Maybe it’s because it’s so damn cold up there in Boston, and everyone has to find something to be pissed off about, but the rhetoric about Manning varies from such intelligent comments like “Manning sucks!” to, when they’re not getting drunk to stay warm, say, “Well Peyton hasn’t won enough championships.”, or “Peyton doesn’t have the grit that Brady has.”, “He can’t win in inclement weather”, and my personal favorite, “Peyton chokes when it comes to the playoffs.”
Let’s take a look at Manning’s career, and what he has accomplished.
First let’s address the comments above, and then move on from there:
1) Manning doesn’t have the grit that Brady does? If people recall the AFC Championship game against the Patriots, Manning smashed his throwing thumb, almost breaking it, on his second to last drive of the game.
On the next series he drove the Colts down the field on a seven play, 80 yard drive, in 1:17 seconds, which was topped off by a three yard touchdown drive by Joseph Addai.
2) In 2008, Manning missed all of training camp with a busted bursa-sac, which later got infected twice. He still started the season even though he could barely move around.
On top of that there were so many injuries on the offensive line, it was like a turnstile at the supermarket.
The defense was terrible that year and the Colts could not run the ball to save their lives.
Through the first seven games of the season Manning was hit so many times, he was like a piñata at a child’s birthday party. Yet he still managed to get the team to a 3-4 record.
He then went on a nine game winning streak, and the Colts came in second in the division.
Other than Ronnie Lott cutting his finger off, and then going back into the game to play, you’d be hard pressed to find better examples of toughness, grit, or whatever you want to call it.
3. Manning played a masterful game against the Chicago Bears in the pouring rain. Conventional wisdom said that the Bears would have the advantage because they’re an outdoor team. One more time, Manning proved the critics wrong.
4. Winning Playoff games, and Super Bowls is about teams playing well; not just one guy. If you look at the playoff losses that the Colts had, there were always serious deficiencies in the team, mainly the run defense and special teams. When Peyton had a bad game, he didn’t have the luxury of the defense being there to bail him out. It was literally all on his shoulders.
No one would dare say that Dan Marino isn’t one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game. He is in the Hall of Fame, yet he never won a championship. Why? He never had the team around him (except in his rookie year) to help take him to the Super Bowl.
At the end of the day, the Playoffs and the Super Bowl are much more about the team than the quarterback. Unlike in the regular season you are playing the best of the best, and the intensity level is turned up a couple of notches. One guy can’t take the team all the way on his own, no matter how good he is.
Before we go into all of the records Peyton has set, there are a couple of facts that need to be gotten out of the way. In the first 11 seasons that Manning has played for the Colts, he has only had a top ten defense twice over that time period; furthermore, only once did he have a top five defense.
To give you some perspective, that means that only 18.18% of Manning’s career has he played with a top ten defense. Compare that with Tom Brady, who has played with a top ten defense 56% of his career, or Ben Rothlisberger who has played with a top ten defense his whole career.
The second thing is, that since 2002 the Colts have averaged two fewer offensive possessions per game than the league average, which is ten. To make matters worse, from 2005 to 2008 the Colts had the fewest offensive possessions of any team in the NFL.
Keep those facts in mind when looking at what Peyton has done in his career.
Peyton Manning’s Records and Stats:
1) Third all time in career touchdowns, only behind Dan Marino and Brett Farve.
2) Fifth all time in career completions.
3) Fifth all time in career passing yards.
4) Super Bowl MVP.
5) Only second player in NFL history to be a three time league MVP.
6) Nine Pro Bowl selections.
7) Four First-team All-Pro Selections.
8) Three Second-team All-Pro Selections.
9) Holds record for consecutive 4000 yd seasons—six.
10) Holds record for most seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards—nine.
11) Holds record for most games with a perfect passer rating—four.
12) Holds record for highest career touchdowns/game average.
13) Holds record for highest career completions/game average.
14) Holds record for consecutive seasons with 25+ TD passes—eight.
15) Holds the record for the highest passer rating in a complete season: 121.1
16) Since Manning was drafted in 1998 the Colts hold the highest conversion rate on third and fourth down.
17) In 2006 the Colts set an NFL record, converting 56.1% of their 3rd downs.
18) Led the biggest comeback in conference championship game history—18 points—against the New England Patriots.
19) Most consecutive playoff games with 20+ completions (tied with Tom Brady.)
20) Tied with Joe Montana for most 300+ yard passing games in the playoffs—6
21) Tied with Dan Marino for Most 400+ yard passing games in the playoffs—2
22) First quarterback to beat all 31 teams.
23) 37 fourth quarter/overtime comebacks. Mr. Clutch, Tom Brady, has 28, and John Elway has 46.
24) Manning helped the Colts beat the Miami Dolphins while possessing the ball for only 14:53 seconds. That’s the lowest time of possession by a winning team in 30 years.
25) Manning helped the Colts become the first team in NFL history, to win a game with less than four minutes to go, after trailing by 21 points or more, on Monday, October 6th, 2003 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The records and accomplishments go on and on. To catalogue them all is beyond the scope of this piece.
What these accomplishments do, though, is belie claims by Patriots fans that Brady is clearly the better quarterback.
Peyton has proven to be one of the best, pure quarterbacks, to play the game in the past thirty years.
So, Patriots fans, calm down, enjoy your three rings, have a few more drinks, and stop already with the Manning bashing, because the facts don’t match up with your ridiculous criticisms of Manning, and they just make you look, well, ignorant.