Over the past few months, Brett Favre has been forced to relinquish his spot as being Bleacher Report's number one punching bag to Peyton Manning. In the process, those who have supported Peyton Manning have been labeled "Homers" in a deliberate (yet obvious) attempt to destroy the credibility of those who manage to properly support the other side of the debate.
Much of this has stemmed from those classic Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady debates. A great many which have originated from articles I've written, while others manage to flourish under the pen of other writers interested in the subject.
Along the way, my support of Peyton Manning in this debate has become frowned upon. You see, Indianapolis is one of the smallest market teams in the NFL which gathers far less support than our rival New England team obviously has.
Thus, the pro-Manning lifestyle is obviously going to attract some negative attention.
Another reason for this is one that came to mind not that long ago.
Despite being a likable person, Peyton Manning is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to outside-Indy support.
He's disliked by fans of many teams because he has been much more productive and decorated than anyone else. It's hard for fans of other teams to come to terms with the fact that their quarterback might not do as much for their team as Manning does for his.
Yet after winning a Super Bowl, Manning fell out of the Marino-club camp and landed into his own little world.
Now fans of teams who had very productive (yet less successful) quarterbacks can grow to dislike Manning for the fact that he is both more productive than their former heroes and is also a champion.
This leaves little room for Peyton Manning to be liked by much of anyone, not that I'm claiming that he is a "hated" player which is not the case either.
When myself and fellow Colts fans have detailed extensively our point of view, it is often quickly dismissed with a stamp of Homerism attached to it. This done with the obvious intent of destroying the credibility of in-depth analysis that favors the unpopular selection.
Still, Manning has not been supported at Tom Brady's expense.
Never has Tom been called anything negative and never has he been labeled as anything but "great". But such praise is often not enough for those who seek to turn a blind eye to extensive research that favors the opposition.
I for one, am always up for hearing points in Brady's favor. I (as well as everyone else) can always learn more and am never arrogant enough to believe that I know everything there is to know. The issue is, most of the pro-Brady articles are backed with the same support.
*An emphasis put on the "popular" belief that rings tell more than production.
*An attack on the support Manning has received from us "Homeristic" Colts fans.
Yet rarely is Brady's side detailed with extensive support.
More of a focus is put on certain criteria that has been universally adopted and rarely questioned.
Certainly, there is nothing wrong with being as successful as Brady has been (arguably more successful in terms of "team" accomplishments than any other quarterback in the modern-era) but it is also important to look just as closely at the context as we do the accolades.
For some reason, it's okay to state that Brady has been less productive due to having less offensive support but it's not okay to point out that the Colts (not just Peyton Manning) have been less successful due to having less defensive support.
Saying such things in regards to Peyton is considered throwing your team under the bus while saying such things for Brady is just "telling it like it is".
It's become okay to point out that Tom Brady was sacked five times in Super Bowl XLII, which obviously had an impact on his performance as well as the Patriots chances of victory, but it's not okay to point out that Peyton Manning was sacked five times in the Colts divisional-round loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005.
It's a double-standard that has been firmly established yet often ignored.
People have to realize that popular opinion does not always equate to accurate conclusion.
Many people felt that Terry Bradshaw was better than Fran Tarkenton in the 1970's, but I've yet to hear credible defense for that proclamation beyond the "team success" of the Pittsburgh Steelers organization.
Often times, supporters of both sides possess different criteria. This is the most obvious explanation for all of the debate that there is to be had between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady supporters.
The issue is, not all Colts fans are all about stats and not all Patriots fans are all about rings.
The truth lies somewhere in between.
Yet favoring more productive players is not an exclusive trait reserved for Colts Homers, it can often be a credible perception based on analysis that leads one to believe that one player might be better than the other.
When it comes to the Quarterback position, it has become the exception to look past statistical inferiority.
No one ever feels that the running back who rushed for 800 yards and five touchdowns on a Super Bowl winning team is better than the back who ran for 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns on a team who failed to reach the playoffs.
Funny how we equate a quarterback's championship success with greatness but fail to do the same for other positions.
It all comes down to the fact that quarterbacks receive too much credit for success and too much blame for defeat.
Yet, wouldn't it be possible for there to be instances where a great quarterback makes a good team better, and also instances where a great team makes a good quarterback better?
I'm not saying that Tom Brady is just a "good" quarterback but I do feel that there are some individuals who benefit more from being an active member of a great team where there are also good teams who benefit more from the production of a great player.
Neither Manning or Brady are prime-candidates for this generic thought process, but at the same time, I don't feel that the concept should be abandoned either.
No one here on Bleacher Report is out to change anyone's minds.
Most sports fans develop their judging criteria in various ways over a number of years. I have never once written an article with the hope of changing anyone's mind. I write because I enjoy sharing my point of view, as do we all.
The difference between myself and other writers is that I don't mind the opposition.
Some of my best fans are Patriots fans and you'd be hard-pressed to find classier individuals. Men like Andrew Cahill, Steve Frith, Ken Howes, Pete McKeown, and Miles Tiller have always personified class when debating football with me.
I don't feel that any of them would agree with me but at the same time, I value their opinions due to the ways in which they express themselves.
Some have made it out to seem like I label anyone who disagrees with me as "biased" when that has never been the case.
Along with the Patriots fans I've mentioned, other writers such as Cody Swartz and Nick Signorelli have also passionately disagreed with me but managed to always be respectful in the process. They might not agree with me, but I don't label them as biased or Homers because of it.
When it's all said and done, we might never be able to agree. Thus is the nature of sports.
Still, I see no need in resorting to personal attacks while hiding under the guise of neutrality when if others can follow the same steps as myself and the other writers mentioned, we'll get much closer to debating the content of articles and less time in attacking writers as individuals.
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