Greatest Quarterbacks of All-Time Don’t Throw Pick Sixes to End the Super Bowl

A ton of talk leading up to the Super Bowl was about Peyton Manning’s place in history. Many people were starting to talk about him being the best QB of all-time. After he shredded the Jets — the top defense in the league — Rex Ryan and others lavished Peyton with endless praise. People were saying that there wasn’t anything you could throw at Manning defensively that he hadn’t already seen. People said that Manning prepares better than any other player and that defenses can’t confuse him. Many people suggested that he was poised to become the best quarterback of all-time. While I recognize the greatness of Peyton Manning — supreme consistency, excellent stats, an uncanny ability to run the two-minute drill and lead his team to comeback wins — he’s only been average (by his standards) in the postseason, and that’s a major concern.

In recent years, Manning’s Colts have lost in the postseason to the Chargers twice. Previously, they couldn’t get past the Patriots when they had to play in Foxborough. There are two undeniable truths to take from those facts: one, Manning’s success in the passing game is related to the weather, and two, the Colts have a tendency to lose to inferior teams in the playoffs. Additionally, a problem that plagued Manning early in his career reemerged in the Super Bowl. Peyton used to throw a lot of pick-sixes (28 interceptions his rookie year, 23 his fourth season) and that had a large role in the eventual resignation of Jim Mora as Indy’s head coach. It also came back at the most inopportune time for Indianapolis.

I’m not saying Peyton Manning isn’t a great quarterback and that I wouldn’t love to have him as my franchise’s quarterback; that’s not the issue. What I’m saying is that the greatest quarterback of all-time doesn’t throw a pick six to end his team’s chances at winning a Super Bowl. What I’m saying is that Peyton’s alleged invincibility does not exist. Apparently defenses can get to Peyton with pressure and apparently they can confuse him with different looks. If that weren’t the case, then how did Tracy Porter know the play was coming and how did he bait Manning into that throw? If Peyton Manning is the most well-prepared player in the league, then how is it that extensive film study led Porter to make the game-clinching play over Manning? And I’m sick of hearing people blame Reggie Wayne for the interception; did he make the throw? Did he decide to run a play the defense knew was coming? I thought Peyton Manning was a coach on the field and Indy’s offensive coordinator? If that’s the case, then he made a bad call. Peyton Manning is an outstanding quarterback but he’s still a notch below Tom Brady in my eyes, and possibly on an equal level with Drew Brees now. The greatest quarterback of all-time doesn’t make that throw.

By the way, even Tony Dungy admitted on Dan Patrick’s show that the throw would hurt Peyton’s legacy: “Those are the situations where you expect the great quarterbacks to make the play and to go down and win it. I was sitting there expecting that they were going to go in and tie it up. One throw a lot of times can impact a legacy.” No doubt about it.

Around The Web

  • Kevin/Indianapolis

    Greatest QB of all-time, in some people’s opinions, throwing an interception to end a Super Bowl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzEDn-LWexE

  • SpinMax

    Game 7 of the 1926 World Series, down 3-2, bottom of the 9th. Babe Ruth took a walk and then
    was picked off to end the World Series. St Louis wins.

    Game 8 of the 1921 World Series, down 1-0, bottom of the 9th, Babe Ruth weakly grounds out to 1st base.
    Giants win the WS.

    Game 5 of the 1922 World Series, down 5-3, top of the 8th, man on, Babe Ruth grounds out to 1st base.
    Giants win the WS.

    I think Wilt Chamberlain might have missed a few game winning shots too.

    Guess they can’t be the greatest or anything.

  • BRAD

    Peyton back to being the choke artist he always was.

  • Kevin/Indianapolis

    When ranking quarterbacks, it has become fashionable to judge them on the number of championships they accumulate. Since Manning only has one, he is being downgraded, by some, to be less of a quarterback than Brady, Elway and many others. Football is a 53 man per squad game. Others on the team are also responsible for game-winning catches and legendary muffs. There are key moments in every game played, moments which determine the end result just as much, if not more, than an errant pass or a game-clinching pick six. This Super Bowl was loaded with these moments.

    Sometimes, the eye test is the best way to judge players. Manning is as good as any I’ve seen. So were Montana, Unitas and even Baugh . Had certain players on the Colts stepped up and made their plays, people would be lauding the play of Peyton today.

    Instead, we have a nationwide media enjoying the Blame Game and knocking Manning because of one crucial mistake, an error that cannot be pinned solely on the quarterback. Dropped passes, a muffed on-sides kick, questionable coaching and a secondary doing virtually nothing all contributed to this loss.

    Manning played a fine game. Brees and his cohorts were better. For one afternoon, the team from New Orleans earned their parade and the glory of being crowned champions. That’s the way it goes sometimes in sports.

    I can’t wait to see Manning try it again next time.

  • Gene

    Peyton Manning is not even close to being the best QB of all time, and not because of the pick six on Sunday, although it is symptomatic of his post season failures and 9-9 career record in the postseason.

    Statistics also don’t tell the story, because the rules have changed considerably over the years to increase the effectiveness of the passing game and because Peyton Manning plays the vast majority of his games in a dome, with a friendly environment. The NFL has de facto designated him its poster boy, and as a result, the schedule makers keep him from playing significant outdoor games in bad weather in December and January. For instance, The Patriots have had to go to Indy three straight years. Two in a row could conceivably happen, but not three.

    When Manning plays a great game out of doors in bad weather alert the media. in the meantime, in my opinion, the best Colts QB wore number 19, not number 18, and was named Johnny Unitas. He was the master of the two minute comeback and took the Colts to their first two titles in 1958 and 1959. The former was the so-called “greatest game ever played”.

    Manning’s stats are up there each regular season because of the home games (and several road games) in the domes. I would like to see what his passing stats would look like if he played in Chicago, or with the NY Jets when Namath was QB and the wind swirled in Shea Stadium.

    Manning is a great QB, but should not be in any discussion about “the best ever”.

  • SpinMax

    The schedule makers keep him from playing significant outdoor games? That’s quite a conspiracy. The NFL schedule is determined with a specific formula that has very little in the way of flexibility. That includes turkey day, opening night, etc. Many variations are determined and one decided on. I doubt that the owners are all sitting there looking for a schedule that benefits Indy.

    By the way, New Orleans in the last 3 years has hosted Dallas, SD, GB, Philthy, NYG, Tenn, Arizona, Minnesota, New England, while having a road schedule that was much weaker. It just happens.

  • Kevin/Indianapolis

    “Manning is a great QB, but should not be in any discussion about ‘the best ever’.

    Yeah, we’ll just forget about the 4 MVP awards and the amazing regular season record. Good call by you, Gene.

    On another note….back in the day, there were nowhere near as many teams in the NFL. With 32 teams, getting to the final game is much, much more difficult. Not to mention that they only played 12 games. And the outdoor effect is vastly overblown. Very few games are played in rotten conditions these days. The Colts won their Super Bowl with Manning in a game-long rainstorm.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XWN2AAQVFBEVPAX6BCHQHPGQOE Anonymous