Manning and Brady
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.
Game winning drives are always cited as an aspect of football that truly shows off the great quarterbacks. The factor that's forgotten is that in many ways, the best quarterbacks don't need to have a game winning drive. This is very common in racing as well. Although I am an Ayrton Senna fan, too many people say that Senna was far better than Michael Schumacher because Senna always drove through the field to win, where Schumacher never did. He would start on Pole (1st position) and win the race easily. The fact of the matter is that Schumacher didn't need to go through the field to win. He was just that much faster than everyone else, and would have dominating wins rather than exciting ones. I could go into how good the cars were for the respective drivers, but that is for another time, and you get the point.
Although, the same problem, exists here.
Brady: 30 Game winning drives in 118 Wins
Manning: 45 Game winning drives in 146 Wins
This means that 1/4th of Brady's wins, and almost 1/3rd of Manning's, included a comeback. This means Manning needs to compile a comeback almost 1/3rd of the time. Brady only has 35 losses* and has a win percentage of 77%, as opposed to Manning, who is at 67%. If they were closer in that statistic of win percentage, you could argue that Manning wins the game-winning drive stat. But not with those numbers. Brady simply doesn't need to compile a game-winning drive as much, but if he has to, he can.
*The first game of 2008, where Brady started but went out with his year ending injury in the first quarter, was not counted for obvious reasons.
Regular Season: Patriots Lead Colts 6-4
Post-Season: Patriots Lead Colts 2-1
Brady: 2.35 Touchdowns Per Interception
Manning: 2.06 Touchdowns Per Interception
Brady: In 8 Seasons, Brady has taken the Patriots to 5 Conference Championship Games (63%), and Won 4 of them (50%).
Manning: In 12 Seasons, Manning has taken the Colts to 4 Conference Championship Game (33%), and Won 2 of them (17%).
Brady: Won 3, Lost 1
Manning: Won 1, Lost 1
Brady: 118 - 35 / 77%
Manning: 146 - 73 / 67%
Brady: 14-4 in the Playoffs
Manning: 9-9 in the Playoffs
Snow Bowl. In Overtime.
Brady: 8-1, Also 1-0 in the Playoffs.
Manning: 3-4, Also 0-2 in the Playoffs.
Note: The first seven of those eight overtime wins came in Brady's first three seasons. Talk about the start of your career. Wow.
This page is for those who have said that the reason Manning does not have the playoff and Super Bowl statistics/win percentage that Brady has, is because of the team, and not Manning. This page will show you that Manning has played a major role in these important losses. His stats during these important games is anywhere from bad to atrocious.
1999 – Colts Record: 13-3
Playoff Game: Team had its third lowest output of the season, while Manning completed only 19 of 43 passes for 227 yards and 0 TD's. His 60.9 passer rating was his lowest of the season. Colts Lose - 19-16.
2000 – Colts Record: 10-6
Playoff Game: Manning went 17 for 32, and had just 194 yards with 1 TD. The Colts put up 10 points fewer than their regular season average, and it was their second lowest scoring output of the season. Colts Lose - 23-17, in Overtime.
2002 – Colts Record: 10-6
Playoff Games: Got through the 9-7 Jets. Manning then played the single worst statistical game of his entire career, going 14 for 31, with 137 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs and a career-low 31.2 passer rating. Colts Lose - 41-0.
2003 – Colts Record: 12-4
Playoff Games: Got through Denver and Kansas City. Then at the Conference Championship, Manning threw 4 interceptions and posted the third lowest passer rating of his entire career at 35.5. Colts Lose - 24-14.
2004 – Colts Record: 12-4
Playoff Games: They can't lose here. Manning entered the playoffs with an unstoppable offensive unit that posted the fifth most points in NFL history. Manning set the record for the most touchdown passes in a season with 49, while shattering the single-season passer rating record with a mark of 121.1. The Colts defeated Denver easily. But when the Colts came to New England, the team with the historical quarterback and offense statistics put up one field goal. One field goal. Amazingly, it was their lowest offensive output since the 2002 playoff loss to the Jets, when as just mentioned, they lost 41-0, under Manning. Furthermore again, Manning played his worst game of the season in the playoffs, completing 27 of 42 for 238 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT, for a passer rating of 69.3, the lowest of the year. Colts Lose - 20-3.
2005 – Colts Record: 14-2
Playoff Game: After going 13-0 to start the season, the Colts lost to the #6-seed Steelers in the first game of the playoffs, after scoring just 3 points in the first three quarters. Manning tried to mount a comeback in the 4th quarter, but it was too late. Colts Lose - 21-18.
And Of Course 2009 - Colts Record: 14-2
Super Bowl: See attached YouTube video for the ultimate in chokes. This was almost solely Manning's fault, on a drive that would have been a game winning sensation, and would have been a phenomenal argument for Colts/Manning fans had he marched down the field and scored a touchdown.
Brady's First 4 Seasons:
48-16 in the Regular Season
Won all 7 Overtime games he played
Got into the Playoffs 3 times
Went 9-0 in the Playoffs, and Won 3 Super Bowls.
Manning's First 4 Seasons:
32-32 in the Regular Season
Got into the Playoffs 2 times, but lost both games.
That is just astounding. Tom Brady had quite possibly the greatest beginning to a career in sports history.