Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning: Renewing Greatest QB Debate After Pats' Resurgence

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Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning: Renewing Greatest QB Debate After Pats' Resurgence
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The New England Patriots sent a message to the rest of the AFC with their decisive 42-14 win over the Houston Texans on Monday night, a game in which Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes.

With both New England and the Denver Broncos cruising along at 10-3, and both Brady and Denver quarterback Peyton Manning enjoying phenomenal seasons, a debate that has raged across the NFL for over a decade has been rekindled.

Tom Brady or Peyton Manning? Who ya got?

First off, let's take a look at each player's stats for the 2012 season.

 

Comp.

Att.

Yds.

TD

INT

Rating

Tom Brady

319

495

3,833

29

4

104.2

Peyton Manning

330

483

3,812

30

10

104.0

As you can see from perusing this year's statistics, they essentially prove nothing, as they're all but identical. Manning has a slightly higher completion percentage and one more touchdown pass, but he's also thrown more interceptions and has a slightly lower quarterback rating.

Thanks guys, that was helpful.

Maybe we can glean a little bit more from their career numbers.

 

Comp.

Att.

Yds.

TD

INT

Rating

Tom Brady

3,716

5,816

43,812

329

119

97.0

Peyton Manning

5,012

7,093

58,640

429

208

95.5

OK, maybe not.

Granted, Manning holds a significant edge in yardage and touchdowns. However, he has also played two more seasons than Brady and played for Indianapolis Colts teams that threw a lot more than Brady's Patriots squads did early in his career.

Also, Brady holds an edge in touchdown-to-interception ratio and, just as with their 2012 statistics, their quarterback ratings are almost identical.

Well, since the raw numbers aren't going to help us out (reaffirming my belief that math never helped anyone) we're going to have to look a little deeper to try to find something that separates the pair.

Some might point to Manning's four NFL MVP awards as a point in his favor, and while it certainly can't be argued that that's a lofty achievement, the fact remains that Brady has two of his own, so Manning's edge in that regard isn't that great.

However, for all Manning's gaudy statistics and individual accolades in the National Football League, the only number that really matters is the one on the scoreboard, and in that regard Brady's edge is significant.

Brady owns a higher career winning percentage than Manning (including the only 16-0 regular season in NFL history), and once you start talking about the playoffs the gap gets even wider.

As great as Peyton Manning is, the fact remains that he's lost more games in the playoffs than he's won (9-10), while Brady has a 16-6 career mark in football's second season.

Which Quarterback is "Better"?

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Also, no quarterback in the history of the NFL has played in more Super Bowls than Tom Brady, and while he's lost in his last two trips his three victories are as many as Peyton Manning and younger brother Eli combined.

Supporters of Manning will no doubt point to superior teams (especially defensively) that were assembled around Brady, and they have a point. That's one of the things that makes this argument, at its core, so subjective.

We're talking about two of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play in the NFL. One has a command of the offense and an ability to read defenses unlike any who have come before him, while the other has developed into one of the most efficient passers in the history of the game.

Both will certainly be first-ballot Hall of Famers, and for my money Tom Brady is slightly better, but at the end of the day asking someone to choose between them is like asking someone to choose between a Ferrari and a Lamborghini.

They're both pretty danged sweet cars.

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