Sports

The Obligatory Peyton Manning Post

HE’S STILL THE BEST QUARTERBACK IN NFL HISTORY …  As a longtime Peyton Manning man-crusher, Super Bowl XLVIII was painful for me to watch. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not especially partial to the Denver Broncos (nor was I particularly averse to the Seattle Seahawks). I’ll always cheer for my…

HE’S STILL THE BEST QUARTERBACK IN NFL HISTORY … 

As a longtime Peyton Manning man-crusher, Super Bowl XLVIII was painful for me to watch. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not especially partial to the Denver Broncos (nor was I particularly averse to the Seattle Seahawks). I’ll always cheer for my beloved Indianapolis Colts … but if they couldn’t win the big game this year, I was rooting for Manning to pick up his second ring.

Boy did that ever not pan out … as the smack-squawking Seattle Seahawks turned several early Denver miscues into a 43-8 Super Blowout.

Love ’em or hate ’em, the Seahawks talked the talk … then they walked the walk. Meanwhile Manning – who turned in the best season by any quarterback in NFL history – was reduced to the derisive mocking by legions of amateur photoshoppers.

Manning set a Super Bowl record with thirty-four completions … and yeah, if you had told me (or anyone) he’d do that before the game, I would have bet the farm on Denver. Hell, I’d have bet several farms I didn’t own.

But Manning’s record was meaningless … buried beneath a feathered blitzkrieg that included a safety, an interception return for a touchdown and a kickoff return for a touchdown.

A miscommunication on the first offensive play of the game – an errant snap by center Manny Ramirez that sailed past a wide-eyed, panicked Manning – set the tone for the game.

“It was real loud, none of us heard the snap count — I thought I did,” Ramirez said.

He didn’t … and this early wrong foot forward quickly turned into a complete and total collapse. The Broncos had fallen, and they couldn’t get up. Seattle’s top-ranked defense simply wouldn’t permit Denver’s record-setting offense to find anything resembling a rhythm … and when a deflected Manning pass was returned for a touchdown by XLVIII MVP Malcolm Smith with three-and-a-half minutes left in the first half, the Broncos were down 22-0 and in full-fledged meltdown mode.

A failed fourth down conversion on Denver’s ensuing possession – followed by a kickoff return for a touchdown by Seattle’s Percy Harvin to open the second half – and the game was over.

“It’s not embarrassing at all. I would never use that word,” Manning said. “The word ’embarrassing’ is an insulting word, to tell you the truth.”

Maybe it is insulting … but as much as I love Manning (and I love him a lot), it fits the effort he and his teammates put forth.

Denver came out shaky. Then they got spooked. And then they got steamrolled. It was embarrassing …  no matter what Manning thinks of that word.

Now … does a such a soul-crushing loss on football’s greatest stage detract from Manning’s legacy? Of course it does. But let’s keep things in perspective: There is still an incredibly compelling case to be made that Manning is the greatest signal-caller in NFL history.

In fact I think it’s an ironclad case … or will be over the next two seasons if he continues to play.

Manning currently trails only Brett Favre in passing yards and touchdowns – and assuming he keeps playing at his current level he should break the latter record next year and the former record sometime in early 2015. Manning is also only 19 wins behind Favre’s record of 186 career victories, another mark he could easily surpass over the course of the next two seasons.

Favre is 1-1 in Super Bowls with zero MVP awards in the big game. Manning is 1-3 with one MVP award. Manning also has a record five MVP awards during the regular season, compared to three for Favre.

Had Manning never won the big game – a la Dan Marino – I could see the case being made for someone else. But he has.

Sure, Favre, Marino, Tom Brady, John Elway, Joe Montana, Drew Brees, Fran Tarkenton … they all belong in the conversation (and in Brady’s case the combination of numerical prowess and postseason success is pretty damn impressive), but Manning’s numbers are just too good. And have been for too long.

One bad game doesn’t change that … no matter how much some Seahawks squawk.

Speaking of squawking … hats off to Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman. The brash defensive back – who became a household name after his aggressive trash talk following the NFC championship game – took to Twitter to defend Manning following the Super Bowl.

“Peyton is the Classiest person/player I have ever met!” Sherman tweeted. “I could learn so much from him! Thank you for being a great Competitor and person.”

Who do you think is the greatest quarterback in NFL history? Post your thoughts in the comments section below …

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39 comments

GrandTango February 3, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Elway, with malice, fired Tim Tebow, after Tebow took over a 1-7 teams and went 8-2. Tebow took a bad team to the playoffs and beta the Pittsburgh Steelers…

Let’s hope this is just the first of many embarrassments for John Elway as a part of the TEBOW CURSE!!!!

PS: The Suck Wad Jets are certainly cursed, too…if that fat coach would have given Tebow a chance, wonder if he could have brought the Sucky Jets out of the toilet???

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Frank Howard February 3, 2014 at 7:53 pm

Played football in the leather helmet era, did you, sonny?

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John Fox gets outcoached again February 3, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Since Manning isn’t embarrassed, I’ll be embarrassed for him-cause I’m a nice guy like that.

I knew Seattle was going to beat them, but I certainly didn’t see complete annihilation.

Sorry, I can’t get on the Manning train when many of his regular season numbers come from beating up on inferior opponents…that simply doesn’t make him great on anything but a stat pad….and if we are talking stat pads then my vote is for Warren Moon.

If we are talking about winning the big game I’ll take Brady, Bradshaw, Montana or Aiken over Manning every time.

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Astonished February 3, 2014 at 7:25 pm

That wasn’t the “real” Peyton Manning! The “real” Peyton Manning was in his Buick Verano yelling Omaha, Omaha. Dang fool car headed west!! John Fox should have known better than to let him drive in NYC!!

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Smirks February 3, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Is he a great quarterback? Of course. What I don’t care for is the hype. Everyone was gushing about how the Broncos were a sure-fire win because they had Peyton. Everyone ignored that the Seahawks have an outstanding team, and nobody even remotely thought that maybe, just maybe, the wonder boy and his teammates could choke and have a bad game.

Peyton had a bad day when it mattered most. He’s human. He’ll try again next year, maybe do better, maybe worse. Life goes on.

In the meantime, though, Eli’s got two rings and probably a big smile on his face when it comes to sibling rivalry.

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idcydm February 3, 2014 at 5:44 pm

I agree he had a bad day but the Seahawks defense had a lot to do with it..

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TontoBubbaGoldstein February 3, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Sure wasn’t all Manning’s fault. He threw two picks but Seattle scored on a safety, a kickoff return, a passing TD, a rushing TD, a field goal as well as the pick 6.

Q. How many Broncos does it take to change a tire?
A. All of them if it’s a blowout.

It was funny watching Tim Tebow’s T-mobile “No Contract” ads while Denver was getting pounded. Karma’s a bee-atch, sometimes.

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idcydm February 3, 2014 at 8:35 pm

The last good Bronco run was in 1994 through the streets of LA.

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Jeff Scott February 4, 2014 at 1:19 am

Of course Seattle’s defense had a lot to do with his performance last night. No offense but, I hear a lot of people cite that point as if they believe it is a legitimate way to defend Peytons performance. Isn’t, uh, that supposed to have a little something to do with QB’ s job description—beat tough defenses? Seattle defense certainly played great. But in discussons about Peytons accomplishments and his place in history, it is not fair at all to believe what Peytons legacy deserves a free pass on this performance last night simply because he finally met a defense capable of beating him. That’s not a tragic mitigating circumstance of his performance to be accounted for in his legacy in the future– it’s the game of football, period. Some people/fans (not necessarily you, just fans in general) seem to think Peyton is somehow entitled to absolute greatness and should not be considered responsible for whatever happens when he plays a against a team that can actually beat him. Hope I don’t sound like a jerk.

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idcydm February 4, 2014 at 11:44 am

Other than the Super Bowl I don’t pay much attention to Pro Football. I remember when a player made a good play he just went back to the huddle, don’t see that much anymore…it’s all about LOOK AT ME.

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SCBlueWoman February 3, 2014 at 7:11 pm

Glad my money was on the Hawks. Woot.

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Boy Toy February 4, 2014 at 11:50 am

“Everyone”?
Bullshit.

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Peyton Manning (Still) Sucks February 3, 2014 at 5:16 pm

He’s the Tajh Boyd of the NFL

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John February 3, 2014 at 5:21 pm

I am a long time Clemson fan – and that is a good comment.

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GrandTango February 3, 2014 at 5:17 pm

But wait, before you bury Manning…: Dabo Swinney said if Broncos and Seahawks played 10 times……errr…never mind…

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Jim February 3, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Greatest in HISTORY? That would be,Johnny Unitas. Peyton will have to wait…

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Jeff Scott February 3, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Manning is among the best, and he didn’t necessarily need to win this game for his legacy. But the WAY he lost definitely matters. Peyton still belongs among the top tier. But the way he played last night matters no matter how much you love him as a QB. I don’t believe you can argue that he stands alone as the all time best in spite of that awful performanc. If he had won or even if he lost a close one last night I would be more tolerant of the view that he stands alone. But not today.

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MashPotato February 3, 2014 at 7:24 pm

I don’t like the question because no criteria to answer it exists. Quarterbacks from one era are impossible to compare to another, both statistically and stylistically. Who today sings the praises of Y. A. Tittle or George Blanda?

Statistics are inflated today because of the 16 game season, longer careers, and the transition from the run first offense to the ubiquitous spread offense. Vinny Testaverde has 20,000 more career passing yards than Bart Starr, but who is was a greater QB?

If championships are a measure of greatness, why isn’t Terry Bradshaw considered the greatest ever? Does he even make anyone’s top ten?

Every quarterback is better at different things. Marino probably threw the best long ball. Johnny Unitas was probably the most entertaining to watch. Brady is the best at spreading the ball around. Montana was great at leading his team and executing his coach’s patented offense. Manning takes control of the whole field when he goes under center. Fran Tarkenton was the original rushing QB. Favre’s signature off-balance throws are uncanny. Elway’s arm was like a rocket launcher.

Jim Kelly had a short 11 year career and made it to four Super Bowls calling his own plays. I have to give him some serious consideration for the title greatest ever, and I’m a lifelong Dolphins fan.

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I'llBeYourHuckleberry February 3, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Excellent post!

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idcydm February 3, 2014 at 8:32 pm

I can still see Johnny U in his high tops taking it in the chops just as he lets go with a pass.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein February 3, 2014 at 9:15 pm

Excellent post.

TBG, BTW, does still sing the praises of George Blanda.

An interesting metric would be:

In their prime, in a BIG game, who would you want as QB on a 4th and long-must convert, with under a minute to play.

Montana? Elway? Eli? Peyton? Tarkenton, Namath, Unitas, Favre, Rogers, Breeze, Kelly, Stabler? Tebow?

Terry Bradshaw was an excellent QB. He was probably the original “game manager”. He had the Steel Curtain defense as well as a guaranteed three to four yards with a handoff to Franco Harris. If needed he could toss to Swan and Stallworth pretty good,too.

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John Fox gets outcoached again February 3, 2014 at 9:36 pm

“If championships are a measure of greatness, why isn’t Terry Bradshaw considered the greatest ever? Does he even make anyone’s top ten?”

I have him in my top 10.

I’ll tell you why:

Though he had one of the all time great defenses supporting him, he never gave the game away. He was coachable and had athletic talent, even if as Hollywood Henderson put it, “Bradshaw couldn’t spell CAT if you spotted him the C and the A.”

That statement of course, is right before Henderson and the Cowboys lost to Pittsburgh in Superbowl XIII.

I agree with TBG, Bradshaw was a great game manager and played within his skill set and was a great team mate in that he put his team in a position to win and utilize its strengths.

Say what you want about him, but he never let his ego lose games.

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Frank Howard February 3, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Boy, have you ever heard the name, Montana?

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euwe max February 3, 2014 at 8:18 pm

I heard the Mafia had his family in a concrete bunker under the New Jersey Turnpike, wired with explosives.

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SparkleCity February 3, 2014 at 10:00 pm

As a proud “Boomer” i cast votes for the following QB’s (in no certain order):

Bart Starr
Johnny Unitas
“Willie Joe” Namath

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Thomas February 3, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Bart Starr

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The Colonel February 4, 2014 at 5:22 am

Joe, Joe, Johnny and Steve.

“Broadway” Joe Namath for what he did for the game as the first real “Super Star”

Joe “Cool” Montana for 4 rings, 4 MVPs and a 127 QB rating.

Johnny Unitas for being the player with 40,000 yards and a win the “The greatest game ever played”.

Steve “Who?” Young for 7 Pro Bowl appearnaces and his 46-29 ’94 Super Bowl Win: 24-for-36, 325 yards, six touchdowns, 49 rushing yards.

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Dab0-5winney February 4, 2014 at 7:48 am

That kind of reminds me of what happened when another team with a “high scoring offense” with orange and purple colors played a good defense. I guess Clemson fans will just say Seattle didn’t win, Denver beat themselves

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The Colonel February 4, 2014 at 8:00 am

My list includes Joe, Joe, Jonny and Steve

“Broadway” Joe Namath, the first true football superstar, has to be on the list simply for his promotion of the game itself (he wasn’t a bad quarterback either)

Joe “Cool” Montana’s 40,000 yards passing and 273 touchdowns gets him in the top three on any list calculated any way. 8 Pro Bowls, 2 MVPs and lifetime QB rating
of 127.

Steve “Who” Young’s Super Bowl performance in ‘94: 24-for-36, 325 yards, six touchdowns, 49 rushing yards was probably the best ever in one of the best Super Bowl games ever played. Not to mention 2 MVPs in 7 appearances in the Pro Bowl and leading the league in passing 7 years.

Johnny “U” Unitas’ 40,000 yards and 34 touchdowns would get him on the short list but add his performance in the ’50 championship game “the greatest game ever played” according to many sports writers, and you’ve got a top three position.
Unitas was a class act and a man’s man. The first “modern era” quarterback, he invented the “two minute drill”. Unitas was “discovered” playing semi pro ball for $10 a game after the Steelers cut him.

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Nölff February 4, 2014 at 8:12 am

I give Peyton Manning all my respect. He is still one of the best in the game. The best QB IMO is Drew Brees. Just give him a few more years and the stats will speak for themselves.

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major major February 4, 2014 at 8:47 am

At least Manning has those two Super Bowl rings to ease his pain.

Oh wait, that’s Eli.

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G$ February 4, 2014 at 9:27 am

Peyton Manning doesn’t even belong in the same discussion with Brady or Montana. Those 2 guys were at their best when the games actually mattered the most. Manning, on the other hand, has always been at his worst when the games matter the most. Hence his losing playoff record of 11-12. Is Manning the greatest REGULAR season QB of all-time? Sure, you could certainly make that argument. But what you can’t do is make the argument that he is anywhere close to being the greatest QB of all-time. This one stat alone should be enough to quell any talk of Manning being greatest ever: Manning has been to the playoffs 12 years and in 8 of those 12 years his team has lost in THE FIRST ROUND. And several of those 8 teams were considered to be among the best teams in the league those years after posting regular season records of 14-2, 13-3, and 12-4. Peyton Manning – Greatest regular season QB ever. and probably greatest Playoff choke artist ever.

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Please double check your facts February 4, 2014 at 9:48 am

“Favre is 1-1 in Super Bowls with zero MVP awards in the big game. Manning is 1-3 with one MVP award.”
Peyton Manning is only 1-2 in super bowls (not 1-3). He went in 2006 and 2009 with the Colts and this year with the Broncos

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Drexl Spivey February 4, 2014 at 10:16 am

Lets not forget that Peyton’s super bowl win came against a Bears team quarterbacked by Rex Grossman, That Bears team was likely the worst offensive team, and Grossman no doubt the worst QB, to ever play in a super bowl.

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G$ February 4, 2014 at 11:20 am

Exactly.

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GaryJR February 4, 2014 at 9:55 am

I’m originally from Baltimore. Screw Indiannapolis.

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Salty Doggerel February 4, 2014 at 11:48 am

Dear Will:

You can bet your farm, my farm or your lady,

But my hat’s in the ring for Tom Brady–

He’ll be great til he suffers lumbago.

The best comment though? Why, Mash Potato.

By way of rebuttal,

He was terribly subtle,.

While your reasoning, as usual, is “shady.”

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balmofgilead February 4, 2014 at 5:23 pm

peyton manning is the greatest QB of all time when he is playing against the raiders or jaguars in week 11 of the regular season. when the defenses start to actually play, HE CONSISTENTLY CHOKES. its funny listening to all the peyton apologists. the fact is he is a media hyped corporate vvh0re and when the going gets tough, he folds like a cheap suit on the regular. He’s the alltime LOSINGEST playoff QB in nfl history. he had the best regular season offense of all time and scored ONE TD against a team of defenders that before richard sherman made himself known 2 weeks ago, 95% of casual nfl fans couldnt name 3 players on the defense-then when they beat media hyped, corporate b1tch peyton, espn and all their peyton k0ksukrs claim its the GREATEST DEFENSE EVER LMFAO- a defense populated with 6th and seventh round picks. NOPE. SORRY. peyton is the greatest qb of all time against crap defenses when theres no pressure and nothing at stake. whenever he’s challenged by real men he folds, chokes, gags, and like on sunday night GIVES UP at the first sign of adversity. at least his defense gave him a chance holding the seahawks to 2 FGs and they were only down one score when it should have been at least 12-0. peyton had 4possessions to tie the game up even after the bad start and he just choked, got red faced on the sideline, pouted, and gave up well before percy harvin ran the kickoof back to start the 2nd half. greatest of all time are leaders of men who fight and scrape to win at all costs, not peyton amnning who thrives when everything is going smooth and easy and falls to pieces when faced with resistance. the only reason he has such a legion of deluded fanboys and worshippers is because he represents the great white hope and he is pimped by espn, cbs, and fox because he sells anything the corporate sponsors pay him to. He’s basically the ronald reagan of qbs. of course ronald reagan was a fake actor, a corprorate shill, had alzheimers, and relied on astrologers for advice, but all his deluded fanboys and worshippers still claim he’s the greatest of all time too. peyton anning turned greatest of all time into GOAT! LMFAO LOL

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soxinsc February 5, 2014 at 10:07 pm

There is still an incredibly compelling case to be made that Manning is the greatest regular season signal-caller in NFL history.

Fixed it for ya.

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