Peyton Manning Might Be the Greatest Quarterback Ever
To be honest with all of you, I have been a New England Patriots fan most of my life.
So it's hard for me to say that anyone other than Tom Brady is the best of all time.
With Brady going to five Super Bowls and winning three of them, it's hard to really say he's not one of the best ever. But the best?
For years, Peyton Manning was considered one of the best QBs in the NFL, but he was never said to be the best because he didn't have a Super Bowl ring. He never even had a chance to play in one. People always related him to Dan Marino, a man who is considered one of the best of all time but never had a Super Bowl title added to his accomplishments. However, he at least played in a Super Bowl, something Manning -- up to that point -- never had the opportunity to do.
Many fans figured that Manning's destiny was to be counted among of the best.
Starting from birth, it seemed obvious he would be a football player. After all, he's the son of former Ole Miss Rebel and NFL quarterback Archie Manning. And it wasn't long before Peyton joined his brothers Cooper and Eli on the gridiron. Peyton was a high school star at quarterback, and then outraged an entire state -- probably the only PR misstep in his life -- when he spurned his dad's alma mater and committed to Tennessee.
The Rebs' loss was the Vols' gain. Manning was so good, he led Tennessee to an SEC Championship in his senior season. He was mentioned in Heisman conversations. Coming out of college, Manning was said to be the most sought-after quarterback in years. He and Ryan Leaf were the two big names coming out as QB.
Manning was hardly great his first season in the NFL. He was thrown right into the fire, and some wondered if he'd even survive the year. Certainly no one expected him to have the career he had.
In total, Manning has had twelve 4,000-yard seasons. And not many can say this. He is a seven-time Offensive Player of the Year, twelve-time Pro-Bowler, and four-time MVP.
He is also the fastest quarterback ever to get to 50,000 passing yards, 4,000 completions, and 400 TD Passes.
Unsurprisingly, Manning has every major quarterback record for the Colts franchise. For Denver already, he holds eight franchise records for his position. What's impressive there is that many of those marks were held by his boss, John Elway.
In all, Manning holds 41 NFL regular season records and 11 NFL playoff records. He also possesses four NFL rookie records, even after close to 14 years.
Currently, Manning has notched over 5000 completed passes in his career to go along with a 65% completion rate. He also has a career quarterback rating of 96.0; while this is the most arcane stat in the game, just trust that a 96.0 is impressive.
Other than Brett Favre, Manning had the longest running consecutive game streak. That changed with a nagging neck injury, which ultimately cost him an entire year of action. Most thought he'd never be the same, especially the Colts front office. So they let Manning go in favor of drafting another potential franchise quarterback. Without Manning, Indianapolis tanked; the resultant No 1 position in the NFL draft allowed them to fall into Andrew Luck. So no one there is second-guessing. At least not yet.
And so Manning ended up in Denver in 2012. He subsequently won Comeback Player of the Year and was close to winning yet another MVP. However, another miracle man -- Adrian Peterson, who came back from an ACL injury -- rushed for over 2,000 yards and garnered that honor.
Denver is now said to be the Super Bowl favorite, all due to Manning once again. If his game against the Ravens on Thursday night is any indication, it might be a solid assessment.
No quarterback has done everything Manning has, literally. While other records are still out there and Manning may never claim more Super Bowl titles, he is still the best of all time at his position.
And how can I argue this? Were the awards not enough?
On the field, a star player, especially one at quarterback, needs to be able to make his entire team better. Manning is known for making everyone around him look like a star. He's been lucky to have had many wideouts who have been great, but several of them were not considered All-Pro until Manning was throwing them the ball.
When Manning is on the field, he rarely allows the defense to get in his head. He is constantly changing positions and talking to confuse the defense. It seems at times that Manning has X-ray vision and can see when a play might be messed up. So he alerts his teammates to make adjustments with time on the play clock to spare.
He has 154 wins as a starting QB, which is on par or better than many NFL Hall of Fame Quarterbacks.
Few would dispute that we're watching a Hall of Famer play. Manning could quit tomorrow and be first ballot. That much is obvious. But what is not is whether he is the greatest ever.
However, it's hard to argue with numbers, which truly never lie. And if you're one of those people who simply has a preference for who you think is the best, that's fine.
But on this day, at this time, the consensus would overwhelmingly be that Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback who ever lived.