Monday, November 16, 2009

Rivalry of the decade

Much was made of last night’s Patriots – Colts matchup (a game I hope you didn’t miss—it was that good), with NBC lauding it as “the rivalry of the decade” and lots of debate as to which of the respective quarterbacks is better.

That’s an easy question to answer. Tom Brady is the quarterback of a good team. Peyton Manning IS the team. And clearly the better quarterback.

I’m not saying Tom Brady isn’t capable. He is. But put Tom Brady on another team, and he’d be mediocre. He was drafted 199th for a reason. He’s outperformed his draft position, to be sure. But Peyton Manning is an order of magnitude better than any other #1 overall pick in the game today.

One need look no further than Matt Cassel to see what I’m talking about. Cassel finished and won the first game of the season last year and went on to start the remainder of the season. He led the Patriots to an 11-5 record, with a laundry list of offensive achievements.

Does that mean Cassel is a great quarterback? Some would think so. But he never even started a game in college, and since leaving the Patriots is 2-7 with the Kansas City Chiefs. I’m sure the Chiefs are ready to choke him with that six year, $60 million contract at this point.

Clearly, it wasn’t Cassel that was so good, but the Patriots system. Likewise, Brady isn’t a great quarterback, he’s the quarterback of a great team. He has an outstanding supporting cast—Randy Moss would be a superstar with me throwing him the ball. He’s got a great offensive line, and Kevin Faulk and Lawrence Maroney make the passing game possible. Take Brady out of New England, and he’s a journeyman quarterback that would never make the Pro Bowl.

Contrast that with Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning makes decent players into superstars. I’m sure a BYU fan somewhere will put a contract on me for saying this, but Austin Collie would not be a regular on any other team, if he even made the roster. Collie has (not atypically deluded) BYU faithful calling for rookie of the year honors, which he doesn’t deserve, because Manning isn’t a rookie. The Colts have one of the worst running games in the league. Everyone knows Manning is going to throw the ball on almost every down. Yet somehow, they’re still unbeaten.

Just how good Peyton Manning is was made clear at the end of last night’s game. With 4th and 2 in their own territory and two minutes left, Belichick decided to go for it. He had absolutely no confidence that his defense could keep Manning from scoring a touchdown, regardless of where on the field he got the ball.

All Brady had to do was convert on 4th and 2. He failed. Manning seemed to take his time as he went 29 yards for the winning touchdown. That would never have been a gimme for anyone else, Tom Brady included. But when the Patriots failed to convert, everyone on both sides of the field knew the game was over.

So you tell me—who’s better?


  1. "Take Brady out of New England, and he’s a journeyman quarterback that would never make the Pro Bowl."

    you're just being silly here. 3 superbowls count for something.

    i thought, even with the bobble, that faulk got the first down. that was an unfortunate spot.

  2. I have to agree with you on this. Manning, or as I like to call him, "The Dark Lord", is the best player in the league, hands down.

    P.s> I have the Patriots....

  3. I meant to say hate the patriots

  4. What do I think? Here's what I think: I think you did this post specifically because you knew I would be completely unable to comment.

    -the Watcher aka Sports-tard

  5. Dug: Jim Plunkett (2), Phil Simms, Doug Williams, Jeff Hostetler, Mark Rypien, and Trent Dilfer all won Super Bowls as well. Dan Marino never won one. I don't think it counts for that much.

    Dave: If Manning is the Dark Lord, and you hate the Patriots, who do you like?

    Watcher: Of all the things you've blogged about that have left me dumbfounded, I had to get you back for once. Plus this at least distracted me a bit from the Broncos' embarrassing loss to the Redskins.

  6. so really? you think history will lump tom brady in with jim plunkett?

    you do not think that. you are just saying that.

  7. No I don't think history will lump Tom Brady in with Jim Plunkett. But I do think that if Tom Brady played for the Raiders he would be just another (yawn) quarterback. Brady is great because he plays for a great team. The team is not great because it has Brady.

    With Manning's Colts, the team is great because it has Manning.

    If it's a question of which QB is better, Manning clearly wins. If it's a question of which team is better, advantage Patriots since they've won three Super Bowls to the Colts' one.

  8. i am not comparing brady to manning. i think manning is clearly the better quarterback.

    but you're swimming upstream if you content that brady is only good because his team is good. brady is routinely listed as one of the ten best quarterbacks to ever play. until they lost to the giants in the superbowl, he was considered by many to be in the top two.

    now i'm no pats fan. i'm not really a brady fan.

    i'm just playing your little game here. you are making absurd claims. if manning played for the raiders do you think the raiders would win? that's ridiculous.

  9. If Brady went to the Raiders, they'd still be the Raiders. If Manning went to the Raiders, they'd be like the Marino-era Dolphins--good, but not Super Bowl winners.

    Brady being called one of the greatest of all time is simply a case of the overall strength of the team being attributed to the quarterback. Going back to the original post, look at what they did last year under Matt Cassel. If Brady is so good and so much a factor in their success, how did they go 11-5 with a guy who hadn't started a game since high school? Matt Cassel's reputation benefited just as much as Brady's has. He would never have had a $60MM contract had he fell into the starting role with any other team.

  10. "If Brady went to the Raiders, they'd still be the Raiders. If Manning went to the Raiders, they'd be like the Marino-era Dolphins--good, but not Super Bowl winners."

    you are insane. pick ANY quarterback in history and put him on the raiders, they still suck. .500 at BEST. you're just making stuff up now.

    this is the part, if we were in the same room, i'd roll my eyes, shake my head sadly, and then punch you in the throat when you looked away.

  11. Religion, Politics, Brady Vs. Manning, this is becoming the most controversial blog on the web.

  12. but what about marvelous Marvin Hagler????????

  13. Quick someone get out the Taser.

  14. I've gotta side with Dug here, the claims sound a little more fanatical than factual. Counterpoints:
    Recievers - I would argue that the list of mediocre recievers made to look like stars is longer on the Brady side. Affirmed by the return to mediocrity when they took the big payday's with another team year after year, only to underperform with a different QB. Yes, Brady has a legit star in Moss - but Manning has(d) legit stars in Wayne and Harrison. The rest of the cast are mainstream role recievers - but Brady's made more of them look like stars.
    RB's - your not really contending that Brady has had the better backfield over the course of his career are you?
    Last one - you neglect to mention the tight end position, from which Manning benefits from having had a legit star over the long term.

    I'm not claiming one over the other either, but come on man, keep it real...

  15. i’m not a colts or a patriots fan, but that was the best game i’ve seen all year. ok, it was the only game i’ve seen all year. if it were any other game, I would have turned it off. if football were an individual sport, i like manning. but football’s not an individual sport. in football, in my book, success is measured by rings. brady 3, manning 1. brady’s winning. everything else, like supporting cast, coach, agents, the nasdaq, girlfriends, etc., is irrelevant (except dope, of course).

    all time? If i were starting a team today, montana would be my number 1 pick for a qb. he has a lot of rings.

  16. JDub, I'll reaffirm my original argument. You can plug another QB (Cassel) into the Patriots' system and get similar results. You could not plug another QB into the Colts' system and get similar results. Manning is clearly better.

    Ricky, by your logic, you should be starting a team around Terry Bradshaw rather than Joe Montana. The 53rd guy on the roster gets a ring, too, whether he played a down or not.

  17. While I like seeing Collie do well, I have to agree. He has the best QB in the league, and one of the best receivers lining up with him as well. Any defense who doesn't double or triple Wayne and leave Collie and all the other Indy rookies to the linebackers are not worth their salt. That said, I think he is talented, and he has a good work ethic. I think he's going to be a fine NFL player.

    Off the field I like Manning's self-deprecating style. I'd probably try and choke Tom Brady with one of his lame scarfs however. The fashion model motif is worn out and insufferable.

    The only worse decision in coaching history I have ever seen than that 4th and 2 while LEADING was Gary Crowton doing something similar because "I wanted to win by 10 and not 3".