Why Peyton Manning Is the NFL Player of the Decade

Zeke Fuhrman@@mellamoelzekeAnalyst IIIDecember 20, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - DECEMBER 13:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts throws the ball during the NFL game against the Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won 28-16. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

There have been many great players to play in the NFL over the past 10 years: Tom Brady, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Walter Jones, Brett Favre, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Michael Strahan, to name a few.

But there is one name that stands above the rest at an undisputed rate: Peyton Manning.

Manning, the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, will go down in history as one of the (if not the) best quarterback in NFL history once his tenure is done.

And while many east-coast biased fans argue that Patriots QB Tom Brady is the best player of the decade, a simple look at numbers leaves me begging to differ.

Although you can argue that since Brady didn't become a starter until 2001 and Manning was a starter from 1998, his early success offsets that. Brady won Super Bowls in three of his first four full seasons as a starter.

Had Manning not won his Super Bowl in 2006, this debate wouldn't be so one sided.

Manning has started in 190 consecutive games, and is one of two quarterbacks to start every game this decade (Brett Favre). You could throw in the Brady Clause here as well, seeing as how he didn't start until Drew Bledsoe went down in 2001. He started every game after that until destroying his knee in the 2008 season opener and missing the season.

Manning is the only quarterback to throw for 40,000 yards in a single decade. Brady has just over 30,000.

Manning has won three NFL MVP awards, as well as a Super Bowl MVP. Brady has one NFL MVP and two Super Bowl MVPs.

Manning broke the single-season touchdown record in 2004 by throwing 49 touchdowns. Brady trumped him three seasons later by throwing 50 in 2007. Manning has thrown 314 total touchdowns (avg 31 per season), while Brady has 220 (avg 27 per full season...didn't count 2001 or 2008).

Manning has thrown for less than 4,000 yards in a season once (3,747 in 2005), while Brady has topped the 4,000 yard mark only twice (he will likely do it again in 2009, sitting at 3,830 yards).

Somehow, Peyton Manning finds ways to win. He has won 115 games this decade, with Brady at 96. Even if you subtract Manning's 2001 and 2008 wins, he still has 97.

Peyton has had one losing season this decade (was 6-10 in 2001) while Brady has had none.

Peyton averages 11.5 win per season (12.1 if you don't count 2001 or 2008), while Brady averages 12. (Once again, I didn't count 2001 or 2008).

Brady did lead his Patriots to a record-breaking 21 consecutive wins. Too bad Peyton's Colts are currently riding a 23-game winning streak.

There are two things thing that Brady has done better than Peyton this decade. Brady has had more success in in the playoffs. Brady's playoff record is 14-3, which includes 10 consecutive wins and three Super Bowl titles, to Peyton's 7-7.

Brady has also 5-4 record in regular season matchups, as well as a 2-1 record over Manning in the playoffs. They have played each other at least once ever season except 2002. They were even in the same division in 2001.

Now that I think about it, Brady did lead his Patriots to a 16-0 mark in 2007, with their only loss coming to Peyton's brother Eli in Super Bowl XLII. With Manning's Colts at 14-0, maybe he can trump that record as well.


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