Everybody has been talking about Peyton Manning's career for weeks, and the cacophony is deafening. It's only a murmur when Manning does well -- read, wins -- but then when he loses, especially as one-sidedly as in Sunday's Super Bowl XLVIII, it's loud enough to peel paint.
Now, as before, Manning is looked at by many as a loser, his 1-2 record in Super Bowls damning a career overloaded with incredible feats. Now, as before, it is faulty if not downright outrageous to consider Manning's career at or above the level of Tom Brady or Joe Montana, they say.
I don't think so, for many reasons. My best reason is that taking 240 professional football games and boiling them down into three seems a fool's errand. And this is precisely what Manning's critics do.
Manning just came off the best season a quarterback has ever had, guiding the best offense in NFL history. Denver scored 606 points this season, a record. But go ahead now and wash that away because that was the regular season and these are the playoffs where men are men.
Men like Joe Montana, whose three Super Bowl MVP awards place him in his own class of legendship. Montana was 16-7 in 23 playoff appearances; Manning in the same number of games is 11-12.
And then there's Brady, a first-team All-Pro twice to Manning's seven times. While passer rating is not by any stretch a perfect stat, it is useful when there are large margins at work. Brady's rating has finished in the Top 5 three times. Manning, 10.
Ah, but Brady wins. He's 3-2 in Super Bowls, way better than 1-2. Of course all five of Brady's Super Bowls were decided by four points or less so he could easily be 5-0 or 0-5 because of things completely outside his control.
This point -- what is and what isn't within a quarterback's control -- is paramount to any discussion about a player's performance. One must do one's best to isolate the quarterback's play from that of his teammates. For example, Adam Vinatieri's outstanding late-game kicking from 2001-2004 should mean NOTHING in any analysis of Brady's performance. Brady had nothing to do with that.
So what's right? What's the best way to do this?
Football makes this harder than, say, baseball, because of the complicated and sometimes uncertain roles all the players have on any given play. Is an incomplete pass the quarterback's fault or the receiver's? What was the receiver's route? What had they practiced? Usually we don't know.
I settle for this: The quarterback's job is to accrue yards and first downs and ultimately touchdowns or field goals. Points are a byproduct of the effort of moving the ball. Wins are way down the road. Does a quarterback on a given play, a pass play, succeed at gaining yards, or moving the chains? If he does this often enough points will come, and, likely, so will wins.
But wins fail badly to pinpoint how well or poorly a quarterback played. There's too much else going on. There's too much the quarterback can't be blamed for, or credited.
A quarterback is not like a chef, or an artist, where the final product is entirely of their own making. If you wake up tomorrow morning and make eggs Benedict, it's up to you whether or not they turn out. You're on your own.
This is team sports, and in football dozens of other people help determine whether the best players win or lose.
With his Super Bowl loss Sunday, Manning set a record for the most playoff losses in NFL history with 12. Of course you can't have more than one of those per year. Manning loses a lot of playoff games because he plays in a lot of playoff games. Manning also throws a lot of interceptions because he throws a lot of passes, and that's because no coach in his right mind would employ Peyton Manning and not have him throw a lot of passes.
Manning is one of the greats, if not the greatest of all time. He has been one of the best if not the best player in his sport almost every year since he entered the league. His teams are always good, or great.
At 1-2 Manning's Super Bowl record isn't great. But his 7.25 net yards per pass attempt is the best mark in NFL history. And as silly as you might think this sounds, to me that's a way more important indicator than his record is.
Because when deconstructed a quarterback's job, really, is to gain yards on plays. And no one has ever done that better.
Deconstructing the quarterback's job
Please enter your comments below.
I was willing to annoint Manning #1, but winning the big one means a lot. Manning still is one of the best, but so was Sonny Jurgenson, Dan Marino, Warren Moon, Jim Kelly...The one question to answer is who would you want on your team in the biggest game? 'Nuf said.
The object of the sport is to win the game, not have the best "Net Yards per Pass attempt." It is really simple and you are missing that.
When using parentheses, the period is to be used outside of the last parenthesis. ie: Something (xyx).
TO CLARIFY MAYBE YOU SHOULD ASK THESE...
Maybe to correctly classify Manning, Brady and Montana one may ask these simple questions... How much is detracted from Manning's "greatness" by his ATROCIOUS Super Bowl performances when compared to Brady's and Montana's? In my opinion it would be fair to say that in THESE games one would have to agree that he CLEARLY AND CERTAINLY WAS NOT as good as Brady and NOT EVEN CLOSE TO MONTANA'S super bowl performances. And if we are allowed to ask ourselves the following, it gets even worse for Manning... yes... Lets ask ourselves this; Say the Buffalo Bills were in the super bowl tomorrow and miraculously Bills fans had the power to vote for ONE of these 3 "GREATS" to be OUR SUPER BOWL quarterback for this one game, who would we choose? As the "SILLY SCHOPP" might say.... now that's INTERESTING.
I don't know if Montana would win in a landslide or Brady could steal the vote from him but one thing is for sure Manning would lose this vote embarrassingly.
WHOS THE GREATEST NOW???
Deconstructing the quarterback's job
You may be able to get the lemmings around here to buy into this atrocious pov of yours about Peyton. hopefully you are just trying to bring attention to your show and get people calling in otherwise this is one of the dumbest things ever written you can spin it anyway you want however comparing him to montana,brady or even bradshaw is a joke. You know the qb gets all the credit and all the blame because its their job to lead their team to victory! Not just have good stats! Please and your a member of Mensa? Really?
"A little ham and eggs comin' at ya."
an amazing level of arrogance!
Deconstructing is something you like to do in an effort to make your gigantic ego shine through. Thank you for educating all of us mindless lemmings that look to you for clarification on what we should be thinking. I am especially impressed with your use of the word cacophony! The fact is that Peyton Manning is one of the greatest of all time. On that there should be no debate, but results in the biggest of games do matter. When one tries to decipher between the greatest few of all time, performances in the BIG game can be a clear and decisive way of separating qb's. Manning was inaccurate on a number of throws. He had no answer for the Seahawks defense. He is not solely responsible but is just as responsible as the other qb's were for leading their teams to victory on the same stage. That should absolutely be a defining factor when trying to decide who Is the greatest of all time. That however is the most subjective of all classifications. Nevertheless thank you for sharing your brilliance with us all!
NOT THE GREATEST
Mannings great. Probably top three. But he's not the greatest ever. Titles count. If they didnt matter we wouldn't have a playoff system. Montana won all 4 Superbowls he played in and was mvp 3 times. 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions in those games. At the time the NFC was by far the dominant conference with the Redskins, Giants, and Bears fielding some of the greatest championship teams in the history of the league during the 80's. Montana had to go through all of them just to get to the title game. Ill take rings over records any day of the week. Montana also made 8 pro bowls. He was a great regular season QB and a great playoff QB.
Brady is better
Take out the years the players won the super bowl
Brady 9-8 only quarterback ever to have a winning record among the greats when not considering their superbowl winning years.
I like the article
It's well laid out and a good argument for Manning.
But how did Montana only make the playoffs in 8 of 15 seasons with 7 playoff losses and 4 Superbowl championships? Of course you can't have more than one playoff loss per year.
BRADY DOESNT COUNT
Brady is a cheater. The Lance Armstrong of NFL QB's. His record is irrelevant.
No one is perfect, I guess...
It doesn't matter how good you are when you turn the ball over. In a big game like that, the quarterbacks job is to not turn it over. Some just don't get it, even the great ones who lost because of them. Turnovers deflate an entire team as was witnessed in Sunday's embarrassment by Denver.
I Really Do Not Understand
Why do you, Mr. Schopp, have such an obsession with the Peyton Manning legacy? Okay, we get it, you really like Peyton, and he has certain stats that allow you to represent that he is better than some quarterbacks with more wins in big games than him. Okay, you are the smartest person on the planet. You win, Peyton is best. He's a god. Long live Peyton Manning. As far as why Peyton's teams have not won as many super bowls as some other teams, I will quote a very smart person, not as smart as Schopp of course, but none the less pretty smart. Aristotle once said, "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts", which to translate for some out there, means the other players on his team sucked compared to players on other teams.
What's Unfair in this...
I would place Manning behind only Montana, and Brady (who had the help of Belichick's video cheating), with Elway right there too -- which hardly makes Peyton a flop. But here's where all the armchair critics are unfair to the guy: he never had a great team around him, never as sound overall as those 49er or Patriot Super Bowl winners. The Colts were never great, especially on defense, sometimes only average, a couple of good players carrying the whole unit -- and even now, this Bronco team was vulnerable defensively all season, like last (couldn't defend Flacco's Hail-Mary at the end). The fact is, every time, when Peyton gets to the playoffs, his team can't win unless he shoots out the lights -- that has not been true even of Montana (and how far is Brady getting now that his supporting cast is mediocre or injured). Manning's team was physically overmatched last Sunday, no QB in history could have rescued them. I wish they'd all done more, we didn't get the game we should have. But the NFL, the sports media, the fans have been lucky to have this guy -- a more classy individual than most of them deserve.
No QB behind center for Denver was going to win Sunday
Let's not kid ourselves into believing that none of what happened Sunday was Peyton Manning's fault. He certainly did not play well. He didn't play horribly either considering what he and the rest of the Denver Broncos were up against. He does shoulder some blame as any QB does in a loss of this magnitude but any QB would have suffered the same fate. You could have put Brees, Rodgers, Brady, Steve Young even Joe Montana behind center for Denver and like Bulldog said yesterday "the most clutch QB ever would have gotten their face caved in going up against this Powerhouse that is the Seattle Seahawks. This loss was inevitable and the problem was not how Peyton Manning and the rest of the Broncos lost this because they were completely overmatched and overpowered. The problem for Peyton Manning is all of the other post season losses he has had against teams that couldn't even scratch the surface of how good this Seattle team is. These are losses to teams other than the Patriots of last decade like the 2002 Jets, 2005 Steelers, 2007 Chargers and the 2010 Jets. An argument can be made here that if you truly are the one and only greatest and not just one of the greatest, you will beat these teams. The fact remains however that Peyton Manning lost to them. Was it all his fault? Probably not. He did however shoulder more of the blame for those losses because he controlled so much more of the pace of the game. Even against a very good Saints offense in the Superbowl 4 years ago, the Colts were in that game until the last 5 or 10 minutes when Manning threw an ill timed interception that buried the Colts for good in that game. Again though another example of how Peyton Manning controlled the pace of the game throughout but somehow found a way to a loss. This past Sunday he did not control the pace of the game and almost none of that game was in his control against a superior opponent. The real problem for Manning again was not what happened 48 hrs ago. It is what has happened against much lesser competition over the last 11 years that hurts him the most.
Too much fantasy football and card collecting for Mr. Mike.
Winning is what pro sports are all about. Schopp, puleeese!
"The Greatest" Designation is Illusory ... But Montana is Closest
Peyton Manning is a superb QB & outstanding person, and his accomplishments place him among the finest to have ever played QB in the NFL -- no sensible person disputes that. However, he is NOT "the Greatest" QB the game has ever known -- not even close -- and no sensible, honest, or unbiased/objective person believes Peyton is "the best ever." The first analytical flaw in the effort to anoint Peyton as "the Greatest of all time" is the faulty premise that one exists. It doesn't -- largely because the sport has NOT remained STATIC over time (the game, the rules, coaching strategies, the athletes, training methods, nutrition, equipment, etc. have continuously EVOLVED over the entire history of the NFL -- even starkly from decade to decade) such that you are grasping at "apples to oranges" comparisons when seeking to declare Peyton Manning, or any QB, as "the Greatest ever." The QBs of today who put up video game statistics have substantial advantages over QBs who played 20-30 years ago (e.g., QB protective rules placing them off-limits for most hits, WR friendly rules enabling more completions, spread offenses that position QBs in the shotgun & pistol [which facilitate quicker passes and further minimize physical blows to the QB], substantially reduced emphasis on the running game, QB use of gripping gloves to help them throw successfully in cold and wet weather, etc.). Likewise, those QBs from 20-30 years ago also enjoyed advantages over QBs from the 1950s-1960s who never played in perfect weather condition indoor stadiums and who were frequently allowed to be abused, bloodied, and injured (resulting in truncated seasons and careers) by numerous "cheap shots" after the whistle ... and those QBs in turn enjoyed advantages over QBs in the early days of the NFL where athletes had to play both offense and defense! Thus it is not surprising that every generation has been able to produce standard bearing QBs with ever-increasing gaudy "statistics" that can be selectively invoked and packaged into an asserted claim as "the greatest." Given all the evolution of the sport, it is not the least bit surprising that some statistics of an Otto Graham may make him appear "better" than a Sammy Baugh ... and some statistics of a Johnny Unitas or a Bart Starr can make them appear "better" than Otto Graham; in turn, certain statistics of Roger Staubach and Terry Bradshaw can make them appear "better" than Unitas or Starr, and the succeeding generation of great QBs including Joe Montana, John Elway, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly produced prolific statistics that eclipsed those of Staubach and Bradshaw. And now we have Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees re-writing the record books as the game continues to evolve. Someday, barring injury, QBs like Andrew Luck, Colin Kaepernick, and Russell Wilson will probably produce statistical records that surpass those of the current generation of long-established championship QBs, and their apologists will no doubt clamor for the coronation of their favorite as "the greatest" ever. Pure folly given the shifting paradigms and evolution of the sport. BUT "IF" a "greatest ever" NFL QB "must" be designated thus far in league history, Joe Montana is the closest thing to that illusory ideal. He EXCELLED in the regular season AND in the playoffs; he overcame significant injuries that almost ended his career on more than one occasion (disc/back surgery early in career, throwing elbow surgery in mid career, bruised sternum and broken finger on passing hand late in career); he was a complete QB who could scramble and pass with precision; he was the utterly unflappable "Joe Cool" who NEVER panicked, had ice water in his veins, and who was PERFECT at protecting the football in FOUR Super Bowls (zero interceptions) and in LEADING his team to victory EVERY OPPORTUNITY he had in the biggest game of all. And before getting to the Super Bowl, he first had to navigate through fierce physical NFC teams (Giants, Bears, Cowboys, Redskins), and he overcame physical abuse and punishment to a degree that the QBs of today NEVER encounter. Most of all, he was AT HIS CLUTCH BEST on the biggest stage. As others have said, if the Bills were magically in a Super Bowl today and we could have 1 QB among Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady -- or anyone for that matter -- who would you pick? Montana hands down. Finally, to the extent that Mr. Shopp perceives animus against Peyton Manning, I suspect MOST (but not all) of the vitriol is NOT prompted by Peyton Manning himself. Ironically, I believe it is actually largely a product of/reaction to Mr. Shopp's presentation. Because he insists on naming a "greatest QB ever" while ignoring the impossibility of quantifying that due to the evolutionary factors previously cited; (2) because he insists on ramming his opinion down everyone's throat and repeatedly suggests those who disagree with him are "stupid," "ignorant," "biased" and/or "haters" against Manning -- despite fair contrarian evidence they present for consideration; (3) because he smugly bullies, verbally abuses, and shouts down/talks over/cuts off callers who disagree with him, (4) because he even presumes to be omniscient and uniquely capable of seeing into certain opposing callers' souls while imputing ill motive to them; (5) because he insists upon manipulating certain statistics that are most favorable to his position (e.g., now in the aftermath of the Broncos' SB XLVIII debacle, we grasp at new straws to define the "best ever" QB as the one who possesses the best "yards per pass/completion" -- what about a backup QB who throws 1 dump-off pass that suddenly goes for an 80 yard TD ... is that person suddenly the "greatest" QB ever because he has an 80 yard pass completion average? ... or will the selection criteria again be re-engineered to exclude such QBs and guarantee selection of the favorite?); and (6) because he seemingly NEVER cedes the legitimacy of an opposing point of view ... for all of these reasons, I believe that most seemingly "anti-Peyton" rhetoric is actually more a reaction against the antagonism and proverbial "sharp stick in the eye" Mr. Shopp delivers to his listeners -- not any failure to recognize Peyton as the quality QB he is. People who have played football and who genuinely know the sport fully recognize Peyton's quality; for most, that's good enough. But they also know that Peyton, while among the best of his era, is nonetheless NOT "the greatest of all time," and they resent being oversold a false bill of goods with meaningless contrived statistical gyrations. They also can do without being nastily belittled and bullied.
Montana is part fiction
Everyone knows Montana won 3 Super Bowls, but he could very easily be 2-1. In the Super Bowl versus Cincinnati, Montana threw a game ending and losing interception to Cincy Def back Billups in the end zone - but Billups dropped the pass even though it hit him right in the chest! Next play, TD to John Taylor! And Montana is veiwed as the greatest. wow!
Schopp's philosophically mistaken approach
Where Schopp will always be wrong is that he makes the fun of sports totally unenjoyable. Trying to find the 'right, objective answer' in subjective debates is a fool's errand because...there is none. It's philosophically impossible to have a definitive answer on such a topic.
Who's the best? That's all opinion. If you think it's Manning and that helps you sleep at night? Good for you. But realize, this topic has the same importance as 7-year olds arguing over which Transformer is "awesomer".
What is for sure is that Schopp's obsession with being right is not only misguided, but reeks of arrogance...and doesn't contain the near the intelligence he thinks it does. And that makes for unenjoyable radio.
Move on from this topic before you lose listeners.
This guy lead the entire league in passing and got the Bronco's to the Super Bowl.He carried the team on his back.They had some injuries on defense,CB & LB,and looked nerveous from the start.Seahawks played great defense and Manning had a bad game.He's still on of the best QB's all time,win or lose SB!Just getting your team there is great in it's self.The Bill's haven't even made the playoff's in 14yrs!!!!!
A win is a win a loss is a loss
Well it true that manning loss the game for denver. But he has a super bowl win. Every team so far he has played for has made the playoffs. isn't that how you rank a qb in this league. How it gose you got to be in it to win it.
Need to do a little more homework Schopp...
I don't think that anyone can argue that Peyton's regular season stats are without equal. He does, however, have that one little nagging issue...the sub .500 winning % in the playoffs, which is far below Montana, Brady, Elway, and a few others with similar experience in the league.
RE: "an amazing level of arrogance!"
I love it when the gist of a commenter's criticism of an article has more to do with the writer's perceived "arrogance" than the actual argument presented. Why shouldn't he have used "cacophony" in this context? It means exactly what he intended it to mean. And perhaps I missed it in the wave of your sarcasm, but it seems to me that your use of "decipher" is just as an egregious example of "arrogance" by your stated logic.
"His teams are always great..." NOT!
The Colts were remarkably mediocre on defense -- they won when Peyton threw like crazy. These Broncos were great only on offense, which leaves the other half of the team, not great or near it on defense. I don't say this as a knock on him, but the opposite. He never went to the playoffs or Bowl with a solid two-way team like these other legendary QBs had. He had to carry his team, and in the end it wasn't enough, and so his post-season record. But when I get sports radio guys claiming (in their juvenile fascination with trendy analytics) that wins aren't really what it's all about for players or teams, but instead fantasy league stats, I know I need to listen to different sports radio guys. I mean the ones who actually understand sports.
IS SCHOPP "INSULTING" ?
Judging by most reactions to "SCHOPP'S SILLYness Columns", I believe one is able to accurately define him by his idiosyncracies such as ignorance, arrogance, condescendence, selfishness, narrow mindedness, and offensive nature. Also That famous SCHOPP "brilliance" that he insists he possesses, he utilizes skillfully in a symphony of "cacophony" to positively annoy listeners and readers to a level of frustration that mostly illicits responses of hatred and anger quite apparent in the disrespectful posts responding to his "SCHOPP SILLnes" columns. This sportsfans, is the definition of how INSULTING Schopp really is. Shame on WGR for perpetuating this offensive amateur that has NO WHERE else to go if it weren't for WGR. Schopp is the biggest reason of many of why WGR is MEDIOCRE AND UNPROFESSIONAL.
re: Montana is part fiction
When you sober up even you will realize that Montana is part of HISTORY and DEFINES what great performances on THE BIGGEST STAGE actually look like! Can you name another qb in NFL history who performed better than him ON THE BIGGEST STAGE??????? Certainly NOT FICTION, CERTAINLY HISTORICAL FACT. Yea he "hit" an obscure db with the ball moments before he wrote history, so what?? My advice to you is... PLEASE STOP ABUSING ALCOHOL!!!
To truly be great
you have to be great when it matters most. Lots of people can be great at times. Some are great a lot of the time. But the best of the best are great when it matters most, and that is the measure of true 'greatness'. The fact is, manning has not been great when it matters most, in fact, he's been pretty bad in most of the big games he's been in. That information matters, especially when you compare him to other great qbs. And the usual defense of 'well he's on inferior teams' just doesn't hold water, especially in his latest failure. It's not like he was working wonders against the seahawks while the rest of his team held him back - he was completely ineffective. But when your argument doesn't hold water, I guess you have to ignore facts to continue to hold your incorrect beliefs. Manning is a great qb, he's had a great career, put up incredible stats, and has won a superbowl, but due to the fact he has failed in quite a few of his biggest games, he doesn't hold up to other great qbs like joe Montana. Sure, Montana wasn't flawless in big games, but he was clearly more successful in big games throughout his career than Manning has been. And that matters, apparently more to some people than others, but to completely disregard it is nonsense.
This is an excellent example
of why the statistics professors at WGR are so laughable. Schopp states that the qbs job boils down to getting yards on plays, so manning having the highest yards per play is proof positive that he's the best qb ever. Why is this thinking, at the very least flawed, or more likely, completely incorrect? Because it doesn't take all the variables into account. Examples: A better qb might not need to throw the ball downfield as much as another qb who is constantly playing from behind and therefore facing more prevent/zone defenses. Or if a qb has great yds per pass numbers but throws 8 interceptions in a game, should we ignore the interceptions? What if a qb only averages 5 yards a pass, but never throws an incompletion, is he worse than manning because his yrds per pass is inferior? These are extreme examples, but if your iq even approaches triple digits, hopefully you can see my point, and understand why those who worship statistics without truly understanding them, like schopp, sometimes come to incredibly inaccurate conclusions.
yes he's is.
Insulting isnt the word for it. We be trying to gets some information on the sabres or the bills. And they would come up with the thought of the day mess. then when people call into the show. its like they got the answer to every thing and they don't. He have call anyone who he don't like on our team a bum. All of us fans are idoits, because they know more than he dose. the list gose on and on. I don't have to lower myself to that level to get my point across to people. All we want is answers to what are we going to do about our teams. I careless if bulldog change his name. or paul thinks he is a goon. What the hell that got to do with sports. for lol.
Apples & Oranges
You cant compare Peyton Manning to Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath or even Joe Montana. Its like comparing apples and oranges. Times are different. Conditions are different. The opposition - competition is different. As much as people would like to -you just cant do it.