Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Way To Go, Peyton! Now Do It In January

In the most recent edition of Sports Illustrated, the crack team over there did a cover story on the "big game" last night between the Indianapolis Mannings and the New England Bradys.

In the multi-page piece, they did one of those "tale of the tape" comparisons between the two superstar quarterbacks. It was all there -- passing yards, TDs, QB rating (including red zone rating), 3rd and 4th down conversion percentages, etc. Then, at the bottom, was this stat:

Tom Brady 9-0
Peyton Manning 2-6

See the difference?

As far as I'm concerned, the folks at SI could have saved themselves some ink and space, and only used that statistic. It's the only one that truly matters, isn't it?

Well, Peyton got the best of Brady and the Pats last night, big time, notching his first victory over New England, and getting a monkey off his back.

So what is he going to do about that gorilla?

Peyton Manning, it says here, has to succeed in January if he is to be truly compared, side-by-side, with Tom Brady. It's kind of strange to say that, because Manning is probably destined for Canton, but if you want to accurately gauge how he matches up with a guy like Brady, then you have to look at what each has done when the consequence of losing is you watch the rest of the games on television.

Call it the Bill Russell/Wilt Chamberlain syndrome, if you'd like. The two centers are forever joined at the hip, it seems, when it comes to comparing great big men in the NBA. But the nod always goes to Russell, despite having the lesser personal numbers, because of all those championships the Celtics won on his watch. Fair? That's debatable. But when you have two players so closely matched, something has to be the tiebreaker.

The law of averages says the Colts were due to feast on the Patriots, and with one team 8-0 and the other 4-4, that number came up Monday night. Don't forget -- Brady threw 3 TD passes of his own. I'd say his defense let him down.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm a huge Peyton Manning fan. I find him funny, smart and insightful, in addition to his talents on the field. He is a great ambassador for the NFL. He'll make a good TV guy someday. But he needs a few more notches in his belt that occur in January -- and February for that matter -- before he supplants Tom Brady, in my book, as the best quarterback in the league.

Should it be any other way?


The Armchair Quarterback said...

I agree. Brady is still King (dammit) until Peyton can show the same poise when it really counts.

dolphinfan said...

I picked this year to be the Colts year in my NFL preview. I had them playing the Falcons in the Super Bowl.
On the other hand I can't see Manning being the next Dan Marino. They best qb to never win a championship.