I believe that Tom Brady is the 2nd best quarterback in NFL history. Does that make me a hater? According to social media lately…. probably.
After all of the headlines, tweets and t-shirts printed that said Tom Brady = G.O.A.T, I felt the need to write a blog post to back my boy Peyton Manning.. but then I waited a week to avoid too much backlash from all the Brady lovers out there:
This chart shows Peyton Manning and Tom Brady’s career statistics, with their all-time rank among QBs in brackets:
Pretty easy to come to the conclusion that Peyton Manning is the greatest all time regular season QB and Tom Brady is the greatest all time playoffs QB, and neither are particularly close. It’s a bit subjective from there to determine which of the two is the best ever overall. Here are three reasons why I think Manning is the clear choice:
1) MVPs tells the story
Between 2003 and 2015, there were only two years that neither Tom Brady, nor Peyton Manning were considered for league MVP. Of the remaining 11 years, Tom Brady had more MVP votes than Manning three times, winning the award twice in 2007 and 2010 and earning a single vote in 2015 when Cam Newton won it and Manning was declining and retired after the season. Meanwhile, Peyton Manning had more MVP votes than Tom Brady 8/11 times, winning the award 5 of them.
Manning’s 5 MVP awards are two more than anyone else in NFL history and if you want to know who the best player ever in a sport is, just look at the MVPs (Wayne Gretzky for example has 9 MVPs but many other players have more Stanley cups than him).
2) Bill Belichick is the Greatest of All Time
The case for Brady as #1 begins and ends with his Super Bowl success. Even his playoff per game numbers aren’t particularly impressive (13th in QB rating, 18th in yards, 31st in completion %, 28th in interception %) but he’s played in by far the most playoff games (many of which have been at home, after a bye week, against an inferior team) so his playoff totals are #1 by a mile.
Brady has received much of the credit for his 5th Superbowl win last Sunday but I would allocated the credit like this:
Belichick – 50%
New England Defense – 25%
Tom Brady – 20%
Positional Players (ie. James White) – 5%.
Belichick’s game management was masterful, starting to go for it on 4th down early in the game, calling onside kicks and deep kicks at the exact right time, and having the perfect amount of aggressive play-calling on both sides of the ball. The two successful 2-point conversions were pure play-calling (head-nod to Josh McDaniels as coordinator).
The New England Defense was the #1 scoring defense in the league going into the game and they showed it, holding the #1 offense to just 21 points, forcing a crucial turnover and pushing the falcons out of field goal range in the 2nd half to win the game. Brady, for his part, was amazing in the second half, racking up yards and scores, but let’s not forget his atrocious first half including a pick-6 that put them in a hole in the first place.
I would allocate the credit in the same way for the Patriots success over the years. With Brady at QB, Belichick has taken them to an average of 12 wins per season. There are only two times that Belichick has been without Brady in the last 16 years. (1) the year Brady was injured in which New England went 11-5 with Matt Cassel as the QB and (2) this year when Brady was suspended and New England went 3-1 with Jimmy Garroppolo and Jacoby Brissett at QB. You’re telling me a team can lose the GOAT at the most important single position in all of sports and his team still puts up an top tier record with scrubs at the position? Just like how the Cleveland Cavaliers were just fine when LeBron left right? (oh wait…). Belichick is the GOAT, not Brady.
Meanwhile before the Colts drafted Peyton Manning, they were a 3-13 team and the year Manning was injured, they finished 2-14. While he played for the Colts, they averaged 11 wins.
Similarly the Broncos had 8 wins before Manning arrived, 9 after he retired and averaged 12.5 wins in the 4 years he was there.
Just watch them play
Peyton Manning completely revolutionized how the quarterback position is played. The classic Manning-style no-huddle offense with an empty backfield where he called the play at the line was a marvel to watch. CHECK CHECK! OMAHA OMAHA! I loved it. You could put Manning on any team and he would terrorize defenses just as much. I don’t even think he needed an offensive coordinator.
When I consider Tom Brady, I think he executes a superior offensive game plan with near-perfection. He’s extremely efficient and doesn’t make many mistakes. Like I said at the outset, I consider him the 2nd best QB of all time, but I do believe if you were to move Brady to another team, he wouldn’t be nearly as successful.
If I were to have a dream team, I would have Belichick as my head coach, and Peyton Manning at QB, the greatest quarterback of all time.