Since 2001, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady (as much as they may try to play it down) have had a scintillating rivalry on the field. When Manning was on the Colts you could circle the annual prime-time match-up with Brady as a potential AFC Championship preview. They would usually end up seeing each other again in the postseason, so it almost felt like a division rivalry.
In fact, not counting Sunday's AFC title game, the two have played against each other sixteen times, with Brady getting the better of Manning in eleven of those meetings.
Both of these guys epitomize what work ethic means. Manning entrenches himself into game-tape, letting information pour in so he can fuse it into on-field production. Brady requires of himself, as well as of his teammates, absolute, almost exorbitant attention to detail and precision. His teammates call him the "Brady Machine," in reference to his mechanics, nutrition, expectations, etc.
One thing is for sure, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are the two best quarterbacks of a generation. They are the Millennial's version of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, or Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Just like any great individual player rivalry, fans have been disputing who the better of the two is for years now.
Manning has been dubbed the "Greatest Regular-Season Quarterback of All-Time," an obvious dig to his chronicled post-season struggles and failures, and a surreptitious comparison to the success Brady has enjoyed.
Disregard head-to-head record. Ignore career stats or records for a moment. Forget who you truly think is the better quarterback. Peyton Manning deserves to be rooted for more than Brady, at least for now. Don't let your confirmation bias take hold and leave the page! The following is a succinct list to explain that statement, one Brady and Patriots fans might call blasphemous.
15 Peyton Is More Decisive
To formulate an argument that has any potential to persuade, one must rely on logic and reason. A ‘Red Herring’ is used to divert attention from the actual argument to focus on less important details. We’ll justify the fallacy initially to understand the men under the helmet.
First point of contention, Brady’s haircuts. One minute he looks like Sunshine from Remember the Titans, the next he’s Bieber. Brady’s obviously comfortable trying new things, but Peyton knows exactly who he is; he’s had the same haircut for 40 years.
If you want a decisive quarterback root for Peyton, if not, read on...
14 Peyton Knows His Limits
To continue along those lines, at the Carnival Festival in Brazil in 2011, Brady was busted on camera trying to bust a move. We have to look at Brady’s dancing, no matter how hard it may be to watch, for complete context.
He has the same grace dancing as he displays on the gridiron, barely any. It’s hard to believe that an NFL quarterback could really be this awkward. At least Peyton knows he moves like an overweight gazelle.
If you want a quarterback who knows his limits, root for Peyton. If you think these aren’t really arguments, keep reading.
13 Peyton Has To Pay All The Bills
Brady’s sugar-momma steers us towards some more substantive arguments on why you should root for Peyton. He didn’t do too bad for himself with his old-lady, but come on, Brady has to try to one up everything. “Oh cool wife Peyton, you see mine, on ALL these magazines?”
Brady is married to Gisele Bundchen, who made a whopping $44 million in 2015 according to Forbes. That’s $30 million more than Brady made this season! This is one reason Brady was able to take a considerably smaller contract than the one Peyton got (more on that later - it’s shady).
12 Papa Peyton’s
Brady has either surpassed, or is creeping up on Peyton in many all-time stat categories. It’s only a matter of time before Brady goes after Peyton where it would surely hurt the most, the pizza racket.
Peyton has been a spokesman for Sprint, MasterCard, Nationwide, and is a franchisee of Papa John’s Pizza. So in a roundabout way, he has monopolized the entire process of ordering a pizza: Call, Pay, Deliver, Eat. You have to respect that!
Brady has been content with his Uggs ads. If you like pizza (or chicken parm, because it tastes so good), root for Peyton. If you wear Uggs, keep going.
11 Peyton Is Better For The League
With all this advertising in mind, it is clear that Peyton is the more entertaining quarterback off the field. His Saturday Night Live performances are legendary. He is also much more willing to engage with the media. He gives thorough and thoughtful answers.
Brady, per usual to the “Patriot Way,” is tight-lipped, vague, and frequently comes across as conceited when talking to reporters. He says what everybody expects.
If you want a quarterback that you relate to on and off the field, root for Peyton. If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of the argument, continue on.
10 Peyton Is Wiser
While he’s not a whole lot younger than Peyton, it is apparent that Brady has more gas left in his tank. Peyton has not declared if he will come back next season, but there are rumors amiss that he may be willing to play one more year for a team other than the Broncos.
There is no doubt though, that if Peyton does decide to come back next year, it will be his last. Brady has plenty of time to supplant his predecessor in all the record books.
If you respect your elders, root for Peyton. If not, you know...
9 Peyton is Principled
One word: Untrustworthy
The fact that Brady had direct knowledge of deflating footballs is proof that he is willing to bend the rules of the system a bit for any kind of advantage. It’s a wonder how come the same amount of scrutiny isn’t given to the "banksters" and politicians for similar perversions of their own systems, which are far more egregious.
To digress, the Pats have a long history of breaking rules. The list of infractions seems to grow every year, but the Patriots seem to get sharper every year. If you like clean, honest football, root for Peyton.
8 Brady Has No-Chill
When Brandon LaFell joined the Patriots he was not aware that there is no off-switch to the “Brady Machine.” Brady asked him to play some catch one day.
LaFell was utterly unprepared: “We’re like five yards apart, in the locker room, so I’m thinking this will be some soft-touch stuff,” he said. “Then he starts doing his footwork, flicking his hips, just zipping the ball, all in the locker room.”
Brady has no-chill. Not necessarily a bad thing, but if you want to root for a for someone like that, hopefully the next argument will convince you otherwise.
7 Brady-Guerrero Racket
Getting back to why Brady took a small contract. Well, he’s in business with Alex Guerrero, who has been called a “snake-oil salesman,” a reference to knowingly selling shoddy medicinal products. Guerrero is also Brady’s trainer. The company is called TB12, you may have seen Brady wearing the hat.
Guerrero, who has no formal medical training, and who has been banned from calling himself a doctor, sold a fake cancer-cure called “Supreme Greens.” Now he has a concussion-preventing elixir called “NeuroSafe.”
They’ve set up shop at Patriots Place, Guerrero trains Pats’ players, and Brady is getting paid the whole time.
6 Peyton Plays Nice
It is not possible to watch a Patriots game without seeing Brady get red-faced screaming mad at least once. Even if they are up by 30 points, he still has that less-than-appealing Kobe Bryant quality.
Brady, like Kobe, can make his teammates look like children getting chastised by their Dad. If his guys are half a second off their cuts, or two inches too far on their splits, then Hell hath no fury like the Brady-rage.
Meanwhile, Peyton is self-deprecating, and willing to take the blame when he knows he has had a lackluster performance.
5 System Quarterbacks
Brady has been in Bill Belichick’s system his entire career. This is a system that made even Matt Cassel look good! Cassel went 11-5 (granted missing the playoffs) the year that Brady missed after having his knee blown out by Bernard Pollard.
When the Colts lost Peyton after neck surgery, they were abysmal. They went through a litany of quarterbacks who could never muster anything relevant on offense. The Colts went 2-11, Jim Caldwell was fired, and Andrew Luck era was ushered in.
Brady benefits from a military-style regimented system white Manning is a general out there. Peyton was, and IS the system.
4 Peyton Calls The Plays
That brings up Peyton’s current coach, Gary Kubiak... compared to Belichick?!
In his nine years as an NFL Head Coach, Kubiak has an extremely mediocre 73-68 record. Prior to this season he had only reached the playoffs twice, losing in the divisional round in both those games (once to the Patriots).
On the other hand you have Belichick, who may very well go down in history as the greatest coach of All-Time. His legacy is whether that means the greatest NFL coach, or greatest coach period.
Pretty clear who’s getting the edge from the coaching and system perspective.
3 Peyton’s Legacy Is Unfinished
Now that the Broncos have officially gotten by the Pats, Manning now has a chance to regain bragging rights over his little brother. Brady’s legacy is solid, he doesn’t need anymore Super Bowl rings to cement it. Peyton is still desperate to bolster his clout, and needs at least one more Super Bowl appearance to accomplish that.
An older brother should never have to endure razzing by the younger, but Eli may end up always having the one-up at the dinner table.
2 Peyton Deserves A Prestigious Exit
If this isn’t Peyton’s last season, next year is for sure. To be able to walk off as a champion would be the capstone to a legendary career.
It is evident that Peyton’s physical tools have fallen off drastically, so another team may not want to take a chance on the now-vintage quarterback in a young man’s league. He’s always had trouble throwing a spiral consistently, but his arm-strength and accuracy always made up for it. Well, those too are now all but gone.
Peyton is class personified, so a prestigious exit from the game would befit him.
1 Peyton Is The Underdog
Some of the battles between Peyton and Brady have been lopsided, others have been some of the best games the NFL has ever had.
They have always been relatively close skill-wise. This is the first time the two have met when it is absolutely unquestionable who the better quarterback was at the moment. Brady led the Patriots to the AFC Championship, Peyton guided the Broncos there.
People naturally like to root for the underdog. It hasn’t been very often in his career, but that is exactly what Peyton is now. If you root for the underdog, then root for Peyton.