More Impressive: Peyton Manning Before January or Eli Manning in the Clutch?

Greg Maiola@Gom1094Senior Analyst IIJuly 14, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 10:  Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants (L) congratulates his brother quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts on his 26-21 victory on September 10, 2006 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Travis Lindquist/Getty Images)
Travis Lindquist/Getty Images

Based on regular season play, Peyton Manning is a Hall of Fame quarterback. Based on postseason play, Eli Manning is a Hall of Fame quarterback.

For the brothers, it is a strange tale of opposites, but both have earned their elite status. Peyton owns a 9-10 postseason record, with a 1-1 Super Bowl record. Eli is 8-3 in the postseason and owns a ring for both hands.

However, Peyton is clearly the better player in the regular season. If legacies were completely based on postseason performances, Dan Marino would be a goat and Trent Dilfer would be a hero. But yet again, winning is everything. What can doubters say when a player is dancing around midfield with the Lombardi trophy?

Peyton has clearly proven to be the premier player in a 16 game schedule. Eli has also proven to be extremely clutch and lead his team to victory when the odds are stacked against him.

So is it more impressive to dominant the NFL for an entire season or to show up in the few clutch moments that a team faces every season? Is greatness measured on mere stats or on championships? Few people give a darn about what Joe Montana did in the regular season. All they see are the four rings weighing his hand down.

Provided below is a case for both Peyton and Eli. Consider everything included for each player because by the end of this article, the debate will be a lot closer than you may initially think. So consider everything and prepare to duke in out in the comments below!


Case For Peyton Manning

In his 14-year career, only playing 13 seasons due to his 2011 injury, Manning has absolutely torn up defenses and owned the league. He has thrown for 54,828 yards and 399 touchdowns, has averaged 7.6 yards per completion, owns a 64.9 completion percentage and a career 94.9 passer rating.

Manning has earned 11 Pro Bowl selections, including nine consecutive, and has earned five first-team All-Pro selections. He has an unprecedented four NFL MVP awards, which is a tremendous accomplishment. He is the Indianapolis Colts leader in every major passing category and was the fastest quarterback to reach 50,000 career yards and 4,000 completions.

In his tenure, the Colts have won seven AFC South crowns, an amazing feat in 13 seasons. His six consecutive 4,000 yard seasons is an NFL record, and he owns 11 overall. Manning has thrown for at least 25 touchdowns in all of his 13 seasons, an NFL record.

He had started 208 consecutive regular season games, an NFL record for consecutive games started to open a career and the streak ranks second of all time. He and the Colts set an NFL record with 115 regular season wins in the 2000s decade. His 314 touchdowns, 42,254 yards and 3,575 completions are all record numbers for a single decade.

Manning led the Colts to seven consecutive 12+ win seasons, an NFL record. In the 2009 season, Manning set an NFL record with five consecutive 4th quarter comebacks and seven overall. He narrowly beat out Tom Brady as the first quarterback to defeat all 31 franchises.

There are plenty more records and accomplishments, but no need to get carried away. This does not even include what Manning has accomplished in the playoffs. He clearly dominated the 2000s decade and may be on pace to be the best quarterback of all time when he decides to hang up the cleats.

Case For Eli Manning

However, Eli has quite the argument himself. Aren't quarterbacks judged by how they perform in the clutch? Winning is every thing in the NFL and Eli has a thing or two he can teach his brother.

Manning led the New York Giants to perhaps the biggest upset in NFL history with their 17-14 victory over the then 18-0 New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Working against "destiny," and the clock, he led the Giants 83 yards in only two minutes and 42 seconds. On third down, late in the game, Manning kept his team alive with a remarkable escape of a sack and a heave to David Tyree. With only 35 seconds left, Manning and the 12.5 underdog Giants ruined the Pats pursuit of perfection.

That Super Bowl tied Manning with Joe Montana for two go-ahead touchdown throws in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl. Manning also became the first quarterback to throw a last minute, game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. Manning also claimed MVP of that championship, proving his worth. 

The 2011 season would also prove to be another year filled with Manning's magic. In a case of foreshadowing, Manning led the Giants to a last minute victory over the Patriots during the regular season. He also led the Giants to a magical comeback win over the Dallas Cowboys.

In fact, Manning did a lot of work late in games in 2011. He set an NFL record with 15 fourth quarter touchdown passes and led the Giants on eight game-winning drives that season, another league record.

In Super Bowl XLVI against the Patriots, Manning led the Giants to an 88-yard, game-winning drive in the game's dying minutes. Manning was named Super Bowl MVP again, becoming only the fifth quarterback with multiple Super Bowl MVPs. He set a Super Bowl record by completing his first nine passes in the game. Manning took out the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds on the road on the way to his championship.

He owned that 2011 postseason, with a record 1219 passing yards. Manning also owns a record with his five career road playoff wins and 10 road wins in a season (including playoffs). Manning has clearly shown that he can be trusted in the clutch.



Is the fact that Peyton has played eight more playoff games than Eli, but has one more win, enough to give the edge to Eli? Is the fact that Eli has proven to be generally mediocre in the regular season enough to give the toss-up to Peyton?

Or does Peyton win this debate because he is the only NFL player with four MVPs. Or does Eli win because he doesn't blink under pressure, resulting in double the amount of rings Peyton has?

The answer is up to you. Sound off in the comments below to see if regular season dominance or postseason dominance is more impressive.