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Is Manning better than Montana and Brady?

Ross Tucker of SI.com writes that Peyton Manning is a better NFL quarterback than Joe Montana and Tom Brady.

Here are the highlights of Tucker’s argument:

Montana may have been the most clutch performer ever; his postseason success is almost unprecedented. He did, however, play in an era before the advent of free agency and the salary cap.

He (Brady) did, however, have the benefit of playing for one of the greatest coaches and defensive minds, Bill Belichick. Belichick’s game planning against Manning earlier this decade was a primary factor in the Pats’ success. Brady has also been blessed by a defense that was among the league’s best for a good portion of his career.

But Manning has also shown an ability to adjust, even after losing longtime running mate Marvin Harrison.

His offensive line has never been dominant, and yet their weaknesses have been covered up by his uncanny ability to get rid of the ball before the defender gets to him.

I can’t think of any other player who has as much control over the game plan or play-calling. That, of course, is fitting because I don’t think any other player has ever had quite the same grasp of his offense that Manning does.

Tucker makes some valid points, especially in the case of Manning, who is incredible at what he does. But what he ignores is that quarterbacks will always be graded by their performances in the Super Bowl. The goal for every team at the start of the year is to win a Super Bowl, it’s not to try and rack up as many stats as possible.

Montana was 4-0 in the big game, with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. He also racked up three Super Bowl MVP awards, the most by any player in SB history.

Brady is 3-1 in the Super Bowl, with two MVP awards and by the time he’s done playing, he might match Montana’s number for victories and MVPs.

Manning’s talent speaks for itself, but he only has one Super Bowl ring, which pails in comparison to Montana and Brady. Do you know what Manning’s postseason record was before this season? A dazzling 7-8. Even if the Colts win this Sunday, Manning’s postseason record will be 10-8, which is pedestrian compared to Montana’s (16-7) and Brady’s (11-4).

Manning is great, but Tucker needs to step off of the Super Bowl XLIV hype train for a second and look at the bigger picture. He acts as though Montana and Brady had a ton of help and Manning has been working on his own, but that argument spits in the face of how underrated the Colts have been over the past decade. Don’t forget that Manning had Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne to throw to for most of his career, while Brady had Troy Brown and Deion Branch, who were fine receivers but who aren’t in Harrison and Wayne’s category.

Granted, if Manning wins three or four Super Bowls before his career is over, then we can re-visit Tucker’s argument. But as of right now, Tucker’s argument is full of holes.

Is Manning better than Montana and Brady?
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