Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 1/14/13
Let’s get this right, Peyton Manning is quite possibly the most cerebral quarterback to ever play the game.There has not been anyone that can read defenses or schemes better at the position than Manning. In saying all this I understand that in the postseason he is 9-11, I also understand that in many of those big games he has not played his best football but that doesn’t take away from his legacy.  The fact is many players have stated that when you win the Super Bowl that is one that cannot be taken away, of course you want to win more but the fact is many players do not even get to the big game.  After the game on Saturday it was amazing to me to read some of the comments that other writers, fans and people were writing things about Manning choking again, how Denver made a mistake, and how at least Tebow won a playoff game in Denver.Let’s address these comments:First off the comment of Manning choking, it is true that he threw two interceptions with the last being most costly for his team -- but truth be told, overtime should have never happened. With about 7 minutes left in the game Manning put his team in a perfect position to win the game.  Two events stick out in my mind -- first off the defense made a big stand against the Ravens when Denver gets the ball back with a 3rd-and and-7 they elect to run the ball (fact is who would you rather have with the ball in their hands, I choose Manning) which led to a Ravens stop. The next was the safety play with 40 seconds left when Moore, the Broncos' safety, forgot the No. 1 rule of don’t let the ball or player behind you. As for the choking, it seems that Manning is put on blast more than any other quarterback for his lack of production in the playoffs and truth be told the others around him often have lack luster games. Manning threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns -- a fact overshadowed by many with his three turnovers. It seems that Manning is the poster boy for someone being thrown under the bus for choking; he seems to be the most scrutinized player when his team doesn’t perform to standard.  Maybe that is because he sets such a high standard, expecting perfection from his offense or maybe it’s because the high expectation he has for himself is put on blast often for choking.A couple of questions -- how often did the Colts' defense choke when they made it to the playoffs (fact is when they choked in the regular season, Manning and the offense found a way to win games even when they were giving up 200 rushing yards a game). Also didn’t Denver have a top 5 ranked defense this season only to give up over 300 yards to Joe Flacco and the Ravens, not to mention two pass plays for touchdowns over 40+ yards? I understand that it is easy to pin it all on Manning because we in essence expect him to lead his team to the Super Bowl every year but football is a team game and if the team doesn’t perform well the team loses.Second, how is it that a team that last season finished at 8-8 finishes this year at 13-3 on an 11-game win streak made a mistake? Let’s all understand that Manning missed an entire year of football, had three neck surgeries and had to get acquainted with a new team and new coaches (truth be told I bet any team would take that ‘mistake’ if they could get it). The fact is Tim Tebow (a guy who I am impressed with for his faith and his determination) is not a quarterback, he has a work ethic second to none and is a competitor in every sense of the word but he is not an NFL quarterback. Why was there so much talk around Denver when Manning was signed -- it’s because there was hope in Denver (even in the midst of a playoff loss hope is still prevalent).Third, to compare Tebow to Manning is disrespectful in every sense of the word, if we line up their body of work side by side there is no comparison. To compare the two is absolutely ridiculous; they are not even in the same class, maybe this was the parting shot for all the Tebow fans still left in Denver or maybe it was the ‘I hope they fail’ attitude by those who were upset when he signed with Denver. At any rate, there is no comparison. I get that Tebow won a playoff game in Denver and I also understand that barring any setback Manning will win one also -- and this argument will be put to rest (even though there really is no argument).On a side note, for all those looking to compare Manning with Brady, understand a few things about this debate:Brady has been with his same head coach since his beginning in the NFL (now I get that many don’t count that as much but Belichick is one of the greatest minds in football and that can’t be anything but an advantage when going to war in the playoffs or in the regular season).Brady and the Patriots have always had the better defensive squads, the fact is with the Colts there was never any real solid rush defense.The fact is both quarterbacks have their own style and both know how to get the job done, but the debate will forever go on and many will make their choice based on many different factors. Playoffs, Super Bowl rings, regular season victories, clutch comebacks, etc…I only add these side notes because I know there will be some that want to chime in with the Brady vs. Manning argument, so have at.The fact is the Broncos were bounced out of the playoffs but there has to be some sense of how will they do next season with Manning having more time to prepare and get ready for the upcoming season.There are many issues to be addressed from the Broncos' standpoint before the beginning of next season, so they can find themselves at the top of the AFC again.
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