Defending Peyton Manning from Idiotic Super Bowl Expectations

Ryan MichaelSenior Writer IIIDecember 23, 2013

In 47 years of history, zero quarterbacks have won a Super Bowl with a defense the caliber of the 2013 Broncos.
In 47 years of history, zero quarterbacks have won a Super Bowl with a defense the caliber of the 2013 Broncos.Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

After breaking Tom Brady's single-season touchdown pass record, it can be argued that Peyton Manning is currently having the greatest season of any player, at any position, in NFL history. 

People scream homerism when us select few come out of the woodwork to point out the obvious. Never in the 94 year history of the NFL has a player played the quarterback position at this level. Much less at the age of 37, much less after four neck surgeries, much less with nerve damage, much less on heavily taped, braced up ankles, much less with Manning's kind of supporting cast.

The befuddled will push the notion that Manning has such great weapons to throw to—ironically using a strong point in favor of his greatness against him. Ignore the reality that Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas had never been remarkably productive in their entire careers before catching passes from No. 18.

How could the masses so foolishly overlook the obvious?

Bias, of course. Though they often attempt to accuse the sane of the same in their never-ending effort to tear Manning down. See, the 2013 (soon to be) league MVP has crafted a resume that stands in direct opposition to what the mass media has taught you to believe. Don't think that doesn't bother a lot of people.

The greatest quarterbacks are thought to win championships.

Conveniently ignore names the likes of Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer, Mark Rypien, Jeff Hostetler and Jim McMahon.

Rings are said to reflect greatness—unless of course, the obvious disproves the most commonly used, fundamentally flawed argument.

So they call an audible and adjust the "greatness criteria." Now, you need to win multiple championships.

Conveniently ignore the current Prince of New York and Jim Plunkett. I guess lightening can strike twice. Only a tree that falls in the woods doesn't make a sound, if we collectively choose not to be within earshot. They laud Joe Montana (four rings) and Tom Brady (three rings), while Terry Bradshaw (four rings) and Troy Aikman (three rings) never make anyone's top-five list when we bring up the G.O.A.T. topic.

Isn't that funny?

Why are Montana and Brady up there (in large part because of championships) when Bradshaw and Aikman don't make the cut? Is it because of the obvious—Montana and Brady played at higher levels?

But how deep do you dig?

Because if you have a shovel, you'd discover that Montana's 1985 and 1987 seasons were arguably the best of his career. They were certainly better than the 1981 and 1984 seasons that yielded him two rings. Only no one talks about Montana's 1985 and 1987 seasons.

He was one-and-done in both years—knocked out by Wade Wilson and Phil Simms.

We remember Brady's 2007 and 2010 seasons because, well, he was the league MVP. You know—that same, meaningless award Manning is about to win for the fifth time. We can't overlook Brady's 2007 and 2010 seasons because the highlights (as well as the same numbers pundits dismiss for Manning), clearly illustrate Brady at the top of his game—matured well beyond his game-managing days of the Spygate era.

Do we remember that 2001, 2003 and 2004 were actually the least impressive years of Brady's career? Do we take the time to remember that one touchdown pass in three playoff games was all it took for Brady to coast through the 2001 postseason and knock off the heavily favored St. Louis Rams?

Drew Brees threw seven touchdowns in only two postseason games in 2011, but walked away ringless.

Now I get it. So long as a quarterback has rings (no matter how little he contributed to earning them) and MVP-worthy seasons (even if they yield zero rings), then we can start talking about them as the G.O.A.T.

That is an intellectually sound argument based in depth I've yet to awaken to.

Manning won a championship with the Colts, and even though zero quarterbacks have won a Super Bowl with two different organizations, the masses have decided—Manning must win another in 2013 to enter the conversation with Montana and Brady who have earned the right to be mentioned, by virtue of the intellectually taxing reasons stated above.

Team support?

We don't give that more than five minutes of research—likely at the University of YouTube.

Because if you had the ability to do your own homework, you'd have already discovered the mathematical probability of Manning's Broncos winning the Super Bowl by season's end.

  • Denver ranks 22nd in points per game surrendered.
  • Denver ranks 23rd in total yardage allowed.
  • Denver ranks 14th in forced turnovers.

That's the magic number: 22-23-14 

Forty-seven Super Bowl champions have been crowned since Lyndon B. Johnson was president, and zero have won Super Bowls when backed by a defense of that caliber.

I submit a questions just as fair: how many Super Bowls did "insert-name" win with such defensive support?

  • Joe Montana: zero
  • Tom Brady: zero
  • John Elway: zero
  • Roger Staubach: zero

I rest my case—it's an idiotic expectation that speaks for itself.

id·i·ot·ic (via Merriam Webster)

  1. Characterized by idiocy.
  2. Showing a complete lack of thought or common sense.

You forfeit the right to claim common sense as a virtue when five minutes of research yields a zero percent success rate under the very circumstances that you demand a 37 year old quarterback to overcome.


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