Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tom Brady-Peyton Manning Debate

As Tom Brady and the New England Patriots prepare to play Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in a Week 12 matchup, it is inevitable that people start to argue over who the better quarterback is: Tom Brady or Peyton Manning? There is no denying that these two quarterbacks are first-ballot Hall of Famers, and one could argue that they are in top 3 greatest quarterbacks of all time, alongside 49ers legend Joe Montana. But since Peyton Manning and Tom Brady entered the league at around the same time, people have been asking themselves, who is the better quarterback? With very different backgrounds, the two quarterbacks are relatively similar on the field, as they are both able to entirely take control of their offense. In this post, we will analyze the two quarterbacks, and offer our opinion by the end of the post, all in anticipation of Sunday night's game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots.

Tom Brady: Unlike Peyton Manning, Tom Brady was not drafted 1st overall in the draft; instead, Brady was selected 199th overall by the New England Patriots. In his second season with the Patriots, Tom Brady replaced an injured drew Bledsoe, and as we all know, he went on to win three Super Bowl within his first four years as a starter. Yet within that timespan, Brady's regular season statistics were not mind-boggling. Brady's passer rating averaged 87.7 per season within his first four years as a starter, as well as an average of 3,479 yards and 24 passing touchdowns per season. It is important to keep in mind Troy Brown and David Givens, where neither wide receiver ever eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards or over 6 receiving touchdowns within a single season. However, a solid running game and a dominant defense helped out Tom Brady in winning three Super Bowls with the Pats. Overtime, Tom Brady's regular season statistics improved, but everything changed when the New England Patriots traded for a 30-year old All-Pro wide receiver by the name of Randy Moss. Before traveling to New England, Randy Moss showed steady signs of decline, as he finished the 2006 season with 553 yards and 3 touchdowns. In 2007, Brady and the Patriots culminated an NFL Record 589 points on offense, where Tom Brady set the record for passing touchdowns with 50. despite their incredible season, Brady fell one game short of the perfect season after losing to the Giants in the Super Bowl. From that point onwards, Tom Brady culminated very impressive statistics, but a fourth Super Bowl eluded him, even after yet another trip to the Super Bowl in 2012. This year, Brady's receiving corp is clearly lacking talent after losing both Wes Welker and tight end Aaron Hernandez. The most used argument is that Tom Brady has two more Super Bowls than Manning, but there is also the fact that Brady's receiving corp is not nearly as talented as Manning's throughout both of their careers.

Peyton Manning: This year, Peyton Manning has a legitimate shot at breaking Tom Brady's single season touchdown record, which currently stands at 50. Since acquiring Wes Welker from New England, Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense is on track to clobber all kinds of offensive records, even though Peyton Manning has had two surgeries on his neck and is on the wrong side of 35. Despite all of this, Peyton Manning is currently leading the league in passing yards per game (357.2), passing touchdowns (34), and passer rating with a minimum of 200 attempts (118.3). Manning has a reputation of dominating the regular season, where his career statistics in the regular season are far superior to Brady's. As we enter the postseason, Manning's statistics see a decrease in productivity. Manning is 9-11 in the postseason, with a whopping eight one-and-done postseason trips. Manning and the Broncos have a legitimate chance at winning Manning his second Super Bowl, which would add a whole other dimension to this argument. A large portion of Peyton Manning's success can be credited to his highly talented receiving corp over the course of his career. In Indianapolis, Manning was able to throw the ball to the likes of Marvin Harrison, a future Hall of Famer, Reggie Wayne, another future Hall of Famer, and tight end Dallas Clark. This season in Denver, Manning's receiving corp consists of Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker, and running back Knowshon Moreno. Another augment against Peyton Manning is that he played inside a dome for the majority of his career, an environment that clearly favors the passing game; meanwhile, Brady has played in the hostile environment of New England, susceptible to any type of weather that comes his way. Outdoors, especially in very cold weather, we see Peyton Manning's numbers dip pretty significantly. To his credit, Manning has been able to rotate through several coaches throughout his career, but has still been able to produce great numbers.

Bottom Line: Like it says in the tweet above, Tom Brady is 9-4 in his career against Peyton Manning, but on Sunday Night, Manning and the Broncos are the clear favorites. As for the debate over the two quarterbacks, Tom Brady's three Super Bowls and 16-0 season in 2007 proves that he is a complete winning machine, and even though Manning has the better statistics, his environment was more suitable to the passing game. I take Brady over Manning in this one, but another Super Bowl for Manning and I would have to reconsider.

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