Its about as old as Light vs Dark, as controversial as Batman vs Superman, as family separating as Republican vs Democrat. This isn’t some social issue or pop culture scandal, its Brady vs Manning. Individual legacy vs dynasty. Legend vs Legend.
Peyton Williams Manning born 1976 was son to former NFL QB Archie Manning and brother to Eli. Peyton lived breathed and prayed football throughout his life. He won won several high school National Player of the Year awards and led his Tennessee volunteers for 4 years, racking up tons of awards, records and stats all of which are too far into the past to worry about now. In 1998, yes THAT long ago, Manning was drafted first overall to the Indianapolis Colts. He was the spearhead of the team in all its success while gaining 1 Super Bowl Ring and 4 MVPs under his belt all the while gaining an almost religious following. After 2011 injuries that many thought was the end for Manning, he has recovered and now commands Denver in the AFC championship once again.
Thomas Edward Brady Jr. has had somewhat much less illustrious career yet holds equal reverence in football legacy. Tom grew up in California in 1977 and held an average sporting career in football, basketball and baseball. He decided to play football for Michigan University. Brady battled from the bottom to gain the starting spot but then led the Wolverines to an Orange Bowl win his last year. In 2000, two years after Peyton, Tom applied for the NFL draft but was ignored until the 6th round, pick #199, the Patriots. Then the “Brady magic” began, with him winning the Super bowl in his second season against Oakland and gaining 2 more SB rings since then and 2 NFL MVPS. He has battled injury and adversity and is able to always be seen in the playoffs, no matter how adequate his season was.
Now what if I told you it doesn’t matter who is better? The cliche, old-hat, go-to, pointless, highlighted argument of whether either one is better. Whenever the two play, all the “football experts” come out and go into the stat line, records, play style and their birth sign and tarot readings to try and determine which one is dominant. Many fight for Manning because he has better stats or Brady because he has more rings. Yet at the end of the day both are still legends whose name will surpass their time. I get nauseous whenever sportscenter has to come on and preach “THIS IS THE GAME THAT DECIDES IT ALL. Now look at our shiny infographics which will show you that if Manning drinks 4 more cups of gatorade in the 3rd minute of the fourth quarter yet doesn’t get a cumulative qbr of 110 and sing the Ave Maria, Brady will be better.” Its all hype. People look at the most miniscule factors of these two players yet disregard the fact that they are surrounded by a great supporting cast. Yes Manning is the QB but it is safe to say that most bandwagon analysts don’t look at the defense and their performance, and when they do, they minimize their significance. Its impossible to accurately and logically gauge who is better throughout their careers but people insist on arguing and making this argument a recurring annoyance.
In my honest opinion in the matter (letting go of my deep hatred for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick) both players are amazing contributions to the sport who both will leave their own special mark on this age of the NFL. Whatever may happen in this AFC championship, this Super Bowl, next season or even in 10 seasons both players have already made their way into the Hall of Fame and both will be remembered as good QB’s just as those before them. So for the sanity of any and all good NFL fans, those who fight this pointless argument must stop the analysis, stop the judging, and instead start appreciating the players for who they are individually and nothing more.