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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.

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