Being mainly a Motorsports fan, I can tell you that the biggest arguments in the sport are always "if X in 1958 and Y in 2004 were in the same car, who would have won?". In consummate team sports, the biggest argument usually is "Who was the best team of all time?"
The best player, however, is difficult to judge, as there are so many positions with wildly varying responsibilities. But once in a while, a rivalry amongst players in the same era comes along, such as Staubach and Bradshaw, or Bird and Magic. The biggest in this category for the past decade is Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
The Manning camp will argue that Peyton completely crushes Brady in all aspects of statistics. This is true. Except the Brady camp can argue that Tom crushes Manning in the only statistic that counts—winning. One must remember that the task of a quarterback is to lead his team to a win. It is not to accumulate amazing statistics for the record books. It is a position which has a job description of motivating the team at hand and putting a "W" in the box at all costs. We will now look at who does this best.
Note: I am a long-time 49ers fan who just loves statistics, so I'm trying to write this as objectively as possible. Manning to me is too cocky, and Brady has done things in his life that I sincerely hope neither I nor anyone in my family would ever do. I have no allegiance.
There are four aspects that I feel must be thought of throughout this article.
- For Manning:
#1 Team: Brady has had a better team overall.
- For Brady:
#2 Receivers: Brady has thrown to many more receivers over the decade than Manning, who has been throwing to Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison over the time frame. This shows much more versatility for Brady.
#3 Pointless Wins: although Manning has 7 Seasons in a row with 12 wins or more (a record), he is only 9-6 in the playoffs in those 7 seasons, with just 1 Super Bowl, and 2 NFC Championships.
#4 Should Have, Could Have, Would Haves: although Manning could have had maybe three Super Bowls, Brady could have won 2006, 2007, and even 2005. Making five or maybe six Super Bowls.