The Endless Debate: Who’s Better Manning or Brady

-Chris Schisler
There is possibly no debate more fun than picking between Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. In many respects it is a pointless argument. Choosing one does not discredit the other; both are top 5 quarterbacks of all time. People are also very decided on this issue. You’re either a Brady guy or a Manning guy, and that’s how you will always see it. This debate is however amongst the most entertaining conversations in football.

Peyton Manning was born to play quarterback. He is the son of beloved Saints quarterback Archie Manning & it did not take Peyton long to steal the spotlight. The Manning name is royalty in the game of football.Manning went to Tennessee to play his college football for the Volunteers. It was clear from the beginning that Manning was a special talent. In 1998 the Indianapolis Colts drafted him number 1 overall. Manning was supposed to be great and he managed to be even greater than expected.

Tom Brady was a 6th round draft pick. At Michigan he was part of a two quarterback system. No one knew he would be an all-time great. Anyone who says they did is a liar. But when Drew Bledsoe went down with an injury in the 2001 season, the Patriots had no choice but start Tom Brady. Behind a great New England team he won his first Super Bowl that season.

At this point, America was in love with Tom Brady. He was the tough underdog that everyone could root for. Out of practically nowhere he became one of the league’s biggest superstars.Brady would continue to have a tremendous amount of success. He won another 2 Super Bowls and his first 10 playoff games. Brady has made the Patriots a contender every season (except for 2008 when he was injured). On top of it all he married supermodel, Gisele Bundchen.The same person who was thought of as a tough hard working diamond in the rough now fights a troubling public image. Many people can’t relate to Brady and most of these people cone off as jealous.

There is a perception that Brady is a whiner and he is often called a pretty-boy diva. Some of Brady’s critics have a point but what man would not trade lives with Tom Brady for a day?

If you make it a popularity contest, Manning would likely win. Manning comes off as a cerebral student of the game. He comes off as funny and human. In short people can relate to Manning in a way they can’t with Brady. In actuality both quarterbacks are very cerebral and are great students of the game. Both quarterbacks are revered by their teammates and are hard workers. Manning and Brady are both extremely competitive.

These players are two of the last “Old School” pocket passers in the game of football. Mechanically however they are very different. Manning is more athletic. He will never look to run but he can roll out and keep plays alive with extraordinary footwork. He used to kill with the play-action pass game built off the stretch run play. Brady is more of a stationary passer.

Blitzing either quarterback is often a mistake. They both have one of the quickest releases I have ever seen. As masters of their craft Brady and Manning beat you before the snap of the football.Tom Brady has the better arm strength. I think there is nobody that steps into their throws quite like Tom Brady.

In a perfect world we would appreciate them as equals. Just about every strength that Manning has Brady has too. How do we break down who is better? Results have got to go into the equation.

Tom Brady has 3 Super Bowl rings and has played in 5 Super Bowls. His playoff record is 18-7. No quarterback has won more games in the postseason. The translation of these numbers is that Brady has given the Patriots a chance to win the Super Bowl almost every season. Peyton Manning has been in 2 Super Bowls and has only won 1 of them. His playoff record is 10-11. Manning has struggled in many seasons to get out of the divisional round. Throughout his career he has been miraculous in the regular season and his teams often enter the divisional round off a bye while having home-field advantage. The results show Tom Brady as the better playoff quarterback.

Football is a team sport and it takes a team to win. There is no position that has a greater impact on the game then that of quarterback. Great quarterbacks give their team a better chance to win the game. Playoff results are as valid as any measure when comparing all time great quarterbacks.

A common argument is that Tom Brady has had better teams, and that is why he has more Super Bowls. While it is true he had better defenses on his side; one could argue he has had less talent around him offensively. Think about it. Peyton had Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Dallas Clark in Indianapolis. Brady had Troy Brown and Deion Branch and David Patten.

When Brady finally had a true dominant receiver in Randy Moss, he broke the single season touchdown record. Manning broke that record with the league’s most talented receiving core. Demaryous Thomas, Wes Welker and Erik Decker all are great in their roles. Julius Thomas is a matchup nightmare at tight end.

Brady has had championship defense but usually did not have as much talent to work with offensively. Plus it’s been a few years since the Bellicheck defense lived up to its reputation. Has Brady always had better teams? Either way he has won more than Manning.

The debate could go on forever and believe me it will. In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that I’m a Brady guy. I always have been a Brady guy and always will be. No matter who you choose, these are two of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.


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