Tom, you are so much more attractive than me!
On Sunday, the New England Patriots will square off against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium. As we all know, this can only mean one thing: Brady vs. Manning 2010!
It has become the most cherished and expected of annual traditions. It makes me feel all warm and toasty inside, like Christmas, only without ham. Whenever the Colts come to town or the Pats head to Indy, I can always count on every sports commentator, newscaster, ice cream dispenser and homeless person living within a thousand mile radius to drone endlessly on about whoever they think is the better quarterback.
It will be uninteresting and near constant, and we will all watch every minute of it because we are sheep that need constant distraction from our pointless, boring lives.
The arguments never change; there is never any more fact to add to the discussion. Both players put up consistent and staggering numbers year after year, and each year it seems they both topple more records and continue to add to their case for the Hall of Fame.
Neither makes a strong statement that one is better than the other, and there is never anything more to contribute to the ongoing debate besides useless personal conjecture. Any attempt to do so would be foolhardy, moronic and an absolute waste of the time of everyone who dares to pay any heed to the blathering.
But I'm going to do it anyway, because that's who I am!
And so, let us begin with...
A duck, a priest and a fireman walk into a bar...
We all know that they are both top-quality quarterbacks destined for a spot amongst the all-time greats to have ever played the game. But if they can't give us a chuckle then it has to be asked: what was the point of all that effort? Why spend so much time trying to score touchdowns and win games if you are boring and uninteresting and would be unwelcome at wild parties?
I have to give this category to Manning. Ever since that first MasterCard commercial where he was giving regular idiots like you and me high-fives for going to work and making cappuccino and not deliberately crashing into fellow motorists, I knew I would be laughing at this man for a long time to come. And he has not disappointed. Consistently he has produced work that has induced what scientists call "laughter" via a number of highly effective and well-known comedic techniques.
For your viewing pleasure, I offer Exhibit A.
Brady, it seems, hasn't really made much of an effort to win in this category, a rare blemish on an otherwise stellar career. He did make one rather valiant attempt at the expense of the Jets (something I am always in favor of), and I offer it to you as Exhibit B. But in comparison to the impressive performances put together by the preeminent football funny-man on the other side of this debate, this just seems sad.
There is still time for Brady to make a stand, but thus far he has not proven himself.
What is the square root of 275.7? 16.604!
This is destined to be a rather touchy subject, and I promise to broach it with all the tact and consideration that you would expect from someone such as me. I won't be rude or inconsiderate or make wild, unfounded statements that make no sense and have no bearing on the issue at hand; I will be forthright and fastidious in my decision and explanation.
Brady is smarter.
I base this conclusion on two facts:
1) Brady went to a better college: Michigan University was ranked 29th in the US by whoever does national university rankings (I suspect witches), whereas University of Tennessee was ranked 52nd. That is a difference of almost 30 points, a fact I would be more than willing to confirm via a calculator should anyone really want me to, although I would ask that you direct such requests to me by smoke signal.
2) Brady married a supermodel: I'm not saying anything negative about Manning's wife, who Wikipedia has lovingly declared to be named "Ashley." I'm only saying that, however beautiful and magnificent and special as "Ashley" may be, she is not Gisele Bundchen. For the sake of common decency, I will not post comparative pictures (I couldn't find any pictures of "Ashley"), but I think we can all agree that any man capable of marrying a millionaire supermodel after already knocking up a millionaire actress has probably got a decent vocabulary and a brain to go with it.
It's not your fault that God hates you, man.
I would like everyone to realize that I have never personally met either Manning or Brady. Therefore, I can only conclude that they are both wonderful people who would happily take me out to a fancy dinner and buy me an Aston Martin in an effort to show their deep appreciation for all that I do, yet remind me that they are both more wealthy than I could ever hope to be—even if I manage to live a thousand years.
That being said, I fear that I must conclude that, given all the evidence available to me and the various scientific and peer-reviewed studies that I have perused, Manning is quite clearly taller than Brady.
This is by no means meant to be disparaging to Brady or his family, as he is not exactly a tiny person.
According to a very reliable source that I will not name, Brady can even occasionally reach upwards of 6' 4" tall, especially on Thursday when the sun is shining. But Manning, through a blood pact with the devil, has extended himself a full inch taller and I fear there is nothing Brady can do about that.
Just look at the chin!
I think we can all agree that Manning is not an ugly man. If he were not a married millionaire professional football player with billions of adoring fans and a sea of lucrative endorsement deals, I am sure he would still be able to make a little noise at the singles bars.
But let's be honest; Brady is just stunning. If Brady were not a married millionaire professional football player with billions of adoring fans and a sea of lucrative endorsement deals, he would instead likely be a married millionaire professional male model with billions of adoring fans and a sea of lucrative endorsement deals.
Only a man as gorgeous as Brady can be capable of wearing his hair like a tiny boy singer known primarily for being confused with a teenage girl and still look like a Greek god. I imagine him standing proud and magnificent atop a majestic mountain of mirth and merriment, staff in one hand, football in the other, a brilliant smile the only forward display of affection, effectively hiding an inward turmoil marked by passion, drive and an insatiable desire to throw touchdown passes and melt the hearts of women everywhere.
No man dare besmirch the man of brilliant radiance, lest he be torn down and trampled by the throbbing, pulsating mass of adoring, worshiping followers that alight his seething throne of triumph!
Okay, maybe I got a little carried away there, but he is most definitely a sexy nugget of pure man. How else can you explain his wife?
It's not as if she needed his money; I think she may actually be more wealthy than he. She clearly loves him purely for his dimpled cheeks and strong jaw, as we all do. She can claim that he is a wonderful man and father and that she loves him for his kindness and strength of character, but we all know she is lying. It's all about the face.
You shut your dirty little mouth!
To round out this little competition, we will spend a few moments talking about their actual play. This is where the challenge becomes more difficult to judge. The previous categories had a clear winner and it seems a simple matter of addition to determine the victor. But, all that breaks down when you consider the talent each has for the playing of football.
On the one hand, you have Peyton Manning, a man so awesome that he seems to win games even when he loses. He's been to the Pro Bowl 10 times, which is 10 more times than me, and he has won the NFL MVP award four times. He holds so many records that they won't all display in a single window when looking at them in list format on Wikipedia, which is the accepted scientific method for gauging talent. He has the largest all-time career differential between touchdowns and interceptions, and has the highest career passing yards per game average, at 783.
I won't even mention is propensity for effective and timely crying, which is unmatched.
On the other hand, you have Tom Brady, a man who also has more records than can be displayed in a single window and has won three Super Bowls. And let us not forget 2007, a season in which Brady smashed just about every record of significance, including total touchdowns, completion percentage, touchdowns in a month, SportsCenter highlight appearances, and babies out of wedlock. He is also the fastest player to reach 100 wins as a starter (131 starts) and went 162 completions to start his professional career without throwing a single interception.
I think when you weigh all the facts, you have to determine that Peyton has had a slightly better career thus far, especially when you consider all the available "stats." But you have to punish him slightly for refusing to really try and match the Patriots 16-0 regular season record in 2009 and being a full year older than Tom, a truly devious offense. When you deduct all the necessary points, I am forced to call this category a tie and award neither any points.
What? Are you crazy?
When you tally up all the categories, weighting each for importance, you arrive at the inevitable conclusion. The winner is so obvious, so straightforward, so undeniable, that I don't really even want to mention him.
I don't even want to say his name. I fear it, much the same way crazy people fear the moon. They imagine that if they do not follow exact tradition of each day prior, the moon may get angry and crash into the Earth, killing millions and ruining the ecosystem for millions of years, possibly forever, and it will all be their fault for not remembering to take the steps two at a time!
How can one live with ones self for causing such disaster? Is it really worth it?
These are the kinds of philosophical questions that one must consider when putting together such a monumental piece is literary perfection. This debate, which has been raging amongst sports analysts for many decades, beginning long before either man was even born, is of such dire importance that no one has been willing to talk about anything else whenever the two meet.
It is like a nervous tick, a twitch, an involuntary spasm brought on by banging your hip into the side of the kitchen table chair because your kid can't remember to push the chair in before leaving the table and you just may have to break out the belt and teach that young man a lesson!
You may think that I am stalling, and you may be correct. But let me ask you this: Is it really worth the risk not to stall? Is it? Do I want this on my conscious, tearing at the very fabric of my soul for the rest of my miserable existence?
Okay, fine: Brady is the winner.
But it is very important to remember that I, a man who holds himself to the highest standard of honesty and fairness, was in no way biased in coming to that conclusion. It doesn't matter that Brady did not, technically, win more categories than Manning, or that Manning has a more impressive career stat line, or that Manning would win in other categories, such as "Most Commercials," "Playing on Teams Named After Animals," and "Playing in Domed Stadiums When at Home."
The simple fact of the matter is, when the math is calculated and confirmed, Brady comes out on top.
Don't blame me; blame science.
Now it's time to wait until Sunday and see which analysts agree with me, and which ones are wrong. I am holding out hope that at least one will engage in direct physical violence with another in direct relation to the use of a key graphic involving charts.
Ready your nachos: It's Brady vs. Manning 2010!