The Abundance of Bias Creates a Line in the Manning vs. Brady Debates

Ryan MichaelSenior Writer IIIJune 3, 2009

Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have been compared in numerous ways over the years.

The generalization has led many people to believe that it is the most pure form of the "Rings vs. Stats" debate.

If you remove Tom Brady from the equation for a moment, there is a more direct issue with the treatment of Peyton Manning.

It's not so much that Manning needs to be defended, it's more an issue of being exposed to an abundance of bias that creates such a clear separation between fact and adopted fiction that it needs to be brought to light.

Since his days at Tennessee, Peyton Manning has been a long favorite punching bag for the media to deal it's most intensive blows.

Ironic, seeing as some have accused me of doing the same thing to Tom Brady...but that accusation is easy enough to disprove.

There is a clear difference of course between insulting someone, questioning their lack of ability, and pointing out that they have simply done less than someone else.

The latter has been my stance on the Manning vs. Brady debate, but results that don't favor the NFL's Golden Child tend to not be greeted with open arms.

It's a bit strange the way we've learned to treat Tom Brady.

As great as he is, you rarely hear much said about him in a negative light.

With Peyton, I've heard that he's a "choke artist," can't win in the playoffs, has posted inflated numbers due to surrounding talent, run's a finesse style offense, is responsible for an unproductive ground game because he calls his own plays, puts his defense in bad positions which leads to them giving up points, etc.

Just about anything you can think of that isn't idiotically outlandish has been dished out in Peyton's direction.

Some of the criticism is warranted; Peyton's not a perfect player after all.

But how often do you hear anything negative said about Tom Brady?

With as much as I love NFL Network, I think the most negative thing I've heard over the past two years is that Brady might be a little rusty coming off a serious knee injury (which is understandable).

It's easy for people to point out Peyton Manning's 7-8 playoff record, but wouldn't it be just as easy to hear people talk about Brady's lack of exceptional productivity prior to 2007?

But right here, someone might accuse me of "bashing" Tom Brady without understanding the context first.

Saying that someone was impressive but less impressive than another is not the same as attacking them.

But is it an "attack" to point out that Brady has been less productive than Manning while pointing out that Peyton Manning has a less impressive postseason record than Tom Brady isn't?

It's a clear double standard that has reached an alarming rate.

For instance, while everyone is quick to praise Brady for winning three Super Bowls, how often do you hear someone say that "He played well winning three Super Bowls, but it must have really helped to have played with the top-tier defensive squads he did?"

If people are saying it, (especially within the most respected media outlets) I'm not hearing it.

But it has become perfectly acceptable to point out that Peyton Manning has had the benefit of playing with multiple players drafted in the first round at the skills positions.

It's not that pointing that out is unreasonable, it's the double standard that has led it to become socially acceptable to treat one side differently than the other.

Meaning, you often hear that Peyton Manning has been very productive due to being surrounded by quality talent, but you rarely hear that Tom Brady won three Super Bowls due to playing with quality talent on defense.

People have asked how productive Peyton Manning would have been if he was throwing to Deion Branch and David Givens, and that's not an unreasonable question in my opinion.

But how often do people ask how many Super Bowls Tom Brady would have won with the Colts' defense?

Again, the clear double standard.

People said that Peyton Manning choked in the divisional round of the playoffs against the Steelers in 2005.

But how often did you hear that he was sacked five times?

People say that Tom Brady's offensive line let him down in Super Bowl XLII (which they did) and are quick to point out the fact that Brady was sacked five times.

But how many people would say that Tom Brady "choked" in Super Bowl XLII?

So, what I'm essentially saying is something that should be no secret at this point in time.

I'm not saying that Peyton Manning is victimized by the media or that they're out to get him, I'm just pointing out that it has become abundantly clear that what is acceptable for Tom Brady is likely not acceptable for Peyton Manning.

And so long as this double standard is embraced, we will continue to get a more biased presentation of reality.

If it keeps happening, why would I want to point it out?


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