Peyton Manning's Greatness: All Smokes and Mirrors?

Tuviere AkpogheneContributor IFebruary 14, 2010

I had to get my weekly hair cut. Being that I am still in Chicago, the only Barber Shop I know is A+ Plus Cuts—and they did deliver an A+ Plus Cut.

My last haircut spurred a riveting conversation about Kobe Bryant—see below.

I was hoping to run into another interesting topic and once again, they did not disappoint.

Everyone seems to have an opinion with regards to Peyton Manning ’s legacy and what it should be after the Colts loss in Super Bowl XLIV .

There was lots of talk about Peyton Manning becoming the greatest quarterback of all time if he was able to win his second Super Bowl.

So I am guessing championships is the number one criteria for picking greatest of all time? Joe Montana has 4, Terry Bradshaw has 4 and even Tom Brady has 3, all more than Manning would have had even if he won Super Bowl XLIV .

I do not hear anyone calling those guys greatest of all time.

By the way, who decides the greatest of all time and what criteria are they using?

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I wrote in my article–Kobe Bryant, greatest Laker ever? Not even close? : I would think this will be a combination of individual performances, championships, leadership, clutch play, toughness, resiliency and many other variables are a part of the “best ever” equation (Click here to read the article ) and anyone who carries the tag—greatest of all time—should have some if not all of these variables.

However, the question is how much weight do you give to each variable?  This is where subjectivity and allegiances take over. And that’s not even factoring in the challenge that comparing different players across different eras presents.

This was the main point of contention in the BarberShop Conversation as some guys in the shop wanted championships to carry the biggest percentage of the weight, say 35% to 45%, and other variables get equal share.

That point of argument didn’t go so well, because that would make Bill Russell the greatest basketball player of all time and Terry Bradshaw footballs greatest players.

The question; is Peyton Manning the greatest of all time, or at least a candidate?

The Case Against

Sunday’s performance was not something new. It was not unlikely. It was not surprising—at least not once we snap out of the haze we have been in since Manning won his only Super Bowl three years ago.

Before 2007, the legacy had apparently been established: Manning was a brilliant passer, a brilliant football mind, and a brilliant regular-season performer. The Colts won more games than any other team did last decade. No one can question he’s greatest in the regular season.

But Manning has never been a big-game player; he has fallen short in the playoffs time after time.

We have all been so blinded by his one shiny ring that we ignored his mediocre playoff record. His 9-9 playoff record is two games worse than Brett Favre ’s 13-11, and we have mercilessly mocked Favre for how his postseasons normally ends.

So why all of a sudden does another Super Bowl win or loss change how we thought of Manning?

Peyton Manning on a list with the greatest of all time?

How about placing him on the list of top disappointments of all time.

What exactly has Peyton Manning done in the playoffs to deserve all these accolades?

The Case For

Peyton Manning is a once in a life time kind of player. No other quarterback in the past or in the present has ever come close to matching up against his endless abilities.

Manning is given almost entire autonomy to make his own play calls at the line of scrimmage. He picks the play once he sees the defense, alters protection, and systematically scans the defense for potential weaknesses. He might not be the first quarterback to have a large amount of responsibility in play calling, but he is without a doubt the best we’ve ever seen.

Not only does Manning make all the calls at the line of scrimmage, he is also a master of deception. He utilizes dummy audible, hand signals, and varies his snap counts so that he is literally in the head of every defender lined up across from him.

Simply put, he’s a master commander.

Manning endured a coaching change this past year, as future hall of fame coach Tony Dungy retired. What was the result?  Manning has only gotten better—if that’s possible—in Dungy’s absence, which shows you just how much command he has over this offense.

Let’s not forget his accuracy—he could throw a football through the eye of a needle from 50 yards away. His passes hit his receivers in the perfect position for them to catch and run.

He made an absolute superstar out of Marvin Harrison. You would expect a drop off after losing a future hall of famer in Harrison this past off-season, but that has not been the case at all.

Manning has simply shifted his sights to Reggie Wayne, and is currently working on putting Wayne in Canton alongside Harrison. Manning has also turned Dallas Clark into perhaps the best receiving tight end in the league.

We can go on and on about Manning’s greatness and his effects on teammates and opponents, but you couldn’t find anyone else in the history of the game that posses all the required variables (individual performances, championships, leadership, clutch play, toughness, and resiliency) more than Peyton Manning .

By the time he’s career is over he will stand on the mountain top of greatness all by himself.

The question; is Peyton Manning the greatest of all time, or at least a candidate?

Click here for the NFL’s Greatest Quarterback’s of All Time .

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