You know the rules. Three rounds, Manning vs. Brady career, two of our best writers going at it. We’re going to put a poll at the end so you can vote for who you thought won the argument and was most convincing, which is not necessarily who you believe is the better QB.
Peyton Manning Argument Round 1
In 12 seasons of Peyton's career, he has already amassed a nice set of records to place on his mantle.
Highest Passer Rating in a Season with 121.1
11 seasons of at least 4,000 passing yards
Most consecutive seasons of at least 4,000 passing yards with 6
Most seasons with at least 4,000 Passing Yards with 11
4 games with a perfect Passer Rating
13 consecutive seasons with 25 TD passes
24 game with at least 4 TD passes
7 games with at least 5 TD passes
1.91 TDs per game average
66 games with a completion% higher than 70%
Only QB with 11 seasons with 10 wins or more
Only QB with 8 seasons with 12 wins or more
In 11 seasons (excluding his rookie season), Peyton has never been lower than 6th in DYAR, and 7th in DVOA. 6 seasons he's sat at the #1 spot in DYAR, including a 4 year run from '03-'06. Those 4 seasons, he was also tops in DVOA.
Nearly 25% of Peyon's TDs have been in plays 30 yards or longer, and 37% have come inside the opponent’s 10 yard line.
Listing those things was not just a chance for me to spew out some of Peyton's records and accomplishments, but more to help put things into perspective. I mean seriously, those numbers, stats, and accomplishments are something that no other QB has ever done. Ever. Not just in the past 10 years, but of all time. Montana never did it, Young never did it, and Marino never did it either. 11 times Peyton has thrown for over 4,000 yards. Brady? Three times. Peyton's career TD/per game average is 1.91. Brady's? 1.80.
Now I completely understand that these counting stats help Peyton immensely by playing in 63 more games. So let's look at some efficiency stats, some things that are harder for those who've played in more games, as one could argue that it's harder to keep that efficiency up for as long.
Peyton TD% is 5.5, as is Brady’s. Brady does hold the edge in INT% with a 2.2 compared to a 2.7%, but I attribute a piece of that to Peyton stepping into a 3 win team compared to Brady stepping into a 11 win team. In Peyton's rookie season he threw 28 INTs, on a 3 win team that won 3 wins the year before he was drafted. His team gave up 444 points his rookie season, as opposed to the 272 points that Brady's team gave up. That '98 Colts defense was ranked 28th in the league in Weighted DVOA, while Brady's '01 defense was ranked 13th. The point of all of this is that when you have a defense that gives up an average of 28 points per game, you are going to see a QB with a high number of INTs. After that 28 INT season, he threw 23 in '01, and after that he hasn't thrown more than 20 in a season, with 4 seasons with 10 or less. Manning averages 7.6 YPA compared to Brady’s 7.4 YPA. Manning also holds the slight edge in Yards per Completion. Manning also edges out Brady in both Net yards per attempt and Adjusted Net yards per attempt, as well as completion %. Peyton holds a significant advantage in Sack %, with a 3.1% average compared to Brady’s 4.9%. Brady has actually taken 13 more sacks in 63 less games. This may also be a factor in Brady’s advantage in INT%, as Brady will take more sacks and Manning will attempt riskier throws rather than taking sacks. It’s anyone’s guess as to which method is more effective, but the adjusted net yards per attempt and net yards per attempt stats take into account sacks and interceptions as negative plays, and both stats favor Peyton. Overall, Mannning has been the more efficient QB, with Brady holding the edge in INT% and a slight edge in passer rating, and Manning holding the edge in every other efficiency metric.
I'm not going to sit here and kid myself that I am telling you anything new, but this was to help show you how good Peyton has been. It just helps enforce the fact that Peyton > Brady.
Tom Brady Argument Round 1
You mentioned that Peyton walked onto a 3 win team, and this is very true, but they were not far removed from success as the Colts had went 9-7 in 1995 and 1996 with Jim Harbaugh under center. But i wont harp on team success (or failures) yet as much as I will on personal stats, and when it comes to stats it’s all about offense. Just take a look at what Peyton Manning walked into, as far as offense goes:
Marshall Faulk, Marvin Harrison, Torrance Small, Ken Dilger, Marcus Pollard
Just awesome, 2 future HoF players and 3 very good role players. Not to mention the #1 OL in terms of pass protection (according to footballoutsiders.com). Must be nice, right?
In comparison, what did Brady step into offensively, not the "team" but just the offense?
Antwain Smith, Troy Brown, David Patten, Kevin Faulk
This is a far cry from what Peyton Manning stepped into, some good solid grinders, but not even close to "great" players like Peyton was handed. Oh, and his OL was ranked 26th in terms of pass protection in 2001, his first yr as a starter (again from fo.com).
I could go on FOREVER with this, the fact remains that Peyton has had better offensive talent around him BY FAR until 2007. Peyton has been the beneficiary of the best drafting team in all of football, and let’s not get into a "who made who" discussion because that will never end, but let’s just take a look at Bill Polian's track record even prior to the Colts and it’s easy to see that there is just no way Peyton alone was responsible for the greatness that surrounded him. Polian was responsible for the Bills that went to 4 straight SB as well as helping an expansion team have the fastest start ever (Carolina Panthers) prior to coming to the Colts and placing nothing but brilliant, intelligent, players around Peyton. Even Peyton himself was drafted by the mastermind that is Bill Polian.
The same can’t be said for the Patriots. Even Bill Belichick was once thought of as a bad coach prior to Brady stepping in for the injured Drew Bledsoe. Not that the Pats were bad, not at all, but in terms of surrounding their QB with talent they were a far cry from what Polian did with Peyton.
I’ve already gone a little far with this, but i want to stress the importance of how much talent Peyton has had around him in his career and how much Brady has had, because that plays a MAJOR role in the success of a QB.
You talk about things that Manning has done that no QB has ever done before, and Brady can be talked about in that same sense. Brady has thrown 261 TD's in his career compared to just 103 INT's. This is good for a 2.53 TD/INT ratio, the best ratio in the history of the NFL. Peyton is good for a 2.02 TD/INT ratio, which even close to Mr. Brady's. Everyone gives the edge to Peyton statistically, but it’s not that simple. Brady is roughly on the same page in terms of TD's thrown per season/game/attempt, but is much better at taking care of the football. There is also hardly any discrepancies btwn their TD%, Comp%, ANY/A, etc. And as you stated, Brady holds the edge in passer rating.
I’ll end this first round here, and throw out some more stats moving forwards.
Peyton Manning Argument Round 2
My problem with the whole "Manning has had better talent" point is that it’s ineffective. It's almost impossible to separate a QB from his WR, or an RB to take the pressure of the QB, or vice versa. That is, unless that WR has played with other QB's. While Peyton and Harrison were enjoying success, Randy Moss was out in Minnesota making QB's like Jeff George and Culpepper look like Hall of Famers. Basically dominating DVOA while in Minny, Moss was incredible. However, what happened to Culpepper the second Moss left Minny? 2 games, 0 TDs, and 8 picks. And then 5 games, 6 TDs and 6 more picks later, Culpepper destroys his knee. Now the injury had nothing to do with Moss being gone, it's what happened before and after that injury which makes this incredibly interesting. Brad Johnson proceeds to step in and finish the season pocketing 5 wins and a comfortable 12 spot in DVOA. So the exact same players that Culpepper had, Brad Johnson did much, much better with. At the risk of sounding pompous, it's safe to say that Moss made Culpepper's career what it was. Now fast forward to the 2007 season. Moss gets traded to a team where the QB had only thrown over 4,000 yards once, and never threw more than 28 TD passes. That QB is of course Tom Brady.
Now, am I going to say the same thing about Brady as Culpepper? Of course not. However, let's not kid ourselves here. Moss is most likely going to end up the #1 WR of all time. I don't even have Marvin Harrison in my top 5. Is it safe to assume that Manning could have had the same season, and most likely better than Brady in 07 with Moss? Yes, it most definitely is. I completely realize that I am playing a huge “what if” game here, but it's something that seriously needs to be considered here. We can point the finger at Harrison all we want, but Moss is better. We can talk about the emergence of Wayne, but Moss is better. It's that simple. Moss brings a deep threat to the table that Manning hasn't had since Qadry Ismail, except nowhere near as good. Basically, Brady needed Randy Moss to surpass Peyton Manning statistically.
We can also sit here and talk about the talent that Manning has had at the RB position, but let's not kid ourselves here. His average teams rushing rank has been 21st his entire career, with his team being 20th or lower 6 times. Brady? An average of 12th while only being lower than 20th one time. This is huge. Yes, we can point at Faulk (who was only there his rookie season, which the Colts also happened to 24th in Rushing DVOA) and Edgerrin James, but let's also look at the entire season where Dominic Rhodes was the Colts leading rusher due to a James injury. Or how about the countless games that Addai has missed due to injury. And what about the last few years, where the Colts have had no rushing attack whatsoever. Brady enjoyed the 12th and 9th ranked rushing attack respectively in 2009 and 2010. As for Manning? 32 and 29 respectively.
We can also sit back and look at Peyton's WRs outside of Harrison and Wayne. He has had a revolving door at the slot position. From Pathon to Ismail, to Stokely, to Gonzo 2, to Garcon/Collie. The 2 consistent things here? Peyton's consistency and the fact that all those slot receivers and back-ups have produced. At what point do we say: "Even Polian isn't God. There's no way he can keep grabbing productive 4th rounders while the rest of the league lets them slip by. Some of this has to be put on Peyton.". Trust me, I love Bill Polian. He's a genius as a GM, and has had the Midas Touch on almost every single team he's ever been employed by. However, he does miss. It happens. Let's look at the flow of LBs and CBs that the Colts have chewed up and spit out. Let's look at the constant inability to stop the run. No man is perfect, and neither is Polian. At some point Peyton has to be given credit for his consistency, as all the praise just cannot keep getting passed off to others. From Polian, to Harrison, to Dungy, to Wayne, to Moore, and soon most likely to Caldwell. For years people pointed at Harrison, and what happens the season Harrison gets hurt? Wayne all of the sudden is a younger Harrison. What happens the season Gonzalez gets hurt? A 6th round pick, 2nd year player in Garcon, and a 4th round rookie in Collie step in and look like 6 year vets. What happens when Collie and Clark get injured? Blair White and Jacob Tamme look like superstars. How long does Peyton have to keep simply dominating before we realize that HE is the constant here? He is the one who hasn't changed, and yet the results stay the exact same.
Tom Brady Argument Round 2
Your point actually helps me support mine. It is the receivers that make the difference, and while Peyton has had to go through several #3 WR's (who hasnt?) his top WR's have remained constant. Harrison and Wayne were both first round picks, as were Gonzo, and while we’re at it, so were Edge, Addai, and Brown. It’s the main core that counts, put me on a team with Clark/Wayne and i could get open and catch 60 balls too. But the fact remains that until Moss and Welker joined the Patriots, Brady had a mediocre WR core at best, while Peyton has always had a top 5 core. This is not even arguable, and it plays a monumental role in our arguments about who is the better QB.
It seems that now you are giving credence to the WR's as to why Brady has been better since Moss and Welker joined. What about this last season, where Moss is traded, and Brady has his the 2nd best season of his career. The same exact methodology works as to why Peyton was better with Harrison, Wayne, Clark, Stokley, etc. etc. etc...That’s because he had better talent, and that’s just how the NFL works. I don’t want to take away from Peyton’s accomplishments because of that at all, I just want people to realize that Brady worked with mediocre talent for the large majority of his career and still put up similar numbers to Manning. Speaking of numbers, let’s get to some of them:
Brady - 49 gms, 1100/1646 (66.8%), 13,180 yds (269.0 ypg), 8.0 YPA, 114 TD's (6.9%), 25 INT's (1.5%), 2.33 TDpg, 4.6 TD/INT ratio
Peyton - 64 gms, 1551/2320 (66.9%), 17,242 yds (269.4 ypg), 7.4 YPA, 124 TD's (5.4%), 59 INT's (2.5%), 1.94 TDpg, 2.10 TD/INT ratio
The reason i used 2007 should be quite obvious, but I’ll explain again: the reason being is because my argument prior to 2007 was that if Brady was given the same or better talent than Manning that he would put up similar numbers as Peyton. This is considering that the argument was based around stats every time, and that my argument was based around speculation. But now, when both QBs have similar talent, we can see the stats that they’ve put. As you can clearly see, there is NOTHING that Peyton is better than Brady at since 07. Brady’s been absolutely spectacular since 2007. Quite easily the best QB in the NFL. As for Peyton, his stats are very good, but I’m not even sure he’s been the 2nd best QB since 2007. Even if you want to look at footballoutsiders, which so far you have put a lot of weight into, then you are still behind.
Brady - 2788 DYAR, 56.9% DVOA
Manning - 1845 DYAR, 40.6% DVOA
Brady – 2,170 DYAR, 44.2% DVOA
Manning – 1,936 DYAR, 38.2% DVOA
Brady – 2,137 DYAR, 53.3% DVOA
Manning – 1,679 DYAR, 25.0% DVOA
It’s pretty clear to see that with equal (it’s fairly equal, I will give Brady the edge, but it’s not a big one) talent, that Brady is right there with Peyton and then some. You say that if Peyton had Moss in 2007 that he could have put up similar numbers. I’ll contest that if Brady had Harrison/Wayne/Edge/Addai/Clark over the course of his career he would have better numbers than Manning (with Brady's talent). Oh, and Marvin Harrison may not be top 5 (it’s debatable) but he is EASILY top 10 and there is not a big difference between Harrison and Moss. I agree that Moss is better, but Harrison was way more dynamic and could do much more than Moss. Same goes for Wayne right now.
Peyton Manning Argument Round 3
I don't see how my argument supported yours at all. Yes Peyton has had the better WRs throughout his career. However, your point is based purely on speculation that Brady would have had the same career that Peyton has had with those same WRs. And that speculation is based mainly on Brady's play since he's had a top 2 WR all time to throw too. And to counter that I pointed out that Moss made Culpepper and Jeff George look like Hall of Famers. Brady isn't the first QB whose play has elevated greatly because he's had Moss to throw too. I'm not sure if you actually believe your last sentence there. Moss is better than Harrison, and much better than Wayne. It's real simple. Manning has never had a WR like Moss. Even while playing in 10 less games, and basically taking a season off for rest in Oakland, Moss has 7 more games of 100+ yards receiving or 3+ TDs than Harrison.
You show efficiency stats, DVOA and DYAR from 2007 and on, yet, that's when Brady's offensive weapons become much better than Mannings. 07 Harrison played 5 games before injuring his knee, and was nowhere near himself in 08. In 2009, Manning had Gonzalez injured and made Garcon and Collie look like pro bowlers. In 2010, Manning had nothing besides Wayne. Collie, Clark, and Garcon were all injured.
It’s completely unfair to start at 2007. First off, one year (2007) is skewing Brady’s numbers. Yes it was a tremendous year, but this was with more talent than Manning ever had (and Manning had a better year in 2004). Secondly, you’re just choosing to include wide receivers. Since 2007, Brady’s had much better targets, and that’s not even arguable. Not only that, Manning’s rushing game has ranked 18th, 31st, 32nd, and 29th in that time frame. Brady’s? 13th, 12th, and 9th. You can’t even pretend that this hasn’t had a big difference. Also, Peyton’s offensive line has been abysmal in this time frame. Brady’s has been sufficient. The supporting casts do not even match at all, and the correct comparison would be Manning from 2003-2006 (when his supporting cast was at its best) to Brady 2007 (when his supporting cast was at its best). Let’s take a look at that:
Manning 2004-06 - 48 gms, 1003/1507 (66.6%), 12,701 yds (264.6 ypg), 8.4 YPA, 12.6 YPC, 108 TD's (7.2%), 29 INT's (1.9%), 2.25 TDpg, 3.7 TD/INT ratio
Brady 2007-10 - 49 gms, 1100/1646 (66.8%), 13,180 yds (269.0 ypg), 8.0 YPA, 12.0 YPC, 114 TD's (6.9%), 25 INT's (1.5%), 2.33 TDpg, 4.6 TD/INT ratio
As you can see, Brady threw many more passes and that’s the reason for his more yards and TDs. If you look at efficiency stats, Manning blows him out of the water in YPA, YPC (per completion), and TD%. Overall, Manning was the better QB during his peak than Brady at his. Both of their peaks came when their supporting cast was at its best, which is obviously no coincidence. This is a more fair comparison, and to put it simply, Manning was better, and there’s no argument.
You can't point out talent on the offensive side of the ball. You can't point at running game, as the Pats had the 2nd best run game in 07, and have the 10th this season, both better than the Colts. Yes, Brady has excelled with and without Moss, a complete safety net in Welker, and a run game, but I have a hard believing that any QB in the league wouldn't have had better stats if they all the sudden had those things. I mean hell, Matt Cassell had a decent season with these WRs and they got him a nice fat contract. And this is important. There is no chance in hell Cassel could have the same season on the Colts in 2008 as he did with the Pats. None whatsoever. So that should tell you right there that the Colts did not have a similar supporting cast to the Patriots in this time frame, but rather, in 2004-06 when Manning outproduced Brady’s peak.
If we are going to try and completely compare the two with the same talent, then basically we have to use Manning's 04 season v Brady's 07 season. While I still stand by the fact that any sane person would choose Moss/Welker over Harrison/Wayne, it's as close as we can get. Yes, we've all heard about Brady threw the ball 81 more times than Manning did, and if we use Manning's TD% of NINE POINT NINE (1.2 percent higher than Brady's), we can figure it would be safe to assume that Peyton would have thrown 8 more TDs than he did, and 7 more than Brady did. We all remember the way that Belichick would continue to score at will and run the score up, after the game was far out of reach for the opposing team. However, the Pats had the 2nd best run game in the league, something that Manning has never had the luxury of. In fact the Colts rushing rank in 04 was 11th in the league. Or we can also look at the fact that the Colts gave up 77 more points in 04 than the Pats did in 07. The defensive differences, compared with the rushing differences, took much more pressure off of Brady, and allowed him to hold onto the ball more than Peyton. Peyton’s 04 season > Brady’s 07, which was the best 2 QB seasons of all time. Overall, Manning holds the greatest single season of any QB.
The simple fact is that yes, Peyton has had some nice receivers his career, but every time something changes, consistency is what we still see. Peyton's entire career he's dealt with people giving all the credit to those around him. However, his franchise LT retires, they start a rookie, who then gets replaced by a 6th round LT, and there's no drop off. Peyton loses his Hall of Fame WR and there's no drop off. He's only had a top 10 defense 4 times in his career, and there is still no drop off. He's had players like Marcus Pollard, Jerome Pathon, and Qadry Ismail all look like great pass catchers. And most of all, without his Hall of Fame WR, and his much praised new #2 in Gonzo 2, Peyton is on pace to throw for over 5,000 yards, 33 TDs and 14 picks. We can talk about Tom Brady's lack of surrounding talent all we want, but Brady had not good, but great, defenses in the Pats dynasty. Now we both know SB rings are a team accomplishment and not an argument we can use when comparing players (only ESPN actually and idiots use that argument to determine the better player), but Brady’s defenses have been great. From Rodney Harrison, Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy to Richard Seymour, Willie McGinnest, Teddy Bruschi to Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, etc. These are great defensive players. Let’s make a list for Manning: From Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Gary Brackett to Antoine Bethea, Bob Sanders (not really), Cato June, etc. Not even close. It’s a lot easier to play offense with a great defense, as Manning always had to endure shootouts. We both can argue Brady could have put up Manning’s stats with better playmakers and a worse defense, and vice versa. But overall, these are the reasons why Peyton Manning is better than Tom Brady.
Tom Brady Argument Round 3
Good argument there. That was a very close comparison, but we’re obviously not going to give Manning the title of better QB career wise because of a 3 year comparison in which he has the slightest of edges over Brady. Oh, and I’d easily rather have Harrison/Wayne/Clark than Moss/Wayne, and you’re also using a year where Moss wasn’t even on the Patriots. Deion Branch was the Patriots best target last year, and Brady made him look all-world.
You talk about Peyton's losses, but what i continue saying is that when Peyton loses talent it’s replaced with more talent. It may not always be AS good, but damn near it. Therefore last season was the only year we saw Peyton without a top 5 WR core, and it very easily could be argued that it was his worst of his career (besides rookie yr). Brady for the majority of his career has only had a top 5 WR core 2 times. You claim that Cassel did well with that WR core, yeah, but was it even remotely close to Brady? Not at all. Oh, and Moss' numbers with Brady were FAR better than with Cassel. Not to mention, Brady's numbers with Moss vs. Culpepper's and anyone else mentioned are far better too, it’s not like Brady was some chump, his career QBRtg prior to Moss was roughly at 89. And let’s not forget Brady had his 2nd best season last year without Moss, so perhaps he’s just figured everything out and is continuing to get better.
Now, and you know I’m going to do it, we HAVE to include playoff numbers. I understand that it’s a small sample size, but it has to be talked about.
Brady - 18 gms, 395/637 (62.0%), 4,108 yds, 6.4 YPA, 85.5 QBRtg, 28 TD's (4.4%), 15 INT's (2.3%)
Peyton - 19 gms, 453/718 (63.1%), 5,389 yds, 7.5 YPA, 88.4 QBRtg, 29 TD's (4.0%), 19 INT's (2.6%)
Now, for those who want to give Peyton credit for the SB run, don’t. In the playoffs that particular season he was dreadful in those games, and carried by his running game (avg over 100 ypg) and his defense (allowed less than 100 rush ypg). His QBRtg went as followed, 71.9/39.6/79.1/81.8 - he threw for 3 TD's in 4 games, and 7 INT's, and never had a game where he threw more TD's than INT's in a single game. Pretty awful.
Im not trying to say Peyton has never been good in the playoffs, but he seems to fail quite a bit under big time pressure, while we all know what Brady is capable of. Even in the game where he got beat the hell up by the Giants in the SB (and lost), he drove the field and took the lead with 3 min left in the game by throwing a TD to Welker, he was just one upped by Eli and Plax and the game was over.
The playoff stats have evened up the past few years, but Peyton has cost his team a fair share of playoff games. I’m thinking of a few specific ones right now. A team that’s made the playoffs as much as the Colts should be winning more SB rings than 1, but that’s all they have at the moment. Brady has led his team through an entire playoff run and played well throughout a single SB run, while Peyton has yet to do that.
What puts me over the top is Brady’s ability to take care of the ball. They both throw TDs at a similar rate (5.5%), but Brady takes care of the ball much better (2.2% to 2.7%). You can say Brady takes more sacks, and that could easily be a reason why, but I would much rather take a sack than give the ball to opponents. A turnover is generally believed to be worth -50 yards for the offense. So to me, that basically means a turnover is equal to about 5 sacks. You can’t sacrifice sacks with turnovers, you’ve got to keep both down. Brady has done that throughout his career, while Manning consistently hits 16 interceptions a year.
All in all, we are watching 2 of the 3 best QB's of all-time in my opinion, but what Brady has done with less talent and equal talent, plus his playoff numbers, that pushes Brady to the top. Lastly, while Manning had a slightly better year than Brady in 04 than 07, Brady did NOT have a better running game (not even close). Edge was a workhorse for Peyton, and the Colts ran up the score quite a bit too, it’s just never talked about because no one likes them. You can use DVOA for your running game all you want, but we know that’s flawed, after all, the rankings always come out somewhat fishy/curious.
Anyways, its been real, good job and good luck! I enjoyed having this argument with you, and thank you!
Good debate here. Let’s here your opinion. Vote in the poll at the very bottom of this page with you think won this debate. Thanks for reading and good bye!
Poll is at the very bottom of this Page