People have been discussing this for the last few years, and many people think that after what Tom Brady did last season the argument is over. Think again.
Career quarterback rating gives Manning a slight edge. He has a 94.7 rating and Brady’s is 92.9. However, I don’t believe that the quarterback rating tells us everything we need to know about a player’s performance.
I have studied both players’ stats over the last seven years and there are a few things that might surprise you. In fairness to Brady, I am only using stats from 2001 and after, when he played 15 games for the New England Patriots.
Many people consider Brady to be the more accurate passer of the two, but Manning actually has a better completion percentage. Since 2001 Manning has completed 65.9 percent of his passes, and Brady has completed 63 percent. Brady did, however, complete a ridiculous 68.9 percent of his passes in the 2007 season, which is the highest single-season completion percentage for either player.
Manning has thrown for more yards (29,339) and more touchdowns (221) since 2001 than Brady has (26,364 and 197), but Brady has thrown only 86 interceptions compared to Manning’s 95. Manning has attempted 161 more passes than Brady over that span, but that is not enough of a difference to justify nine more interceptions.
Statistically, it appears that Manning has been slightly better than Brady over the last seven years, but Brady had a monster year last year and his numbers dwarfed Manning’s.
Brady had 4,808 passing yards compared to Manning’s 4,040, Brady had a record-breaking 50 touchdowns compared to 31 by Manning, and then there’s the aforementioned 68.9 completion percentage compared to Manning’s 65.4 percent.
It is also worth mentioning that the touchdown record that Brady broke was previously held by Manning, who set it in 2004 when he threw 49 touchdown passes.
You should also consider Super Bowl rings. I think that this is slightly overemphasized, but there’s no doubt that players, especially quarterbacks, are judged based on how many championships they have won. Brady has won three championships, and Manning has won one.
Then there’s the eyeball factor. That is when you put all statistics aside and judge based solely on what you see when you watch these guys. Both are big, strong, athletic, calm, and very smart. Manning may have a slightly stronger arm, and be a little bit stronger.
Brady may throw a little bit crisper of a ball and a tighter spiral. Both are well respected and are excellent leaders. Manning makes some downfield throws that no one should be able to make, and I have seen Brady make some amazing touch passes (i.e. lobbing it just out of the reach of the defender into his receiver’s hands).
The bottom line is that any team would be happy to have either of these guys. They are both great quarterbacks and will go down as some of the greatest ever.
If I had to choose, I would take Peyton Manning, but I wouldn’t think anyone was crazy for taking Tom Brady. Here’s some food for thought: