Manning not the best ever

Now that we have had time to digest quarterback Peyton Manning’s legendary career, it’s time to determine if he is in fact the G.O.A.T..

In terms of numbers the five-time league MVP is unmatched. He holds the career records for wins, passing yards, and passing touchdowns which on paper should leave little room for debate. He did the most of the three things you want your quarterback to do; pass for yards, pass for touchdowns, and most importantly, win. While all those things are nice, when compared to other quarterback frequently in discussion for best ever, it just doesn’t stack up.

The first thing that needs to be addressed his Manning’s gaudy numbers. At first glance they look great but when you add context to them they start to lose their shine. Not to down play Manning’s insane football IQ or his once in a generation abilities as a passer, but what he was able to accomplished in the record books was due in large part to the era in which he played. In this day almost all 32 teams want to throw the ball all over field. If everyone is passing more than ever before then it makes sense that the better quarterbacks are going to put up numbers never seen before. In just a 10 year period we saw the season passing touchdown record fall three times after not falling once for 18 years. When put in perspective, Manning’s record 55 touchdown passes in 2013 looks less impressive than Y.A. Tittle’s then record 36 touchdown passes in 1963.

One of the biggest factors in deciding the greatest in any sport is how many championships you win. While rings are not everything, quarterback Dan Marino has none as is look at by many as a potential best ever, and quarterback Terry Bradshaw has four and is rarely looked at as the best ever, they should play a big role in determining the greatest of all time. While Manning ended his career with a walk off second championship, it doesn’t over shadow the fact that his poor play in big games cost his teams a chance at a ring. It is well documented that early in his career Manning couldn’t get it done in the playoffs against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, playing poorly and getting knocked out in both 2003 and 2004. But his poor postseason play didn’t stop there. For how great he is, Manning’s poor play in the 2009 Super Bowl, and 2012 and 2014 playoffs cost his teams a shot a ring as he threw awful interceptions late in the game in 2009 and 2012. This isn’t to say that Brady and Montana never threw games away, (Brady threw away the 2006 AFC championship game against Manning.) but it got to a point with Peyton where late in the game you almost expected him to throw a big pick in a bad place.

In short, while he may have put up crazy numbers, Peyton Manning inflated stats are product of the era he played in and other quarterbacks came up big in big moments more frequently.