Over the past few years, every time some sports analyst or columnist, or sports show, starts debating on who is a better quarterback between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, I am sickened to see that almost every time Brady is picked, mostly because of the fact that he has 3 more Super Bowl appearances than Manning, including of course 2 more Super Bowl rings than Manning.
And now that a re-match between the Colts and Patriots is coming, I see the issue surfacing again. However, there shouldn't even be such a controversy, because clearly Peyton Manning is the better QB, which in turn, makes him the best quarterback in the NFL, and for that matter, in the world. I will now state my case.
Although, first I need to have a say about the validity of such debate. Personally I would have never started such a futile discussion. Nonetheless, I just can't bear to see people elevate Brady over Manning. And there is a strong reason for that.
Imagine that Peyton Manning or Tom Brady are transferred to your favourite team, whatever team that is, who would you prefer having? Granted both are an upgrade at QB. Whether your team is an elite contender (outside of course the Colts or Patriots), a strong competitor, a play-off hopeful, a middle-packer or an aberration, who would you prefer to have on your team? Manning or Brady?
I cannot help but drool to think what having Manning would mean for my team. I am an Oakland Raiders fan. And I think that having Manning instead of Russell would make the Raiders and immediate contender, because Manning makes all the team around him so much better.
However, I cannot say the same if we would get Brady. I can picture a Randy Moss-like or a Matt Cassel-like thing happening. Manning commands respect. Brady is a diva. Players and coaches alike would instantly look up to Manning and feel compelled and obliged to perform to his level, but would be more in a "wait-and-see" mode with Brady.
Manning is a true Field General, and I mean it thinking about the real forgers of the term, the likes of Alexander the Great and Napoleon. Brady is an Achilles (meaning a great warrior). No matter what team Manning could go, be it the Saints, Steelers, Eagles, Cardinals, Dolphins, Ravens, Texans, Redskins, Rams, Lions or Chiefs (and etc., etc.) Manning would make THAT team so much better. Whereas, if you think about Brady, you have to stop and think where he would actually function and where he would not. The difference is, where Manning goes, the coaches and players would listen and follow. Where Brady goes... his success would depend on the system and, more than in the case of Manning, in the supporting cast, coach and philosophy. Manning IS the system and philosophy in flesh.
Yes, Brady is a great quarterback, a great player. But, he is just that, a magnificent piece of machinery, which wherever he goes, would be an upgrade at the position as a better quality piece of machinery. But still to have better results it would need equally good pieces around him. Manning does, too. As any other quarterback. The difference is Manning makes the pieces around him better and upgrades not just the position but the whole machine.
The final argument is this: think about if the Colts and Patriots switched quarterbacks. Manning to the Patriots, Brady to the Colts. What record would the Colts have right now? What record would the Patriots have right now?
Yes, the Patriots would be 8-0 and the Colts may have lost more than 2. Manning would be an upgrade and would better the Patriots; on the other hand, Brady would be a downgrade and would lessen the Colts.
Brady is a system player, much like what the Denver Broncos used to do with running backs (sure not all of them where true elite backs, i.e. Terrell Davis, but they got pretty much the same results from a big bunch of other guys), the Patriots are so sure they can do the same at quarterback they don't even have a veteran backup, as they did last year (see Matt Cassel), and we know how that turned out. And you just can't see the Colts having the same success with Sorgi if Manning went down as the Patriots did last year with Cassel.
Manning is the system and the brain and the motor. Thus, Peyton Manning is the better quarterback. The best.