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Peyton’s place in history a hot topic this Super Bowl week

peyton AP

Is Peyton Manning the best quarterback ever? That’s a question being debated this Super Bowl week, and some say the answer hinges on what he does on Sunday.

The argument for Manning is mostly based on the regular season. And when looking only at the regular season, Manning might already be the best quarterback ever. He’s the only four-time NFL Most Valuable Player, and he’s expected to become the first five-time MVP when the votes for the league’s year-end awards are announced on Saturday. If it were just a matter of judging the best quarterback ever to play in the regular season, Manning might already have the title. In fact, a writer at GQ has already boldly proclaimed that “Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback ever to set foot on the gridiron.”

But it isn’t just about the regular season. Manning may need to win a second Super Bowl ring on Sunday to establish himself as the best ever, and Woody Paige of the Denver Post has made the case that one more ring is the one more thing that Manning requires to be the best ever.

The truth is, when judging Manning’s career people are probably going to overreact either way to the result of Sunday’s game. If the Broncos win, we’ll be flooded with stories about how Manning has taken his place as the best ever. If the Broncos lose, we’ll be flooded with stories about how Manning chokes at big moments. But that’s just the nature of how NFL quarterbacks are judged. And if Manning turns in a great game in the Super Bowl, a lot of people will judge him as the best quarterback ever.

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44 Responses to “Peyton’s place in history a hot topic this Super Bowl week”
  1. jsharris54 says: Jan 27, 2014 10:18 PM

    Super Bowls are team accomplishments. Manning has had some very mediocre teams around him in Indy, it shouldn’t surprise anybody he only won one title there. (The 2006 Colts are the only team to win a Super Bowl having a defense outside of the top ten. And look at what happened to the Colts when Peyton sat out 2011.) He may not have played his best games in the playoffs, I’ll concede that, but he didn’t always get much help.

    Talent-wise, it’s hard to argue against Manning, and a few more seasons will make it hard to argue statistic-wise as well.

  2. jakec4 says: Jan 27, 2014 10:27 PM

    Johnny Unitas made the game what it is today. If it wasn’t for him the passing game would not have evolved.

  3. rushbacker says: Jan 27, 2014 10:29 PM

    Manning is indisputably the best PASSER of all time. He does need at least a second ring to lock down the best quarterback title.

  4. doe22us says: Jan 27, 2014 10:35 PM

    When you are that good people always find a narrative to suit their point to say otherwise.. oh wait he cant play in the cold, he has to win another superbowl to cement his legacy blah blah, Manning is a great one, watch and weep haters.

  5. qdog112 says: Jan 27, 2014 10:36 PM

    There is no question that Peyton is the best QB in his family, but that’s where it ends. He also has more 1 yard TD passes than anyone else.

    He’s a nice enough fellow, and his arm strength appears better than ever. The problem is, it’s never been very strong. Like Andrew Luck, down field throws is not their strong suit.

    I don’t expect it to happen, but if he riddles the Seahawks secondary, he’ll move up on my list. I’m no Peyton hater, but I see 4 ints happening for every 30 passes he throws.

    The only chance Denver has is to run effectively. Peyton cannot win this for them.

  6. mrlaloosh says: Jan 27, 2014 10:38 PM

    GOAT. Case closed.

  7. kd75 says: Jan 27, 2014 10:42 PM

    Peyton is the best i’ve ever seen in my 30+ years of watching football.

    Maybe back in the 1980s there were fewer games on TV, but I saw plenty of Joe Montana and I would take Peyton.

  8. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Jan 27, 2014 10:53 PM

    As noted, football is truly a team game – so any comparisons need to reasonably account for that huge factor.

    Is Peyton the greatest of all time? It doesn’t seem possible to say that definitively at this point, but he is on a very very short list.

    Peyton deserves praise in so many ways, win or lose this Super Bowl – and his dedication to his craft is unsurpassed. Gotta love that guy.

    Yet what weighed on his mind the most after that key post-season win, was “seeing how fast he could get a Bud Light in his mouth.” Epic.

  9. crewdawg says: Jan 27, 2014 10:58 PM

    No idea how anyone takes Peyton over Brady and Montana. Peyton has 3 picks in only 2 sb’s while Montana has zero in 4 and Brady only 2 in 5.

  10. bucfanforlife says: Jan 27, 2014 10:58 PM

    are u freaking people idiots he is a top five for sure maybe top 3 maybe even 1 I hate the mother but I realize his greatness, he is a dork, but 90% of the people commenting never played the game including me but my boys do and I can understand, but the 90% don’t know football is all about TEAM and sacrifice

  11. thepasswordis12345 says: Jan 27, 2014 11:12 PM

    Peyton’s too afraid of failure to be the best ever. Too high strung in important games. Thinks too conservatively in big moments and makes mistakes. Joe Montana had ice in his veins and never let the moment get into his head. In my mind, that’s what separates Montana as the greatest, above Peyton and all the rest.

  12. blacknole08 says: Jan 27, 2014 11:16 PM

    Manning is great… during the regular season. But when it comes time to turn it on in the playoffs he gets flustered, especially against teams with a good defense or in cold weather. Yea football is a team game but since Manning gets all the glory during the regular season he should also accept much of the blame for his teams failures in the postseason.

    Let us not forget that he was called out by a kicker or how he threw his OL under the bus.

  13. craniator says: Jan 27, 2014 11:18 PM

    It’s either Manning , Favre or Marino . . . I know a lot of people will say Brady as well , but although I still have him in the top five , I can’t rank him first.

  14. lemmetalkwouldya says: Jan 27, 2014 11:32 PM

    Greatest quarterback ever?

    Tom Brady has three rings.

    Just saying.

  15. donschmidt72 says: Jan 27, 2014 11:47 PM

    Who would you rather have Trent Dilfer or Dan Marino? That’s my point. Trent won a super bowl and Dan did not but we all know Dan was the superior QB out of the 2. Football is a team sport and to judge a QB on how many SBs they win is just moronic!!! Lets just say that Peyton throws 7 tds and no pics but beast mode explodes for 8 tds and the Seahawks win. Does that rule out Peyton for best ever? Or lets say Peyton goes 5-30-0-4 for 43 yards in the superbowl but Broncos still win does this make him the best ever cause he still won another superbowl?

  16. denbronx says: Jan 27, 2014 11:54 PM

    Broncos fan here.

    I hate to say this but I am not sure he is even in the top 3 right now. There are these two guys named John Elway and Joe Montana that I think still argueably claim that title. I say Elway because he went to 5 SBs….and three of them he carried on his back. Then what about even Tom Brady who has went to 5 SBs as well and won 3? And I HATE giving Brady any credit.

    I love Manning but he has to win this one and maybe even one more to be labeled the GOAT. Right now you can make a case for 3 or 4 QBs but Manning needs to add Lombardis to his legacy before we get carried away.

    One thing is for sure though, Manning is a master at what he does. He has had his fair share of doubters at times but there isn’t any other QB I would want to build a team around. I would really love to see him win another one.

  17. nyjetsfan08 says: Jan 28, 2014 12:06 AM

    No way I’d ever take Peyton over Brady. Not a chance in hell. Here’s my top 5 right now:

    Starr
    Unitas
    Montana
    Brady
    Manning

    After that, it’s tough. Who to put in the top 10? Steve Young for sure. Maybe Kurt Warner. Marino. I’m not putting Brees there. And Rodgers may be there one day but he’s not top 10.

    Regarding Unitas, both Luckman and Baugh have said, this was late 60s, that Unitas was the best QB ever (yes, Graham, in their eyes, was not better). Baugh also said that if Namath would have played 10 years or more healthy (again, late 60s), he would surpass Unitas. We all know that didn’t happen, though. It’s hard to argue against Starr and Unitas. They were the original Brady and Manning.

  18. johninthewest says: Jan 28, 2014 12:11 AM

    At least Peyton shows up to Pro Bowls and watches Super Bowl’s on tv.

    Where’s Brady????

  19. patriotinvasion says: Jan 28, 2014 12:19 AM

    Patriots fan here willing to concede that a win Sunday puts Manning over Brady even with one less ring. I’d say Manning’s records along with multiple Super Bowl wins would supersede Brady having 3, of which all came with a very good defense. Now, a 4th ring for Brady before it’s over resets the debate to where it currently stands, but until then, Manning has a golden opportunity this weekend and we’ll see if he can take advantage of it.

    As for where Montana, Elway, and others fit in with these two, that debate will go on forever.

  20. schetm says: Jan 28, 2014 12:24 AM

    Not only is Manning not the greatest QB in NFL history, he isn’t even the best QB in Colts history.

    That distinction belongs to Johnny Unitas. Unitas was the first passer’s passer. Without him, the game would be radically different. Additionally, Unitas’ championship total still exceeds Manning’s.

    I would also list Joe Montana, Tom Brady, and John Elway as greater QBs.

  21. statlaw says: Jan 28, 2014 12:34 AM

    “But that’s just the nature of how NFL quarterbacks are judged. ” just another talking head stupid statement from A Florio plebe. Even though I am A long time Montana fan, Peyton is simply the greatest QB ever, regardless of the outcome of THIS Super Bowl. We fans know football is a TEAM game, and I doubt there are more than a few that would line up the same 21 other players on offense and defense that would choose a QB other than Peyton in any game – especially when the qualifier was having at least a training camp to work with the rest of the team (although in a pick up game, I’d still take Montana!).

  22. campcouch says: Jan 28, 2014 12:41 AM

    If it’s numbers you’re looking for,then what’s important? Stats,SB wins? MVPs? Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw with 4 titles? Brett Favre and Dan Marino with records?Big Ben or Phil Simms?Even contemporary players like Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Those guys have one each as well and honestly I doubt they’ll get another. Tom Brady has 3 rings but not the gaudy numbers. I don’t think it’s possible to nail down who is the greatest QB of all time. RBs and WRs are easy,due to the position and individuality of the positions,it’s easy to crunch their numbers. With the way offenses are now,QB records will be easily broken and in 10 years,we may be calling Andrew Luck or Phillip Rivers the best. There’s just no way to set the standard,but it will always make for great debates.

  23. hotdog113 says: Jan 28, 2014 1:00 AM

    You can’t compare quarterbacks over era’s. Rules changes over the years have made it easier for passing stats to be elevated. Imagine Dan Marino if he had been a rookie in 2004.

    That being said, the title of greatest quarterback ever will always be held by Johnny Unitas. 1959, 32 TD, 14 Int. Back in the day when defenses could actually play the game and pass protection was harder.

    19>18.

  24. dickjagger says: Jan 28, 2014 1:16 AM

    Is Manning one of the best ever? Maybe? There are so many things to factor into that though? He didn’t play in the days where QB were protected by rules, or when guys had to shovel coal or work other jobs in the off season to make ends meet. Hell, even Montana played in a tougher NFL during the eighties. As for this bogus narrative that Manning didn’t have talent around him I call BULL! I’ve seen all his playoff flops and they were due to stupid picks and simply not doing enough to help the team win. Football is a team game but the QB is the general and must put the team on his dhoulders.

  25. dickjagger says: Jan 28, 2014 1:19 AM

    I agree winning on Sunday will certainly help cement that, but a Montana he is not. Rings over stats. Either way it should be a good game.

  26. osiris33 says: Jan 28, 2014 1:19 AM

    Peyton is the best ever and he doesn’t need another ring to prove it.

    Which is good because he’s going to get stoned by an all time great Seahawks defense on Sunday.

  27. sf69ers says: Jan 28, 2014 1:21 AM

    Will always remember it as Montana/Walsh, Brady/Belichick, and Manning/Manning. Great debate who is greatest quarterback of all time, but Manning is the greatest player/coach of all time.

  28. All-American Voltron says: Jan 28, 2014 1:29 AM

    If he wins, best season by a QB ever. But I don’t see how 2 out of 3 Super Bowls, 1 game over.500 playoff record and not one career stats record gets you beyond Tom Brady or Joe Montana (among others)?

  29. elliottcovert says: Jan 28, 2014 1:30 AM

    Manning’s performance in the Superbowl against the Bears wasn’t amazing. Maybe it was overshadowed by the excitement of the thrilling win over the Patriots in that year’s AFC championship game, but it didn’t really stand out.

    Manning has struggled in the playoffs even when his defenses have preformed well in individual playoff games. His Colts didn’t even post more than 20 points in a playoff game until 2003 and they got shut out by the Jets in 2002.

    He’s an amazing player whom I admire a lot, but the truth is that the playoffs have been an overall weakness which becomes even starker when compared to his unparalleled success in the regular season.

  30. bobman2 says: Jan 28, 2014 1:43 AM

    I think MDS left out another alternative ending: Manning plays a very good game against a great D, but Denver still loses. The result: The internet explodes with a million morons crowning him the choker-king. Because even incredibly obtuse people can learn to type. Just like chimps.

  31. nineball26 says: Jan 28, 2014 1:53 AM

    if Peyton was top 5 he would STILL be in Indy

    NUFF SAID

  32. nineball26 says: Jan 28, 2014 1:57 AM

    I’ll be real surprised if he makes it the full game come the 2nd, real surprised, Hawks have pressure coming out their cleats and thats prolly right where Manning will be, UNDER THEM!

    you folks just dont understand, this isnt a club that gets caught up in all the drama and hype of the BIG GAME then chokes when it gets tight..

    no no, this is a team on a mission, and thier mission isnt just a single ring, a hit and run one and done, nope these guys have a serious ten year plan, the nig mission, and that plan includes running over any team that stands in the way..

    GO HAWKS!!!

  33. tennfan says: Jan 28, 2014 2:14 AM

    When I read, see or even hear ALL of this, Peyton did this and Peyton has done that, I just remember back a few years and back then it was all about the same things that you are hearing now. He was the greatest, never been anybody like Joe Montana in all of the years of the NFL leading up to the Joe Montana era. Now it is Peyton Manning, that is the “big man on the block” and is the most brilliant Q B, to ever play the game. The only thing that has changed is the names. and next year or in a couple more, years and it won’t be long there will be someone else, that is the most brilliant Q B that ever played in the NFL , or so the story goes. Think about this, it hasn’t been that long ago that Dan Marino , was also another ” Big Man on the Block” in his time. And the beat goes on, and the beat goes on. While everybody (especially sports writers) are trying to make such a big thing about Peyton and his stats, I will agree on one thing, Peyton while @ Tennessee, did put up some stats, but the last time I checked. Stats does not win football games, only T D’s does that. For those that think Peyton Manning is the best Q B to ever played the game of football in H S, college, and the NFL, then check and see just how many National Championships that Peyton took Tennessee too ? While you are at it, check out all of the SEC Championships that Peyton won while at Tennessee . It was Tee Martin, not Peyton Manning that took Tennessee 2 the National Championship and won it . Just remember, Peyton is just like any other Q B that has ever played the game of football, where it may be in H S, College, or in the N F L. Peyton is only as good as the players that he has surrounding him, other wise he is just another ordinary Q B. Do not get me wrong, I do not dislike Peyton Manning, I just don’t like all of the PR, that the Sports people keep trying to shove down people like me throat. That a lone can turn a lot of people off and even cause them to start to dislike a person, no matter who the person may or may not be. Like I said before, yardage stats do not win football games, that you get from moving up and down the field between the red zones, but not into the end zones. I have seen and I am sure you have also, some QB that can run up yardage (for example) 450-575 years a game and still lose the game, and that is just what I am referring to that yardage does not win games, but all of that yardage sure makes that Q B, look good. This is just MHO, if the team has a good R B, then the Q B is not going to have all of those big throwing yardage stats, because the Q B, isn’t going to have to be doing all of that throwing in the first place, correct ? The beat goes on and the beat goes on.

  34. backdapack4evr says: Jan 28, 2014 4:37 AM

    Peyton’s place is stuck in the choke hold!

  35. joetoronto says: Jan 28, 2014 4:49 AM

    Those who think Manning is the best ever must be 30 years old or younger.

  36. sidepull says: Jan 28, 2014 7:19 AM

    Monatana all day long. Different era, different rules, Defenders would have ripped Mannings head off. That big head is protected now as are his receivers by the new NFL rules that favor QB longevity.

  37. harveyredman says: Jan 28, 2014 8:42 AM

    jsharris54 says: Jan 27, 2014 10:18 PM

    Super Bowls are team accomplishments. Manning has had some very mediocre teams around him in Indy, it shouldn’t surprise anybody he only won one title there.
    _______________________

    Funny how the bad “team” around him didn’t affect him when he was routinely awarded with a 1st round bye. Apologists have to overlook that fact.

    If his team stunk, why did they routinely make 1st and 2nd seed? Why did their “suckiness” only matter when they stepped on to the field in their own domed stadium against a wildcard team? Because – Peyton routinely saves his worst game for the playoffs.
    Not what you want out of the GOAT, is it? Dude has traditionally sucked balls in the playoffs.

    Contrast that with a Montana who was unstoppable come playoff and crunch time. Only two times I saw him lose he was injured and both those hits would have resulted in “roughing the passer” calls and drive extending first downs in the “pass happy” league Peyton thrives in.

    Does anyone really think Peyton is going to have a great SB? C’mon! More likely he turns the ball over 5 times. IF, and I mean a big IF he has a huge game, then he earns the belt.

    Until that, Montana is the GOAT. No contest. And I grew up a Dallas fan…

  38. animaux7 says: Jan 28, 2014 9:28 AM

    He is not “the best ever.” No quarterback is “the best ever” as there’s too many ways to quantify what “the best ever” is. How do you measure it? It’s not championships as we’re not talking a solo sport (like golf) so you are dependent on teammates. Stats? The game has changed so much that discounts lots of good players from 50 or 60 years ago.

  39. piemasteruk says: Jan 28, 2014 9:30 AM

    Seattle have the best pass defence in the league and maybe one of the best in recent history. A ‘good’ performance by Manning on Sunday might be 250 yards, 2TDs and 1 INT. If Denver win on Sunday it won’t be because Manning single-handedly torched Seattle for a bazillion yards, it will be because they play smart, taking what the defence gives them, playing good defence themselves, and being prepared to grind out a result. Anyone who expects another 400 yard performance or, even more so, think she *needs* such a performance to prove he ‘doesn’t choke in the big games’ is an idiot.

  40. jolink653 says: Jan 28, 2014 9:45 AM

    The greatest QB of all time wouldn’t have one of the worst playoff records in league history. And I’m tired of everyone raving about how great he’s been this year. Look at what he has to work with. You could argue that all four of his receivers could be #1 receivers on a lot of other teams, and he had a really solid running game and a great offensive line, not to mention the main reason for their passing success is because of a pick play that the league really needs to make illegal because it should be OPI. You could plug half of the QBs in the league and have similar success.

    Is he great? Absolutely; and I think he’s definitely top 10 of all time and probably top 5. But I don’t think he’s the best of all time

  41. indyshepherd says: Jan 28, 2014 9:55 AM

    My happy thought about the SB would be Peyton pulling his own personal Joe Flacco over the top of Sherman’s head. Then Demaryius spiking the ball in Sherman’s face for the winning TD… cementing Peyton’s legacy.

  42. mrpbnh says: Jan 28, 2014 10:24 AM

    How can anyone compare Quarterbacks of today to quarterbacks or yesteryear. You have to remember that as years have gone by the NFL has made it much easier for offenses to excel due to all of the different restrictions that are put on the defenses. When guys like Montana, Unitas, etc, etc, those quarterbacks were fair game. There were no rules of hitting too high or low. There were no defenseless receivers. What defenses could do back then made all the more difficult for quarterbacks, receivers, and offenses as a whole to achieve success. A lot of the prolific passers today would fail in the situations that the quarterbacks 20 years and further back went through. There is just too much of a difference from then to now to make that comparison.

  43. forsbergler says: Jan 28, 2014 12:18 PM

    My Top 5

    Manning
    Montana
    Elway
    Marino
    Aikman

  44. johnsonjjohnson says: Feb 10, 2014 5:37 PM

    PM is a big game choke artist. i am a stealer’s fan and big ben has 2 out of three sb wins. eli has 2 out of 2 sb wins etc etc
    if it wasnt for pm playing the worst qb i the hisory (REX GROSSMAN)of the sb pb wouldn’t even have 1 sb win!!!!!

    NOTE Peyton Manning has the worst QB rating of any qb in the playoffs and sb’s!!

    THAT IS THE FACTS

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