Posted on: February 9, 2010 1:06 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2010 11:25 am

Colts Loss adds Fuel to Patriots Fans Fire

Super Bowl XLIV is over, and what a great game, at least in the second half, it was.  The game was much closer than the final score of 31-17 would indicate.  Congratulations to the Saints, and more importantly to the city of New Orleans, who nobody can doubt deserved this title as much as any NFL city.  The party is in full swing in New Orleans, with the parade this evening, and should continue on through next week with Mardi Gras.  But there is a party going on in a different part of the country for almost the exact opposite reason.  New Englanders are rejoicing because not only did the Indianapolis Colts lose the Super Bowl, but also Peyton Manning’s late interception, which was returned for a TD by Saints DB Tracy Porter, arguably lost the game for the Colts.  For New England fans this loss adds fuel to the “We Hate Peyton Manning” fan club. 


In New England, probably more so than any other part of the country, the “Quarterback of the Century” debate is, and has been, in full swing for the decade.  Some of it is pride in their team and pride in their quarterback, as well there should be as they have on three Super Bowls this decade.  But then there is the line of Tom Brady support, and Peyton Manning hate that is often crossed.  No matter the outcome, New England fans just cannot seem to give Peyton his due as even an equal to Tom Brady.  The fact of the matter is New England fans, Peyton Manning is equal and possibly even surpassed Tom Brady as the quarterback of this decade, and there are stats to prove it.  Taking a look at Manning vs Brady during the regular season, since 2001, when Brady assumed a full time role as a starting quarterback:


  •                         Brady                                                               Manning
  •                            97                                   Wins                              105
  •                         30,838                             Yards                          37,841
  •                           4,218                           Attempts                        4,852
  •                           2,672                            Completions                    3,218
  •                         63.35%                     Percentage                        66.32%
  •                           225                             TD Passes                            281
  •                            99                                 INTs                                  123


With the leader of each category in bold, Manning leads each category except for interceptions.  Unbelievable stats over a ten-year span for Manning, who also has three more years of stats tacked on for his career, which is not shown here.  Manning has thrown more, which will skew attempts and completions a bit, but despite that he still has the higher completion percentage.  He has 8 more wins, despite the fact that Brady missed pretty much the entire 2008 season, and 56 more TD passes, a number Brady probably wouldn’t have put up even if healthy in 2008.  But then the Manning haters will say look at the playoff numbers, well after taking a look at each player’s career in the playoffs, they are not as different as many New England fans might think.  After Super Bowl XLIV, each player has played in eighteen career playoff games, and their playoff stats are as follows:


  •                       Brady                                                                  Manning
  •                            14                                 Wins                                    9
  •                           4,108                              Yards                               5,164
  •                           630                             Attempts                          691
  •                           396                           Completions                         436
  •                         62.86%                         Percentage                      63.10%
  •                            28                             TD Passes                             28
  •                            15                                 INTs                                     19


In the playoffs, the stat sheets are similar to the regular season.  Brady has fewer interceptions, but Manning has more yards, attempts, completions, and a higher completion percentage.  Each player has thrown for twenty-eight postseason touchdowns, but the key stat Patriot fans will point out is that Brady has fourteen wins in eighteen tries, and three Super Bowl rings as opposed to nine wins and one Super Bowl ring for Manning.  The Super Bowl rings argument will continually be brought up by Patriot fans as to why Tom Brady is better than Peyton Manning.  But are Super Bowl rings really the only thing that determines the value and place in history of an NFL quarterback?  Yes, there has been Super Bowl winning quarterbacks who are not great quarterbacks, and the name that will be brought up in that discussion is Trent Dilfer.  And yes, there are some great quarterbacks who never won a Super Bowl, and anyone who wants to argue that Dan Marino was not a great NFL quarterback better have much more than his lack of Super Bowls wins in their defense.  But if one was to go by Super Bowl rings to determine how great an NFL quarterback is or was, then Terry Bradshaw would have to be considered the greatest quarterback of all time, and I don’t see anyone taking his side on that argument.


The fact is there is no system or formula to determine how truly great an NFL quarterback is, or to compare quarterbacks from different centuries besides the stats.  And if there were one developed, there would still probably be those who disagree with some part of the formula.  The fact is New England fans, like it or not, Peyton Manning deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Tom Brady.  There is a line between passion and support for your team, and being in sports denial.  Love them or hate them, and even if they play for the rival teams, there are great athletes outside of New England that are as good or better than even some of the greatest athletes in New England sports lore.  

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com