In His Defense: Peyton Manning Is Still Better Than Ben Roethlisberger

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In His Defense: Peyton Manning Is Still Better Than Ben Roethlisberger
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Author's Note: B/R's own Spencer Tucksen wrote an article that proclaimed Ben Roethlisberger (as did Nick Signorelli) as a better NFL quarterback" target="_blank">NFL quarterback than Peyton Manning. They're both wrong.

Spencer Tucksen (who I respect, but merely wanted to engage in an article battle with) has written a piece that has ignited a flame in my dormant argue furnace.

His argument is that Ben Roethlisberger is a better quarterback than Peyton Manning, and mine is that, well, that's just the biggest joke in the world.

The following is an exact breakdown of Tucksen's article (which was good, so click here to read it) and counters his arguments based on the category:

1. Stats

You can't even begin to bring stats onto the table. Using Manning's success and longevity (as well as simply playing more games) just isn't fair.

Roethlisberger (if he stays healthy) will one day play that many games, and then in the numbers category, you can open up the argument again.

But really, stats are out the door. Manning is winning (by a landslide) right now and only has Brett Favre as serious competition (who is trailing by a lot).

Manning ultimately ends with the win, but it simply can't be argued right now. It's much too early. However, if we have to give someone a win, you know who it's got to be.

Manning, 1-0.



2. Regular Seasons Wins:

Spencer has Big Ben "winning" this bullet point by .7.

That's not a win.

And considering Manning has had several years more than Ben, filled with opportunities to lose, he actually has the leg up.

The more games you play, the more you're bound to lose.

You also might take into consideration that Manning leads his team so well, that he routinely "rests" at the end of the season and watches from the bench as his team loses 2-3 games to end each season.

Take this season for example, as the 14-0 Colts were beating the Jets and Manning and his offense got yanked to preserve their health.

That wasn't Manning's call, and those two losses to end the season weren't on him.

Needless to say, this is the second argument in a row that you either have to give to Manning, or it's simply a tie.

But I know a fantastic way to get someone a win here. Head-to-head competition between the two future Hall-of-Famers:

In the 2005-06 season, when Big Ben won his first Super Bowl, the Steelers got beat pretty cleanly, 26-7, in the regular season. However, the Steelers did get past the Colts in the Divisional round (although Manning arguably played better).

At that point, it was 1-1.

In 2008, the second time the Steelers won the Super Bowl under Roethlisberger, Manning and the Colts once again had his number, beating the Steelers 24-20 in the regular season (2-1, Manning).

I'll give Big Ben major props for steering the driving wheel against Manning in the playoffs, but with a 2-1 advantage and everything else considered, Manning extends his lead in this argument:

Manning, 2-0.


3. Post-Season

I'll give Tucksen this one, putting the record at either 2-1 in Manning's favor.

Manning has a Super Bowl win and loss, but other than those two Super Bowl berths, he's struggled mightily throughout his career in the playoffs.

Big Ben has had the luxury of being backed by excellent defenses and coaching (as has Manning, really), but there is absolutely no knocking his awesome 8-2 record, including flawless Super Bowl record (well, we'll get to that ).

However, here's a thought:

We all thought Tom Brady was as invincible as Tucksen appears to possibly consider Ben Roethlisberger, and look what happened.

Not only did Tom "Terrific" get his knee smashed up in the 2008 season, but he's lost his last two playoff games (one being a Super Bowl). This recent drop-off from Super Bowl hero to a "first-round exit passer" has many thinking if he's lost his touch.

The point is, every quarterback reaches highs as well as lows. Big Ben is 8-2 in the playoffs, but there are really only two paths that are possible in his career.

Either he kicks ass the rest of the way, wins 2-3 more Super Bowls, while making everyone forget who Terry Bradshaw was, or he is just an average quarterback who struggles like everyone else.

It happened to Brett Favre, Dan Marino, and Joe Montana.

The fact is, the NFL is way too competitive to have consistent dynasties. I mean, if that weren't true, why didn't the Patriots beat the Giants? Why didn't the Colts get past the Saints?

And why weren't the Steelers playing for their seventh ring this year?

Manning still narrowly leading, 2-1.

 

4. Comebacks

Tucksen gave a rough estimate on Manning's and Roethlisberger's comeback wins, and then concluded that if Big Ben plays long enough, there's a good chance he can catch him.

I doubt it.

Hey, I Googled it, too, and it's a hard stat to find. Reason being because it's actually very difficult to define. Some people don't consider leading a drive for a winning field goal as a comeback, etc, etc...

Regardless, Manning has more comebacks (while also playing longer), but after seeing his countless comeback drives in 2009 alone, it's extremely difficult to pose an argument against him.

Manning is a lot like Brett Favre in this respect; they are probably the two most clutch performers in the league during the regular season, but come playoff time, they just appear run out of gas, or as I like to put it, "magic".

While there is no doubting Roehtlisberger's clutch ability, there's little doubt that Manning would be the first selection of most people out there when they need a guy to run their two-minute drill. If you don't think so, refer to the poll.

Manning still ahead, 3-1.

 

5. Super Bowl

Mr. Tucksen said that Manning is 1-1 in Super Bowls, and Big Ben is 2-0 in Super Bowls, wrapping up the discussion and saying that these records clearly show that Roethlisberger is the better quarterback.

Well, not so fast.

True, Roethlisberger has one more win on his resume on the biggest stage and doesn't have a flawed record like Manning, but it is not so cut and dry. It just isn't.

Before I even defend that, here's a thought.

Trent Dilfer is 1-0 in the Super Bowl. So is Doug Williams. Jim Plunkett is 2-0. Troy Aikman is 3-0. Brad Johnson is 1-0.

The list goes on and on. Are any or all of these guys better than Peyton Manning? No, of course not.

A record in the Super Bowl doesn't define a player. Jim Kelly went to four Super Bowls and emerged with zero wins. He's still arguably one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game.

But back to the point at hand: Super Bowl performances and records.

Big Ben "owns" Manning with one extra win and no losses. But does he really ?

His most recent Super Bowl win over the Arizona Cardinals was amazing. He was clutch, had good numbers, and threw the game-winning pass. Kudos (ten fold) to Big Ben for that .

But what about that game he played against the Seattle Seahawks in his first Super Bowl?

I don't need to go into details, but to sum it up, that sorry performance found it's way in B/R's own Bryn Schwartz's piece on the worst performances by a quarterback in the Super Bowl .

Manning was decent in his only win, and until he threw that disaster pick-six, he was playing very well overall for Indy.

In a true and honest comparison, I think Roethlisberger benefited from great coaching and a abusive defense in both games, but only truly showed he was a champion in his second Super Bowl.

Roethlisberger may never have a blemish on his Super Bowl record (then again, it's to early to tell), but either way, that first Super Bowl was controversial, and he didn't play like an elite (or good) quarterback in it.

Any and all Steelers or Ben Roethlisberger fans can hate me for this, but there is no way Big Ben gets a flat-out win here. Not when you truly take everything into consideration.

After all, this argument isn't about the better franchise or which team is currently better.

It's about which of these quarterbacks is better, and that's easily Manning. And on top of that, he's played better in both of his Super Bowls, overall, than Roethlisberger has.

But since Roethlisberger has the better record, this specific argument (on the Super Bowl, alone) ends in a tie.

Manning finishes the five-category gauntlet with a 3-1-1 record.

I Got Nothing to Say to Google, Except, "I Love You"

 

Conclusion

Mr. Tucksen, you wrote a good, solid piece, but it's filled with homerism to the 10th degree.

I respect Ben Roethlisberger and love his game. I truly feel he'll be one of the best of all-time, and fully accept an argument that he already is.

But he's not better than Peyton Manning. Not now, not ever.

 

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