Manning has more comeback victories (40) in the fourth quarter of games than any quarterback in NFL history. Brady (31) is tied for fourth. Manning his only come back once in the fourth quarter of a playoff game, though, and Brady has four times. For all of the talk about how great Manning is, there are still questions about his performance late in the season and in the playoffs when the temperature drops, the wind picks up, and he is pinned against the best of the best.
In the last regular season meeting between the Patriots and Broncos, Manning threw for only 150 yards on a cold and windy night in Foxboro, Mass. Denver pounded the ball on the ground behind Knowshon Moreno in the first half and built a 24-0 lead. Brady then came out of the locker room and started carving up the Broncos in the third quarter — into the wind. He led the Patriots on four consecutive touchdown drives and added a field goal before the Broncos were able to respond. The Patriots went on to win, 34-31.
The talk afterward was about Manning wasn’t himself in the cold, and the numbers back that up. Chris Bianchi, an ESPN radio producer, compiled some statistics and found that Manning is 2-8 when the temperature is 32 to degrees or lower and 8-13 when the temp is 40 or lower. Brady on the other hand, thrives when conditions aren’t ideal. According to ESPN, he is 24-5 in games below freezing. The road to the Super Bowl usually features poor weather conditions. That could be part of the reason Manning hasn’t gotten to the big game as often.
Add on Brady’s playoff success, and he definitely gets the edge on clutch play.
4 of 5
Touchdown records and Most Valuable Player awards are great, but they don’t mean much without a Lombardi Trophy and some Super Bowl appearances. When determining who is better between Brady and Manning, playoff success outweighs everything else.
Brady has had way more of it. His 18 playoff victories are the most of any quarterback in NFL history, and are seven more than the next active quarterback on the list, Manning. It might surprise some people that Manning actually has a higher quarterback rating in the playoffs than Brady because it certainly hasn’t translated to more success. Brady has eight AFC Championship Game appearances to Manning’s four. Brady has five Super Bowl appearances to Manning’s three and has three Super Bowl rings to Manning’s one.
Manning can break every regular season record he wants, but as long as his record stays below .500 (11-12) in the playoffs and he has two less rings, many people won’t pick him over Brady.
It’s all about the rings.
5 of 5
Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning.
Who would you rather have? That’s the question that’s going to be asked 1,712 times today before the greatest individual rivalry in sports sounds the bell for round 16. The NFL’s most accomplished passer ever, Peyton Manning, will duel the NFL’s most accomplished winner ever, Tom Brady. I’ve also been told that the rest of the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots will play, but who cares?
Today is about watching the greatest quarterbacks to ever play face-off against one another. If only Brady and Manning could take the field and spent three hours throwing balls through hoops. It would be the highest-rated program on television. They carry a mystique that very few athletes have. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter had it. Too often fans don’t appreciate an athlete’s true greatness while the athlete is still in the spotlight. With Brady and Manning, though, people seem to get it. These guys have spent the last decade and a half dominating the league, taking down every record in the process. People have taken notice.
To top it off, their head-to-head rivalry has been unparalleled by anything we’ve ever seen in team sports. Every game they’ve ever played against one another has mattered, from the last AFC Championship Game to decide who went to the Super Bowl to any regular season matchup that determined playoff seeding. Brady and Manning’s teams are always relevant because of Brady and Manning, the only two quarterbacks to ever post a passer rating of 110 or higher in a season.
Brady versus Manning also incorporates some of the classic traits of a great rivalry. Manning was seemingly bred into the monster he is, the son of an NFL quarterback who was drafted No. 1 overall. Brady defied the odds to make it to the top. He didn’t start for his college team (Michigan) over Drew Henson — yeah, Drew Henson — and was drafted 199th overall. Since Manning went to Denver, the East-West connection was added. It’s not exactly Biggie and Tupac East-West, but pinning these guys on opposite sides of the country didn’t hurt. Lastly, their games are almost always memorable and close.
So, who’s better? There isn’t a wrong answer. But I’ll show you the facts and let you decide. Once the game starts, just do yourself a favor and don’t get too caught up in the who’s better than who debate. Take a moment to appreciate the greatness that’s in front of you. Here are 5 Arguments to Finally Decide the Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning Debate.
Follow Brett on Twitter at @bpoirierNB
image via Jeffrey Beall/Flickr Creative Commons