It's pretty simple to say that Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback in NFL history. Many have complained multiple times that guys like Joe Montana, Tom Brady, and even Ben Roethlisberger are better than No. 18. Uhm, okay, whatever. Let me point out a few things to you guys.
Take Them Away From Their Teams
First of all, we have all witnessed what has happened if you take away Tom Brady away from the New England Patriots. Matt Cassel stepped up and led the Pats to an 11-5 record. Now if you tell me Brady is better than Manning one more time, I'd laugh hysterically. You may point out that Brady has more Super Bowl rings. Alright, we will get to that later in this article.
If you looked at clips of the San Francisco 49ers, they were pretty darn good. If you take away Joe Montana, they still have guys like Dwight Clark, Roger Craig, and of course Jerry Rice on the squad. They would at least finish something like 9-7 or something like that.
We have all witnessed what has happened when Ben Roetlisberger was gone. Multiple times actually. This proves the Pittsburgh Steelers are stacked. This season, when Big Ben was gone for four games, the Steelers finished 3-1. With Ben back, they currently stand at 5-2. The Steelers would at least finish 11-5 without Roethlisberger.
Then there is Peyton Manning. We have seen many times of what has happened when Manning is gone when you see towards the end of the season, or the pre-season. Curtis Painter? Haha! The Colts were 14-0 and benched Manning for 3/4 of the last two games of the season against mostly against the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, the Colts were terrible. Manning wasn't there. This also lowers the morale of the defense, too. The Colts would easily finish something like 2-14 or 3-13 without Manning.
Many have said that Manning has had a great supporting cast. To start off, the defense Manning has had to put up with would frustrate a lot of quarterbacks. Have you ever seen the 2006-07 Super Bowl champion Colts? Manning finished with 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions, but the big thing was that the Colts had the worst rushing defense in the league. Everyone said the Colts will not make it to the Super Bowl, or even past the first round of the playoffs. The defense, along with Manning especially, stepped up and won the whole thing. If you tell me that the supporting cast of the defense was great, you must really be out of your mind. With a defense the Colts have right now this season, they would be 1-6 or something like that. But here they are, still one of the best teams in the league thus far.
But let's get to the offense. Many would claim that he had Marvin Harrison. Harrison never had a 1,000-yard season until Manning came in and took over. If it weren't for Manning, Harrison would probably have 600 receptions or something like that. I read Indianapolis Colts' columnist Ryan Michael's article about why Manning is the greatest and he pointed out something very staggering.
Take a look at the averages per season Manning has had with his number one and number two receiver:
Indianapolis Colts Receiving Production (1998-2009 annual averages)
No. 1 receiver: 100 receptions for 1,345 yards and 11 touchdowns.
No. 2 receiver: 70 receptions for 862 yards and seven touchdowns.
The number two receiver equals the same amount of statistics David Boston had in 2003 and what Mike Sims-Walker had last season. When you compare Boston's and Sim-Walkers' statistics to the number-two receiver, it looks very very similar. So please don't think Manning has a great receiving cast.
But many would complain the number two receiver had a great year as Michael pointed out in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2009. Michael made research and removed those season. Now take a look at the average:
Colts No. 2 receiver (1998-2003, 2007-2008)
62 receptions for 721 yards and six touchdowns
That was the production Manning put up with for almost two-thirds of his career, according to Mr. Michael. So did he really have two high all-star caliber receivers? Not necessarily. But when you really look at it, Manning made those receivers great.
Now many would complain for Tom Brady having to make Deion Branch and Reche Caldwell good. Okay, Branch was actually good. He is by far one of the most underrated receivers in the league. Caldwell? Alright, the guy has butterfingers but many credit Brady for giving him 60 catches one season. It's a 16-game season! You can throw to him as many times as you want. Now if it were in less games like say twelve or so, I would give the credit. But you can't give an excuse like that. Also, take a look at Brady's defense he had. In at least every category, they at least ranked in the top ten. Go ahead, look for yourself. Go to profootballreference.com and check.
Then there is Joe Montana. Montana by far had one of the best supporting casts. But he has been one of the bests and I can't let his supporting cast all the credit. But he had at least ten superstars on his team that you could mention. Maybe even more.
How about Ben Roethlisberger? Come on, the guy had Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, Heath Miller, Antwan Randel El as big time playmakers on offense. Plus, the big part of the Steelers' success comes from their defense, which has ranked in top five since Big Ben joined the league. Out of all of these four quarterbacks, Manning had the worst defense.
To fully conclude that Manning made his receivers great, look at what Ryan Michael wrote in the article, comparing Harrison before he met Manning and after he met Manning:
I excluded 2007-2008 because Harrison suffered from a knee injury that essentially ended his career.
He wasn't himself after that injury; so it didn't honestly capture the degree of productivity he was capable of when playing healthy.
Marvin Harrison (1996-1997, annual average)
69 receptions for 851 yards and seven touchdowns.
Marvin Harrison (1998-2006, annual average)
102 receptions for 1,379 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The differential is staggering.
That's an average of 33 receptions, 528 yards, and five touchdowns per-season beyond his career averages prior to playing with Manning.
I'm not saying for a moment that Marvin Harrison wasn't a phenomenal talent.
I'm simply saying that there are some instances where it’s more about the receiver making the quarterback better and other instances where it’s more about the quarterback making the receiver better; and while both may be applicable to this instance, there was far more of the latter between Manning and Harrison.
From 1998, the Manning-Harrison combo would become the greatest quarterback-to-wide-receiver tandem in NFL history. Then there is Manning and Wayne, who are now right up there and catching up.
Now let's get to the rushing supporting cast. Manning has had a great set of running backs in his career like Edgerrin James, Dominic Rhodes, and Joseph Addai. Well, first of all, take a look at Manning's rushing support over the course of his career, thanks to of course Mr. Ryan Michael:
Indianapolis Colts running game (1998-2009)
423 carries for 1,652 yards (3.9) and 14 touchdowns.
Tom Brady has seen better for his career. In fact, in the 2009-10 season, it was way better than Manning's career average:
New England Patriots running game (2009)
466 carries for 1,921 yards (4.1) and 19 touchdowns.
And we all know how Montana and Big Ben had dealt with with their rushing support, i.e. Jerome Bettis, Roger Craig, Willie Parker (in his prime), etc.
Now how about that offensive line. Yeah, Manning O-Line has been spectacular, haven't they. Manning has only had two offensive lineman elected to Pro Bowls ever in his career: Tarik Glenn and Jeff Saturday. That is all. Manning has had probably one of the worst offensive line in the past three seasons, but yet, he hasn't been sacked more than like 15 times! Ben Roethlisberger has no excuse for his O-Line has Manning has put up with the same thing.
Take a look at Montana's, Brady's, or even Brett Favre's O-Line and come back to me.
Many would say Manning is a choke-artist. Before we get to that, let me get this straight, Manning has already passed all of these guys in statistics and none of them will ever catch up to him unless if Brady, Drew Brees, or Roethlisberger average at least 30-40 touchdowns each season. It's unlikely.
Manning so far ranks in third place in at least each statistical category:
Yards: 52,044, TD-INT Ratio: 379-183, Comp. %: 64.9, Rating: 95.5
Career Wins: Ranks third all-time, MVP's: 4 (1st)
There we go, that just shows Manning is the best statistical quarterback in NFL history. He has only had two seasons where has thrown less than 4,000 yards in a season. Brady, Montana, and Roethlisberger averaged at least 24 touchdowns per season or something at least close to that.
Manning has been 9-9 in the post-season, but so what? He came out with a Super Bowl, hasn't he? He's made a fool of Brady before, hasn't he? Since the 2005-06 season, Manning has. He first went on a streak to beat the Pats when he beat them 40-21 in 2005-06, then he came back from 21-3 run to beat him in the AFC Championship in 2007, then he came back from a 34-21 in deficit in the final five minutes of regulation to beat him last season.
One Super Bowl ring is all that counts to make Manning the best. People still consider Dan Marino the best quarterback ever due to statistics. How about Brett Favre. Many think he is the best ever and he only has one Super Bowl. If Super Bowls is really all that counts, then Terry Bradshaw, Ken Stabler, and guys like should be in the top five of all-time quarterbacks.
Speaking of Favre, he thinks Manning will in fact break all his records. Manning is already on pace with nearly 200 consecutive starts. At least 100 more, which he can easily do, and he'll break Favre's record as he is most likely to miss his first game in since nearly 295 starts due to a huge injury against the Patriots this week.
When it all goes, statistics do matter. It's not always about wins.
According to Michael, Manning has easily outperformed Brady in the post-season for their careers:
Peyton Manning (Post-Season Career)
435 of 692 (62.9) for 5,164 yards, 28 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.
QB rating: 87.6
Surprising production for a post-season choke artist; but he's still no Tom Brady...
Tom Brady (Post-Season Career)
395 of 637 (62.0) for 4,108 yards, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
QB rating: 85.5
Many would complain, however, Brady's 50-touchdown season. First of all, Brady never had that season before. Nothing close to it. Right? Yes, very true. In fact, Brady did not have Randy Moss, Wes Welker, or Donte Stallworth in 2006 than he had in 2007. And that is how he got all his great statistics. Along with that, he had to actually try and throw a bunch of touchdowns each game. Manning didn't have to. It only took him like 13 or 14 games to break the record while it took Brady all 16. Right? Right.
Manning is probably the toughest quarterback in NFL history. Montana, Brady, and Roethlisberger have all missed games due to injury. Manning hasn't. In 2008-09 season, Manning had the worst knee. According to Peter King of Sports Illustrated, Manning's knee, which he had a couple of surgeries on, look liked a dis-formed brain.
Down 3-4 in the season, Manning led the Colts to a nine-game winning-streak and made the playoffs. Michael reports the stats on that winning-streak:
Peyton Manning (2008: nine-game winning streak)
209 of 290 (72.1) for 2,248 yards, 17 touchdowns and three interceptions.
QB rating: 109.7
Perhaps the highlight of that streak came when he led his Colts to victory over the eventual Super Bowl champion Steelers; in Pittsburgh no less.
A game in which Manning threw three touchdowns to zero interceptions against the league's No. 1 defense while Ben Roethlisberger (a man whom many considered to be "Mr. Clutch" by the end of the season) threw zero touchdowns to three interceptions against the Colts defense.
Was Manning really "Mr. Clutch" and Roethlisberger the "choke artist"?
Or did it not matter because it was during the wrong month of the calendar?
After all, we know the Steelers don't give 100 percent of their effort during important home games in Pittsburgh; right?
Still during the course of this winning streak, Manning continued to break NFL records into December...
Peyton Manning (December 2008)
90 of 110 (81.9) for 1,054 yards, eight touchdowns and zero interceptions.
QB rating: 130.8
His 81.9 completion percentage is higher than any quarterback has ever posted during any single month in the 90-year history of the league; and he did all of this under the pressure of knowing that each game had "season-ending" ramifications.
Manning's 2008 season would give him an MVP award. 2009 would also give him one as well as 2003 and 2004. So he has had two back-to-back MVP award seasons and has totaled up to four. No player in NFL history has had four MVP awards. Doesn't that also mean he could be the greatest player ever? Let's go that far, but that proves he is the best QB ever.
Seriously, what more do you want?
Ryan Michael had more in his article:
*Most 300-yard passing games in post-season history (8).
*Most 400-yard passing games in post-season history (2).
*Most passing yards in 1st half of a post-season game (360).
*Most passing yards in a post-season game (458).
*Most post-season games with 20+ completions (14).
*Most post-season games with 30+ completions (4).
*Most completions in a single post-season (97 in 2006).
*One of only two QB's to complete over 80% of their passes in two post-season games.
*One of only four QB's to post a perfect QB rating in a post-season game.
*Led the biggest comeback in conference championship game history (Back from 18 points down in 2006 AFC championship game).
Ask all the coaches about Peyton Manning. They say that if any quarterback has spent two weeks with him, they know what the real deal is to be a QB. He has completely crossed the line between coaches and quarterbacks. Simply put it that Manning is the coach of the offense. Montana, Roethlisberger, and Brady all had success from the coach.
Manning made success to his coaches. He has lived with three and has made them all look great from Jim Mora to Tony Dungy and now to Jim Caldwell. Manning calls his own plays, unlike other quarterbacks. He is the most unique, but is best at that.
Manning is easily the most accurate, consistent, productive, statistical, and soon-to-be most winning-est quarterback in NFL history. At 34, he has at least seven-to-eight more years to play. By that time, experts believe he can hit 75,000 career passing yards (some even consider 80!) and over 500 touchdown passes! Or at least 450. But if Favre has been doing pretty good 40, wait until you see Manning.
Manning is the best quarterback right now. If you ever seen his comebacks, which he has a bunch of in his career, he can also be considered the Michael Jordan of the NFL. For the past decade or so, he ranks number one in the NFL as the best player. He is currently the best player in the league, according to experts. And he has been that way for years.
And he will be that way for years to come.
Because he is the greatest quarterback in NFL History!