Peyton Manning is not the greatest quarterback of all time. That is how I am supposed to start this after he lost the Super Bowl last Sunday, correct? Well, not quite; I could go on and on about Manning's leadership skills, his mechanics and his elite accuracy. I could give you a boatload of statistical performances that will make it sound like a no-brainer for the opposite to be true.
Does Peyton Manning losing that one game, against an amazing Seattle Seahawks team, really eliminate him from the conversation? According to Gregg Doyel from CBSSports.com, it does. Gregg states, "Manning isn't trying to get into the Hall of Fame. He's in. He's not trying to be remembered as one of the greatest ever, because he's on the short list whether he wins this game or not. But Manning has within his grasp the honor of greatest quarterback ever, and to be given that seat among the NFL immortals, he can't have a losing record in the Super Bowl."
Gregg does acknowledge that this is not the way it should be, but rather the way that it is. Does he throw the ball worse with fewer rings on his fingers? He is still in the discussion, which is clear because we are talking about it.
But then, without question, the comment will come, of how insanely idiotic I am for writing this. How there is NO WAY Peyton Manning is better than Tom Brady. That argument will consist of Brady's three Super Bowl wins, the lack of receiver weapons he has had over the years and the amount of winning seasons Tom Brady has had. Tom Brady has played in a championship game in more than half of the seasons he has played. So how could anyone be better than him?
But then, without question, the comment will come, of how insanely idiotic my first critic and I are for thinking that Tom Brady or Peyton Manning could possibly be the best quarterback of all time, and how Joe Montana is the greatest for his combination of stats, and the fact that he has never lost in a Super Bowl.
Or maybe you will even get a Dolphin fan to bring up some crazy Dan Marino statistics and say that because it is a team sport, championships only reflect upon a total team, not a single player, so Marino was the best ever.
Not a single one of us will be right or wrong, simply making a case. They all sound pretty good too, do they not? Fact is, you can go back to any sport and there is no greatest. There are people who will call someone the greatest, but someone out there will have a case against you, and their case will have logic to it.
Muhammad Ali is the greatest boxer ever because of how long he could withstand punches and his footwork. Mike Tyson was the greatest boxer ever because, in his prime, he could knock out any fighter in the world with one left hook. Ray Robinson is the greatest boxer ever because, according to Box Rec, he only lost once in his first 123 professional fights and fought 200 times.
Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time because of his jump shot, and the way he shows up in the biggest moments. LeBron James is the greatest basketball player of all time because, based on his age, he is on pace to surpass most of Michael Jordan's numbers. Bill Russell is the greatest basketball player of all time because he has the most championships and was the leading force of one of the most dominant teams in NBA history.
The only player I thought was ever a clear greatest ever was Jerry Rice, but Sports Illustrated lead writer Peter King flushed that dream of mine down the toilet when he named Don Hudson the greatest receiver. After that, I had to realize there is no right or wrong; there are merely personal opinions, debates, and the hope that we can sway others into the same opinion.
This is not a plea for you to stop debating. In fact, I encourage it. This is simply a request that we all respect the fact that there are other logical opinions out there. If a player is considered ONE of the best, then there is someone out there who thinks that he IS the best. That player and his fans deserve to have their arguments heard just as much as yours.
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