On Wednesday afternoon, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater fielded some Twitter questions on Sportscenter, and one of his answers raised a few eyebrows.
When prompted by one to compare himself with an NFL quarterback, Bridgewater chose Denver Broncos star Peyton Manning:
The comparison is high self-praise from Bridgewater, who obviously believes in modeling himself after the best. What college passer wouldn't want to play like Peyton?
But is this a delusion of grandeur?
Maybe not as much as people think. Here is how they stack up as college passers:
Manning played in a less pass-friendly era, and he also had to go against SEC defenses. But other than his superior size and better interception rate, it's still interesting to note some of his deficiencies in that comparison.
Bridgewater is also the top QB on most draftniks' boards right now, and his case to be the No. 1 overall pick grows stronger with each passing game.
Being the top pick would immediately put him in a small class with Manning, who himself went No. 1 overall in 1998. And Teddy has shown—as much as a college passer in the Big East or AAC can—the elite decision-making and accuracy skills that have characterized Manning's career.
Still, most immediate reactions were negative ones, though that's to be expected when someone compares themselves to an all-time NFL great:
In reality, it's tough to compare the passers this early in Bridgewater's development. The best course of action is one of wait-and-see.
What makes Manning so great is his ability to out-think the game's smartest defensive minds. Bridgewater has done that against inferior competition, but until he consistently faces better opponents, it's hard to know if he's merely good or a Manning-esque savant.
There's also the issue of size. Bridgewater is shorter than Manning and has a much slighter frame. A lot of what made Manning so good was durability—remember that he had started 227 consecutive games for Indianapolis before having neck surgery in 2011.
Can Bridgwater really hold up for that long? Will he add enough muscle and weight to subsist at the next level? It's hard to answer yes.
That said, Bridgewater is very tough, rarely makes mistakes and already has the accuracy of an NFL starter. Those are all things that could make him a Pro Bowler at the next level, and eventually someone who might resemble Manning's greatness.
Who wants to go on the record denying that?