Peyton Manning: The Best Ever? Not Even Close

Kristian DavisContributor IJanuary 21, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 16:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts looks on against the Baltimore Ravens during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Lucas Oli Stadium on January 16, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images


Can we stop with this Peyton Manning love fest already?

Yes, he is a good QB, and one of the best playing.

Yes, maybe he will end up as one the greats when his career is finally finished, but airwave after airwave is stating how this guy is the best quarterback to ever play. I even heard one former Super Bowl winning coach say, "He may be the greatest football player to ever play."

What a joke. If you want the greatest football player of all time, think of this: Brett Favre is like having Hank Aaron or Babe Ruth combined with Cal Ripken. He has every passing record there is, but his most impressive stat is his consecutive game streak.

It's not even close, especially considering it's at arguably the most vulnerable position for injury in football.

So please...stop already!

Sure, Manning plays in an offensive era, in a prolific offensive scheme, and he accumulates huge passing statistics, mainly because his team has never had a running back of any significance. So who is to say the stats he is putting up are even worthwhile (e.g., Dan Marino)?

The best to ever play?

Not even close, as it can easily be argued he's only the fifth best playing right now, which the "stats" will show later. Furthermore, before he is preserved in bronze by some, he still has a way to go, and to stay healthy and such.

As with any stats, we can spin these to justify almost any argument, since there is no set standard of what stats really matter most. With Peyton Manning, everything he has built up are regular season stats, which is ultimately fodder anyway. His playoff stats are not that great.

So, what are the most significant stats to rate players? Perhaps it's something common to all.

If you listen to interview after interview with players, especially the higher profile quarterbacks and running backs, they state to a man, "I don't care about the stats, as long as we win."

I've never heard a player say, "I'd rather lead the league in passing than get to the playoffs." So, this should tell us what the important stats are, or stats attached to goals.

From following football for over 40 years, the ultimate goals of teams and players each year is:

1. Get in the playoffs.

2. Get to the Super bowl.

3. Win the Super Bowl.

So, based on the most important stats, even current day, Manning is arguably only the fifth best playing QB, tied with brother Eli. Even for this decade, he can only be tied with the other one hit wonders, like brother Eli, Brad Johnson, and Trent Dilfer.

Here are the important stats:

Tom Brady - SB (3-1) / CG (4-1)

Ben Roethlisberger - SB (2-0) / CG (2-0)

Kurt Warner - SB(1-2) / CG (3-0)

Brett Favre - SB (1-1) / CG (2-3)

Peyton Manning - SB (1-0) / CG (2-1)

Eli Manning - SB(1-0) / CG (1-0)

Donovan McNabb gets special note - SB (0-1) / CG (1-4)

*Super Bowls (SB), Championship Games (CG)


So the next argument is, "He handles the offense, and calls his own plays."

Really? Does he still have a speaker in his helmet? Are you telling me his offensive coordinator is not prompting him or suggesting plays?

Don't think so!

Besides, a great QB (Joe Montana) recently spoke to this specifically, and coincidentally to the struggles of Jay Cutler, in stating that, "A quarterback has to know when a play will work, or when it won't. He also has to have the guts to change it, and even tell the O-coordinator he is wrong."

So how does he stack up historically? Let's only go back to what is considered modern football. Let's start with truly the best QB to ever play, as he did call his own plays, and is the only QB to win three consecutive championships, as well as two Super Bowls, and maybe even had the best name ever, Bart Starr.

Here are his, and other true greats' "Most Important Stats":

Bart Starr - SB (3-1) / CG (5-1)

Terry Bradshaw - SB (4-0) / CG (4-2)

Joe Montana - SB(4-0) / CG (4-3)

John Elway - SB (2-3) / CG (5-1)

Roger Staubach - SB (2-3) / CG (5-2)

Bob Griese - SB (2-1) / CG (3-0)


Let's add the current QBs:

Tom Brady - SB (3-1) / CG (4-1)

Ben Roethlisberger - SB (2-0) / CG (2-0)

Kurt Warner - SB(1-2) / CG (3-0)

Brett Favre - SB (1-1) / CG (1223

Joe Theismann - SB (1-1) / CG (2-0)

Jim Kelly gets special note here - SB (0-4) / CG (4-1) (only QB to go to 4 consecutive SB's)


So, based on players, coaches, and even owners' "Most Important" stats, one can easily state that that Peyton Manning is at best, the 12th best quarterback ever.

I've heard that if he wins his second Super Bowl, and plays in his third championship game, he'll be considered the best ever because of what "he means to his team."

You've got to be kidding (I can't stop laughing).

Does he mean any more to his team than Favre does to Minnesota?

What happens if Favre wins another Super Bowl, or even two more?

Yes, he has more time playing, and yes, he can elevate himself through these ranks, but that has yet to happen. So, for now, let's stop!