Brady and Manning. Manning and Brady. Maybe you’ve heard this one before? It’s the equivalent of yesterday’s Montana vs. Marino. The names and faces have changed but the roles remain the same.
For the most part, the associated press values Manning’s stats over Brady’s wins. Since I’ve never in my life heard a fan say “man I hope my QB throws 40 TDs this year and then loses in the playoffs”, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the writers in the press are a bunch of morons. Winning trumps stats all day everyday. If you are THAT fan who goes to a game and cheers only when your QB throws a TD, then good for you because you are the only one who thinks that way.
Everytime you hear this argument you hear about how awesome Manning’s stats are and you hear how Brady has won 3 Super Bowls to Manning’s 1.
Blah, blah, blah. You’ve heard it before. For once, it’s time for someone to actually dive in and show how each QB won his Super Bowls. You will never find another article like this one. I’m going to quantify everything and every point I make will be backed up by a mountain of statistics. I went over their careers with a fine tooth comb and the results are staggering.
I’m going to go ahead and warn you now. If you hate Brady, love Manning, or both, don’t read my findings below. You’re not going to like them. I have to honestly say that this article came out far better than I could’ve ever hoped.
Brady vs. Manning
Make no mistake about it. It’s pretty clear cut who’s career has been more impressive. I do get why Brady and Manning are compared. They play each other, they have played during the same era, and let’s face it, they are the 2 best QBs of our time.
Brady vs. Manning is a lot like Montana vs. Marino. I get why they were also compared. Same deal. It’s a valid comparison.
Like Montana vs. Marino, there is a clear cut winner. It’s obvious. It’s really not even close. One QB has crazy post-season numbers, game winning playoff drives, and last second Super Bowl victories. Am I talking about Montana here or Brady? You can’t tell right? Point is, you know I’m NOT talking about Manning or Marino don’t you?
Brady’s tremedous post-season numbers, victories, clutch performances, and game winning Super Bowl drives absolutely trump Manning’s unbelievable regular-season stats and countless playoff failures. It really is that simple.
This by no means in any way shape or form is to say that Peyton Manning is not an all-time great QB. The guy puts up stupid numbers week in and week out and his Colts are always a contender. Every year could be the year that the Colts make it happen (again). I would personally rank Peyton Manning between #6 and #10 on the all-time QB list. That is an honorable and respectable position.
If there were no playoffs in the NFL, Peyton Manning would likely be the greatest QB that ever lived. Brady and Montana are still close (as I’ll show you later) but Manning has them beat in the regular season in nearly every way.
Unfortunately for Manning, the playoffs exist and he is just plain mediocre in them. There is not even one single year where I can honestly say ok he was great but his team let him down (as you will also see later). Even his lone Super Bowl run churned out some of the most horrific numbers a Super Bowl winning QB has ever had the misfortune of producing. 3 TDS and 7 INTs during his Super Bowl run? Brutal. His total QB rating for the 4 playoff games was 68.1!! That’s bad even by Jamarcus Russell standards. But just how bad is 68.1? That putrid rating is the lowest QB rating by any Super Bowl winning QB in the history of the NFL.
Let that last part sink in.
Yes I calculated every QB. Manning’s rating was dead last out of 44 Super Bowls. DEAD LAST.
The media never seems to care about stuff like this. Facts are irrelevant to them. Maybe it’s just that the Media doesn’t care about winning Super Bowls? I guess they think the object of each game is to throw as many touchdown passes as possible and see who can get the higher QB rating. I guess we keep score just for fun? Should you tell them or should I?
Luckily for you, the Daily Pigskin is far too smart to be sucked into all the hoopla surrounding stats.
Ok so you know how many rings each QB has right? Time to examine HOW they got those rings.
We’ve seen how putrid Manning’s numbers were when he won his Super Bowl but it’s going to get even worse for him. Manning’s defense and running game were brilliant during that Super Bowl run. In fact, his defense allowed fewer points per game than ANY of Brady’s 3 Super Bowl defenses.
“But wait?! That can’t be!! Brady only won because of defense!!”
Here you go. Each defense and what they allowed during their respective playoff runs.
2006 Colts…12.75 ppg allowed – 2.25 ppg in the 4th quarter
2001 Pats….15.66 ppg allowed – 4.66 ppg in the 4th quarter
2004 Pats….17.00 ppg allowed – 5.66 ppg in the 4th quarter
2003 Pats….19.00 ppg allowed – 8.66 ppg in the 4th quarter
Ironic isn’t it? The Colts defense actually outperformed EVERY Patriots defense in the playoffs and also was more stingy during crunch time in the 4th quarter. In fact, the ’03 and ’04 Pats are in the bottom 10 all time for Super Bowl winning defenses (Yes I calculated all of them). Shocked?
“Ok, ok so clearly Manning actually had more help from his defense. That is no longer debatable. But maybe Brady stunk it up just as much as Manning. Yeah, that has to be it.”
Remember Manning’s awful 68.1 total rating? Good for last?
Here’s what each QB did during their respective Super Bowl runs:
2004 Brady…110.9 rating / 195.6 yds/g, 5 TD 0 INT
2003 Brady….83.3 rating / 264.0 yds/g, 5 TD 2 INT / +Last second clutch Game Winning Super Bowl drive
2001 Brady….80.3 rating / 190.6 yds/g, 1 TD 1 INT / +Last second clutch Game Winning Super Bowl drive
2006 Manning..68.1 rating / 258.5 yds/g, 3 TD 7 INT
Even with playing in bad weather, Brady’s numbers flat out with no questions asked blow Manning’s away. Toss in the 2 clutch Super Bowl winning drives and the debate as to who played better during their Super Bowl runs becomes an absolute joke.
“Ok, what about their running games? Surely the Patriots running game had to be the reason for success?” Not even close.
In the last 20 years, only the hogs of Washington in Super Bowl 22 have rushed for more Super Bowl yards than the Colts. Not even Terrell Davis had more yards rushing when he put Denver on his back in Super Bowl 32.
Here is a breakdown of each teams running game during their Super Bowl runs:
2006 Colts…188, 100, 125, 191……..151.0/game
2004 Pats….210, 126, 112……………149.3/game
2003 Pats…..96, 112, 127…………….111.6/game
2001 Pats…..68, 67, 133……………….89.3/game
Funny isn’t it? All of Brady’s passing numbers were better than Manning’s but all of Manning’s defenses and running games outperformed Brady’s. Hmmm. The numbers don’t lie. Which QB deserves more credit for what they accomplished during those Super Bowl runs?
“Ok but Brady sucked in his Super Bowl loss to the Giants. Manning was awesome and made no mistakes whatsoever when his Colts lost to the Saints.”
Both turned in solid but not overly impressive statistics:
Brady: 29 of 48, 266 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT. 82.5 Rating.
Manning: 31 of 45, 333 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT. 88.5 Rating.
However, there is one glaring difference that cannot be accounted for by stats.
There are good ways to lose championships. Roger Staubach lost 2 nail biters to the powerhouse Steelers and Terry Bradshaw in the 70s. Jim Kelly and the Bills lost because Scott Norwood missed a last second FG in the 80s.
Remember how Brady and the Pats lost? Let me refresh your memory.
In the final minutes of SB 42, the Pats trailed 10-7 to the Giants. Tom Brady stepped up and led a last minute touchdown drive to take the lead and go up 14-10 with 2 minutes and change to play. At this point, Brady did his part. You should be able to hold Eli Manning and the lackluster Giants offense from scoring. But you know how this one ended.
In the final minutes of SB 44, the Colts trailed 24-17 to the Saints. Peyton Manning stepped up and began leading a last minute drive to try to tie the game with about 2 minutes and change to play. But what happened this time? Manning choked and threw an interception that got returned for a TD.
Under similarly pressure packed situations, we see Brady succeed with a TD and Manning fail with an INT.
“Well Bill Polian said Manning’s line stunk in SB 44.”
Did Polian actually watch either of these games? The Giants defensive line was in Brady’s face 0.7 seconds after every snap.
Despite that, Brady still put up solid numbers. Manning had plenty of time to throw. Brady didn’t.
Let’s look at the numbers. Whose offensive line was more dominant in their losses?
Colts line: 0 sacks allowed. 5.2 yards per carry on rushes.
Patriots line: 5 sacks allowed. 1 caused a fumble. 2.8 yards per carry on rushes.
Polian was making excuses for his QB.
Look, Manning still played his part during his Super Bowl win. He was solid but not overly impressive. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It just pales in comparsion to what Brady did during his Super Bowl wins. The point to all of the above, is that Brady not only has more rings but he deserves waaaaay more credit for the rings he has. That’s not my opinion on the subject.
As you’ve just witnessed, it’s a fact.
Further, Brady’s lone Super Bowl loss came because of poor offensive line play and a flukey helmet catch. Manning’s lone Super Bowl loss came because he choked and threw a back breaking interception during crunch time.
“Ok enough about the playoffs. Regardless of all the facts, Brady is a system QB. In 2008, Cassell came in and hadn’t started a game since HS and won 11 games.”
This one is too easy.
The 2007 Pats were 1 lucky helmet catch away from completing a perfect 19-0 season and being the greatest team in the 90 year history of pro football. The 2008 Pats couldn’t even make the playoffs. Can anyone hazard a guess as to why?
“Ok so Brady owns the playoffs and Manning doesn’t. Tell me something I don’t know. Manning destroys Brady in the regular season. It’s not even close. Brady isn’t top 10 or even top 20 and Manning will someday be #1 in every passing category.”
Manning will in fact be #1 in every category someday. That will be quite an accomplishment. I’ve never seen a QB put up those kind of numbers year in and year out. Manning is without question one of the best regular season QBs ever.
However (you knew this was coming), Brady is not as far behind as the press would have us believe. What the press fails to comprehend, is that Manning has played 4 more seasons than Brady. 192 games versus 127 games. If you go by averages, Brady is pretty close with Manning.
As always, the numbers don’t lie.
242.8 yards per game
1.8 TDs per game
0.8 INTs per game
7.3 yards per pass
93.5 QB rating
261.1 yards per game
1.9 TDS per game
0.9 INTs per game
7.7 yards per pass
95.5 QB rating
Clearly Manning has put up better numbers. That isn’t debatable. But look at how close Brady is. Manning throws for just 19 more yards and 0.1 more TDs per game. That’s it. His QB rating is just 2 points higher. The difference is minute. How on Earth do you justify that being enough to overtake Brady’s drastically higher playoff success?
And if Brady had played the same number of games (192) as Manning, then their numbers would look like this:
Roughly 3,500 yards and 21 TD. That’s all. Is that enough to beat out 3 far more impressive Super Bowl runs?
But I’m not done here.
Now factor in that Manning has been throwing to the same guys his whole career. Guys like Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, Dallas Clark, and Austin Collie. He’s also been handing off to guys like Edgerrin James and Joseph Addai.
Brady has had to constantly adapt to receivers coming and going and yet no matter who gets plugged in, Brady makes it work.
Outside of Moss, Brady has had mostly average receivers and cast offs from other teams: Deion Branch, David Givens, Doug Gabriel, David Patten, Jermaine Wiggins, Reche Caldwell, Jabbar Gaffney, Troy Brown, and Ben Watson. They get the job done (sometimes) but hardly light up the scoreboard. Corey Dillon gave Brady one good year in ’04 but Brady has only had a 1,000 yard back to hand off to twice in his entire career (including ’04).
Now don’t misunderstand me. It takes two to tango. Manning undoubtedly makes all of those guys better. However, so does Brady. In fact, every QB affects his skill guys either positively or negatively. I’m hardly saying that Manning has such great stats because he’s had such great receivers. I’m simply pointing out the fact (and yes it is a fact) that Manning has had better receivers throughout his career.
Manning’s skill guys have been better. That’s all I’m saying here.
But there’s more.
Manning plays in a dome. Brady plays in snowy, rainy, windy New England. And if you need proof as to how much easier it is to play in a dome, I invite you to check out Brett Favre’s stats from 2008 (no dome) to 2009 (dome). Wow.
Does anyone think throwing to better receivers, handing off to better backs, and playing in a dome would maybe yield 19 more yards and 0.1 more TDs per game for Brady?? Anyone? I do.
“Ok so Manning has had better receivers. I already knew that. Brady has had better defenses. Err, in the regular season I mean.” (re-read above as many times as necessary if you still think Brady’s defenses played better during his Super Bowl runs).
At the beginning of the 2000's, Brady hands down had the better defenses both in the regular season and playoffs. No doubt about it. However (isn’t there always a “however”?), At this point in 2010, Manning has actually had a comparable number of great defenses as well.
Here are the ranks of their defenses for each half of the decade:
Brady: 17th, 6th, 17th, 1st, 2nd
Manning: 15th, 31st, 7th, 20th, 19th
Clearly Brady had the better defenses the first half of the decade.
Brady: 17th, 2nd, 4th, 8th, 5th, 26th
Manning: 2nd, 23rd, 1st, 7th, 8th, 16th
Clearly Manning has had the better defenses the second half of the decade.
Here are each of their 5 best defenses:
Brady: 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 4th, 6th
Manning: 1st, 2nd, 7th, 7th, 8th
Slight edge goes to Brady. The keyword here is “slight”. The press would have us believe that the Patriots have had the best defense every year while Manning has had the worst. It’s just not true. Besides, as you’ll see below, defense is not the reason for Manning’s playoff failures anyways.
No matter how you cut it, the bottom line is this. They’ve both been the center cog on several extremely good teams and it’s no surprise that the Colts and Pats had the 2 best records of the 2000's. 115 wins for the Colts and 112 for the Pats.
So they should have similar playoff success right? Nope.
Manning has had 8 teams capable of winning the Super Bowl.
’99 Colts went 13-3. Lost 19-16 at home to Titans in the 1st round.
’03 Colts went 12-4. Lost 24-14 to Patriots in the Championship.
’04 Colts went 12-4. Lost 20-3 to Patriots in the 2nd round.
’05 Colts went 14-2. Lost 21-18 at home to Steelers in the 1st round.
’06 Colts went 12-4. Won Super Bowl.
’07 Colts went 13-3. Lost 28-24 at home to the Billy Volek and Tomlinson-less Chargers in the 1st round.
’08 Colts went 12-4. Lost 23-17 to the 8-8 Chargers in the 1st round.
’09 Colts went 14-2. Lost 31-17 to the Saints in the Super Bowl because of a brutal Manning INT.
8 chances that Manning turned into 1 Super Bowl. That’s it. 1 in 8.
Now tell me, were the Colts lighting up the scoreboard in all those losses but losing because of poor defense? Let’s see.
They scored the following in their losses: 16, 14, 3, 18, 24, 17, 17. What do you think?
Brady has had 5 teams capable of winning the Super Bowl.
’01 Pats went 11-5. Won Super Bowl with good defense and a last second winning drive by Brady.
’03 Pats went 14-2. Won Super Bowl with bad defense and a last second winning drive by Brady.
’04 Pats went 14-2. Won Super Bowl.
’06 Pats went 12-4. Lost to Colts in Championship 38-34. Manning was sick in the 2nd half. Bigtime credit for the comeback.
’07 Pats went 16-0. Lost to Giants in Super Bowl 17-14 because of a flukey helmet catch.
5 chances that Brady turned into 3 Super Bowls, 2 of which he led game winning drives on for the win and the other in which he had a 110.9 QB rating.
Ironically, it was actually Brady’s defenses who let him down more. Giving up 38 points and a last minute drive to the mediocre Giants offense are clearly the reasons the Pats lost in ’06 and ’07.
So which was more impressive? 1 out of 8? or 3 out of 5? Decisions, decisions.
Given a similarly great team to work with, who has done more with it?
So is there any doubt anymore? I mean seriously, what can you say? I think I’ve covered every conceivable angle here.
Brady has done more with less, won more with less, done more to earn all 3 of his rings, played better during EVERY Super Bowl run, and put up pretty similar stats in the regular season despite playing with less talented skill guys and braving the harsh New England climate. Finally, he’s accomplished all that with far fewer opportunities.
Of course I would absolutely positively take Peyton Manning as my quarterback any day. If Peyton Manning Jr. gets drafted by the Patriots in 2032, I will be doing back flips around my living room. Peyton Manning is an all-time great, 1st ballot hall of famer, and is an absolute wizard of football x’s and o’s.
He’s just not a better QB than Tom Brady. And now you know why.