Who Needs to Win More, Brady or Manning?

Manning versus Brady
Image courtesy of Seekonk Speedway

The 2014 AFC Championship pits Peyton Manning against Tom Brady…again. The debate swirls this week as to which quarterback needs to win this game more, Manning or Brady. Here are two quotes, one from each side of the debate.

Manning Needs It

“I believe that the football community as a whole will continue to keep Peyton Manning one tier below the best of the best if he doesn’t win another Super Bowl.” – Lyle Graversen on Fansided.

Brady Needs It

“Sunday, Tom Brady has a chance to not only end the never-ending-debate of Manning vs. Brady, but he takes one more step to restoring his legacy as one of the great post season players in NFL history.” – Dylan Smith on ChowderandChampions.com


Regarding Manning, I’m not sure the football community views him one tier below the best of the best. The guy set the record for TDs in a season, saw it broken and then set it again – and this time with the total yards record tacked on. He’s won multiple MVPs, but gets dinged because he has one lonely Super Bowl ring. Ridiculous. That a QB’s greatness is determined by a singular game is absurd (more on this notion later). Manning is one of the all-time greats.

Regarding Brady, he has two MVPs and three Super Bowl rings. He broke Manning’s TD record (only to cede it this year). He also has more playoff wins, though he’s “struggled” as of late. He is just as great in the regular season as in the post season. Again, he gets a boost because of his SB rings. Even if he doesn’t win this weekend, he is still one of the all-time greats.

If New England wins and then goes on to win the Super Bowl, well, now we’ll have an interesting debate: who is the greatest QB of all time, Brady or Montana?

If Denver wins out, no one will be asking, “Who is the greatest of all time, Montana or Manning?”

Why Super Bowl Rings Are Over-rated (in terms of legacy and ratings)

Football is a team sport. Um, duh, you might be thinking. Why is it that the number of Super Bowl rings plays such a minimal role when arguing for the greatest running back, tight end or wide receiver? How about linebacker, cornerback or tackle?

While quarterback play is increasingly important in today’s NFL, he’s still just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to winning a championship.

The Patriots won Super Bowls with Brady because they had a better than good defense (not great) and a productive running attack. They lost Super Bowls when the run game was weak and the D and offensive lines were overmatched. Brady wins when Brady gets protection, which only happens when the team is strong. Manning operates the same way.

Joe Flacco proved that Super Bowl rings means big money, but ask any Baltimore fan, “Is he worth the money?” No, Hon, not a chance. The football community will never regard Flacco as one of the all-time greats, even if he wins another Super Bowl. The salary demands we do, but the play is just too inconsistent.

Manning and Brady have consistently been amazing, leading their teams to scads of regular season wins, post season successes and some Super Bowl victories. It’s the combination of these that cement their legacies.

I will concede that if everything is equal, then you can use the number of rings to tip the scales.

So Who’s the Best – Manning or Brady?

Regular season wins, post season wins, MVPs, passing records, Super Bowls…they’re all for the birds. Manning is the best. He never went to Michigan.

—Ryan Varney