. Indeed, with his playoff success and two Super Bowl appearances, some may argue that Eli is the better Manning. And, given the numbers, the argument is convincing. Eli’s playoff record is 7-3 whereas Peyton’s is 9-10. Moreover, Eli is 5-1 in playoff road games, while Peyton is 2-5.
So as we enter the final week leading up to Super Bowl XLVI, the question arises, who would you rather have, Peyton or Eli?
The answer? Neither. I'd rather have Tom Brady.
Tom Brady is by far the most dominant quarterback of the three. While Brady may be trailing Peyton in career passing yards, Brady leads both Peyton and Eli in the only relevant statistic to both players and fans, Super Bowl wins.
Moreover, Brady is not only a great quarterback, but is considered by many to be the greatest quarterback in NFL history, with many comparing him to the likes of Joe Montana. With Brady competing for his fourth Super Bowl ring, its hard to argue that he’s not the greatest and most reliable quarterback of the last decade, or in NFL history for that matter. He leaves many fans wishing they had No. 12 to trot out on the field and slice and dice defenses for their favorite team.
Heading into Sunday’s Super Bowl, Brady is 16-5 in the playoffs with 36 Touchdowns, 5,009 passing yards, and a postseason quarterback rating of 87.6. Moreover, he is making his fifth Super Bowl appearance in ten seasons as a starter, compared to Eli’s second in eight seasons, and Peyton’s two appearances in 12 seasons (excluding his 13th season due to injury).
In addition, Brady holds the record for the most regular season touchdown passes, and has the most completions in Super Bowl history, not to mention he is a three-time Super Bowl winner. Furthermore, Brady has a higher career quarterback rating than either Eli or Peyton, and finished the 2007 regular season undefeated, winning 16 consecutive games (18 if you include playoff victories). And, while Peyton has more career passing yards and touchdowns than Brady, Brady has started two fewer seasons than Peyton.
Moreover, unless Eli has record-breaking seasons for the remainder of his career, it’s unlikely that he’ll eclipse Peyton’s or Brady’s achievements. Even if Eli played in the Super Bowl the next two seasons, he would still be one appearance shy of what Brady achieved given the same amount of time.
Thus, if given the choice between Eli and Peyton, the choice would be Tom Brady. The question regarding which Manning is better is secondary to the question as to how great Tom Brady is, and is therefore irrelevant. Peyton may have 54,828 yards, but if given the choice between 54,828 yards and 3 Super Bowl rings, Peyton, and Colts’ fans, would probably choose to have the rings.
Unfortunately, there is only one Tom Brady, and on February 5, 2012, there will only be one Super Bowl winner, and they'll be led by No. 12.