As I sat there on Sunday afternoon, and watched the Denver Broncos fight their way back into their game against the Indianapolis Colts, I couldn't help but doubt and blame Peyton Manning for the Broncos being able to get to that position.
Now this isn't the first time I've doubted Peyton Manning, one of the most memorable for me was when the Colts were playing the Patriots for the AFC Championship, the Colts were down 21-6 I believe, then Manning did something truly amazing: Rallied the Colts back to win the game.
Peyton had some mistakes in this game, as seen by the 3 INTS in the stat sheet (two of which were not his fault). But he also played some brilliant football, even though the stat sheet doesn't reflect too much of this (20-42, 220 yards, 4 TD's, 3 INT's), but he made the most important throws of the game.
There were some odd stretches in this game, including Manning going 6-22 in a two quarter stretch, and three records being broken this game.
Up 21-16, Denver had just scored but failed on the 2 point conversion. It looked like the Broncos were gonna stop Manning again and have an opportunity to win the game.
Then Peyton made magic happen.
Peyton Manning drove the Colts up on one final time consuming drive, one where we saw the normal Peyton Manning and his brilliance. The Colts made it 1st and Goal with roughly around three minutes left to play, the Broncos stuffed the run 2 straight times, and used their time-outs, then Peyton and the Offensive coordinator called for a play-action play, and a little 1 yard pass to Dallas Clark proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Broncos.
What we saw there was classic Peyton Manning, the Peyton Manning that will be in the Hall of Fame. The one that helped the Colts win the Superbowl.
We may never see this kind of brilliance again, the kind that when the Colts don't come away with a touchdown, you're surprised. Peyton Manning may just be the smartest quarterback to ever play the game.
He reads defences perfectly, often times calling just the right audible in the situation, that usually leads to a big gain.
While often called a "choker" he has won the big game, and has taken his Colts deep into the playoffs numerous times.
Lets do a small comparison with Brett Favre: Brett is/was much more interception prone than Manning (although this year is an exception) Favre is the holder of the career record for yards (over 68,000), Touchdowns thrown (closing in on 500), Interceptions (closing in on 320), 61% completion and an 86.1 QB Rating. Peyton Manning is currently 4th for yards (over 49,000), 3rd for Touchdowns (362), he has only 179 picks, completes over 64% of his passes, and is 2nd in passer rating (95.1).
Brett Favre is always considered one of the game's top quarterbacks of all time, but Peyton Manning bests him in almost ever meaningful category, except yards and TD's, but that's because Manning doesn't have nearly 20 years playing the game.
When Peyton's time comes, I firmly believe that he will have shattered all of these records except interceptions.
Tom Brady is a great QB, but he's no Peyton Manning. Brady has: over 30,000 yards passing, over 220 TD's, a shade under 100 INTS, 63.3% completions, and a rating of 93.2. His rating is the most impressive stat here, since it's the 3rd highest in the history of the league. Manning beats him out in all of these stats except INTS.
Now I know that Brady has more rings than Manning, but this is because Brady's teams were much better on the defensive end than Manning's were. Especially with Bill Belichick calling the defensive plays.
Best quarterback of all time is questionable, because there were so many greats like Montana, Young, Marino, Aikman etc. But by the time it's all said and done, he could be better than all of them.
Only time will tell.