It’s interesting that baseball is considered sort of an individual sport, but we all know that pitching wins and similarly in football, we know that it’s a team sport but that the quarterbacks – overwhelmingly – are going to dictate how good you are. Very rarely do you see bad quarterbacks in big games and very rarely do you see great quarterbacks struggling for years. Great pitching in baseball, great quarterbacks in football, takes you to a great level.
All I’m saying is that when you look at these numbers, if you really do your research – this idea that the Patriots have had better players is just statistically not true at all. Both Brady and Manning have had one top 5 defense in the past decade, both mostly average about 12th in the league and both have had 3 in the 20’s. I went and looked it up. So if you take the emotion out of it, Brady has done more in big games.
It’s very much like the Montana and Marino comparison, that entire argument is framed off Montana in big spots cause Marino has got better stats! In this era over the last decade – and we tend to judge era’s and decades. From 2000 – 2010, it’s sort of been the Tom Brady and Peyton Manning era in football. I mean there was the Elway/Marino/Montana era; there were a lot of great quarterbacks then. But the Manning/Brady era – we’ll go back (and they’ll play beyond this) but we’ll go back, maybe look at 2000-2012, their both in the prime.
Now statistically Manning is superior but who do we consider to be the best quarterback in the history of the game? It’s Joe Montana. Not because we consider Joe Montana/Dan Marino statistically equal. If you look at the numbers, statistically, Marino is at a different level. But, it’s funny between Brady and Manning. You start comparing – and I’m going to throw out some numbers at you, what Brady did against the Steelers this past Sunday, you say “we’ll Andrew, it’s just one game!” Noooo, of all the arguments – and when you start getting down and comparing Kobe to Michael Jordan, comparing Marino to Elway, when you compare the greats like Ted Williams, Babe Ruth…when you get up to the elite class of comparing great people, everything counts. I say that all the time in my rants…everything counts.
Superbowls? Big edge Brady…Playoff record? Big edge Brady…Stats? Big edge Manning. Against the Steelers? Big edge Brady. “But Andrew how could you…” Let me just throw this your way. The Steelers have been – Dick LeBeau, their defensive co-coordinator has been the Gold Standard for defensive co-coordinators for 15 years in the league, he’s the Gold Standard. The Steelers in the “Manning/Brady” era have been the Gold Standard, if not of the league but defensively, 4 out of the 10 years during that era. 4 of 10 years the Steelers led the NFL in defense, in terms of yards; I’ve got all the numbers here. So Gold Standard competition is the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now, it’s not like Manning has been horrible, but he’s 2-1 with 6 TD’s and 4 picks, 84.3 QB rating. He’s much like A-rod in baseball. It’s not that he’s horrible all the team in the playoffs, but Manning is LESS OF A PLAYER.
The greatness of Derek Jeter isn’t that he’s massively better in the playoffs; it’s that he doesn’t dip. Go look at Tom Brady against the Gold Standard Steelers, he’s 4-1 with 12 TD’s and 3 picks, his QB rating is HIGHER than it normally is. Brady is a BETTER quarterback against the Gold Standard. Manning, less of a quarterback. That’s always been the Jeter/A-rod thing. It’s not that A-rod is always terrible and Jeter is always great. But Jeter, in regular season and playoffs, doesn’t massively dip. A-rod is a different player in the post-season and the biggest games.
So you start looking at Brady and Manning and you start throwing out playoff records – and that’s not even close! I mean, they’ve both played in 18 playoff games, Brady is 14-4 and Peyton is .500. In Superbowl’s, Manning is 1-1. In one, he was mediocre and lost and threw the big pick that lost, in the other; Joseph Addai was the star of the game.
So we’re going to look at this thing in like 15 – 20 years, and they both still have 3 or 4 years. But why is Montana better than Marino? Because of the biggest games. Superbowls? Huge edge Brady, playoffs? Huge edge Brady. Against the Steelers? Huge edge Brady. Stats? Marino and Manning.
And what I saw Sunday night was incredible! That first throw of the game – I should say this though, I like to watch a lot of these games by myself, nothing against Sports Bars, but because I like to take notes and because I’ll sit and watch the Red Zone Channel and because I don’t want to deal with commentary outside of the television, a lot of times I’ll watch games with myself. So Sunday night I’m watching the Steelers/Patriots game – and I do this occasionally, and this to me is what defines what a really big play is. When I scream to myself or I say something and I catch myself talking to myself. When Brady made the throw, the first touchdown, to the tight end over the middle and the size of the window that he could get it in was about the size of a chocolate cream pie, I mean it was literally that big, perhaps 60% bigger than a football. So Brady slides it in there, wedges it in there. On the road, against the Steelers, Red Zone…the guy is unbelievable!
And you know, he has bad games (against Cleveland), he’ll have a bad game (against Buffalo), but man Brady takes it to another level against the great ones. We’ll look 20 years from now, and you’ll go back and talk about Manning and Brady and you’ll say – and this is something that won’t get talked about “Did you ever notice how good Brady was against the Steelers? Really? Nobody was good against the Steelers…oh Brady was better than anybody else in the league against them”
If your a Steeler fan, and they have a huge fan base, you’ve seen Brady come into your stadium…Brady owns you! I mean, go ask people in Pittsburgh “Manning or Brady?” and Brady is doing it, without a hall of fame wide receiver, Danny Woodhead, Wes Welker coming off surgery, rookie Brandon Tait, Dion Branch past his prime. You know, he’s not walking into that stadium with…he’s going in with 2 rookie tight ends, say that out loud! Two rookie tight ends, Wes Welker coming off surgery, Julian Edelman who was a QB at Kent State, Danny Woodhead (who got cut by my Jets) and Brandon Tait.
So when you consider everything between Brady and Manning, especially as playoff QB’s, Brady is 14-4 and Manning is 9-9. Manning has played in 2 Superbowls, in one of them he played okay but made the huge interception and the other, Joseph Addai and the running game was the star, so he’s never had a great Superbowl. Brady has been a 2 time MVP and is a much better playoff QB. Tom, the best he’s ever been, is against the Pittsburgh Steelers over the last 10 years – the Gold Standard in defense in the National Football League. In 4 of the 10 years, so almost half, they’ve been the #1 defense in the NFL lead by Dick LeBeau.
Now predictably emotion, I work in the emotion business remember? “Andrew, you’re off your rocker! The team around Brady was better than the team around Manning” Hmm, I’d go check Pro-Bowl numbers if I was you. Manning has had Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, these are all Pro Bowlers. Start listing the Pro Bowler’s Brady has had to work with. Brady won a Superbowl with no passing game and no running game. He has won Superbowls off different teams, different cultures….come on now, and your statement must not be true then.
Another one I often get “Brady has been on better teams than Manning by far along with a better defense.” Oh really? I went from 2001 – 2009 (not counting this year) and looked up the defense for the Patriots and the Colts. Peyton Manning‘s has got one top 5 defense during that time, 3rd in 2007. Tom Brady has one top 5 defense in that time, finished in 4th in 2007. Both have 3 defenses in the last decade that have been in the 20′s. Manning has got one that was 29th, 21st and 29th. Brady has one that was 26th, 24th, and 23rd. 3 times Manning, in the decade, has a defense that was ranked 11th. 3 times Brady had a defense that was ranked 9th , 10th or 11th. Neither one, has had Dick LeBeau. Neither one has had “elite defenses” In fact in the last couple of years, I would argue that Brady has had no pass rush, a below average defense, a young secondary.
For the record, this is Belicheck’s youngest defense in 16 years as a head coach, rookies everywhere! Brady is doing it with rookie tight ends, Wes Welker coming off knee surgery, a kid who was a quarterback at Kent State and a rookie Brandon Tait (he’s either a rookie or it’s his second year) It’s unbelievable what he’s doing.
So these arguments that “well…better talent…” Now I’m getting this argument. “Well excuse me Andrew, but Belicheck is an elite coach!” Well didn’t you, the fans, always argue that Tony Dungy is an elite coach as well? Excuse me? You’ve always argued that Tony Dungy is an elite coach; he’s certainly an A minus coach, isn’t he?