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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.

Peyton Manning Takes Subtle Shot at Brett Favre, Brad Childress

The huge debate that arose this week came after the Colts pulled their top starters in the middle of the third quarter against the Jets. The team was up 15-10 at the time and wound up losing 29-15, ending their unbeaten season. Indy is now 14-1 and coach Jim Caldwell and president Bill Polian are getting plenty of heat for their decision to protect their players. Peyton Manning was seen with a disappointed look on his face on the sidelines and admitted as much after the game. He even got in a subtle shot at Brett Favre and Brad Childress when asked about being pulled:

“I was not surprised,” Manning said. “I knew potentially that was part of the plan. There was not a head coach-quarterback argument of any sort. I’m on the same page as coach Caldwell. I was told before the game to be flexible and go out and score as many points as we could. I’m disappointed we didn’t score more.”

It’s hard to understand how that comment was a shot at the Vikings just by reading it; you had to see Manning’s face to see the grin he had on his face to know he was taking a jab at Favre and Childress. If you saw him, you would have recognized that he put emphasis on the head coach-quarterback argument part. Now that the Colts have lost and their perfect season is over, the questioning has come. I weighed in on the debate for The League panel at the Washington Post. Check it out here to read where I came out on the issue.

Peyton Manning Shows Off His Versatility in Latest MasterCard Commercial

One of the biggest gripes against Peyton Manning is that he’s the face of the NFL and overexposed. Honestly, you can watch football all day Sunday and see more of Peyton in commercials than of him on the field. Weird he finds that much time on his hands, but apparently he has enough free time for Bar Mitzvah appearances, too. OK, I’ll admit I liked the ESPN commercial with him and Eli picking on each other, as well as the cut that meat commercial. His latest MasterCard commercial? Not so much. Here’s Peyton playing the role of the happy-go-lucky quarterback:

As you might expect, the commercial is set to make its debut Sunday night for the Colts/Patriots game. And I’ll tell you, between Brady being out and the way Peyton’s playing, this game has no meaning to it. In past year, you bet your ass. Now? I’d much rather have the Packers and Titans on Sunday Night, no question.

Has Eli Surpassed Peyton as the Top QB?

I’ve taken my shots at Eli Manning in the past, back when it was deserved. Funny thing though: a lot changes in less than a year. It was only November that I was criticizing Eli for throwing 4 interceptions (three returned for touchdowns) in a 41-17 loss to the Vikings. He was brutal that game. A month later, he was giving the Patriots a tough test in Week 17, and then boom! Playoffs hit, and Eli was a new man. The guy who threw more than a pick a game his first four seasons became one of the best care-takers of the football of any quarterback in the league. The change happened overnight. The improvement in Eli’s game — from Week 17 last year through this season — makes me wonder whether or not he has surpassed Peyton Manning as the top quarterback in the family, which in essence would make him one of the top quarterbacks — if not the top quarterback — in the game.

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Not All Peaches with Peyton Manning

I’m not exactly sure what it is that makes this video so fascinating. Maybe it’s because Peyton is the epitome of the All-American dork — the comb over hair, the perfectly manicured suit, the Southern drawl — he just comes across as such a harmless being. But if his random appearance at a Sweet 16 party didn’t already tell you there’s more than meets the eye, maybe this video of Peyton going bezerko on his offensive line will:

A few observations here: I think I enjoy this for the same reason I’m fascinated by watching Tiger Woods come out of portapotty. It’s hard to believe these guys are human. Secondly, this pretty much confirms to me that you can catch any player in the league arguing during a game. It only appears as if T.O., Chad Johnson, and Randy Moss are the only guys bitching out there because the cameras choose to follow them. Additionally, check out FanHouse’s post on the video to read the entire transcription of the argument.

Manning Brothers Now Starring in Oreo Commercials

The great Unsilent Majority of Kissing Suzy Kolber has already slammed the Mannings for this one. In case you missed it, Eli and Peyton have joined the Double Stuff Oreo Racing League or something like that. I just know that anything with the name “double stuff” in it is somewhat sketchy. Guess they didn’t learn from Carson Palmer’s hot dog commercial. Anyway, check out the commercial the two were recently in:

You know, I have to say I really like the ESPN commercial of the brothers taking a family tour of the joint — that was cool. And the Peyton Manning “cut that meat” commercial was pretty good too. But come on, at some point you have to put the foot down and say “no,” don’t you? I would think so. Especially if they’re going to be running after your team has already been eliminated from the playoffs.

Peyton Manning Reverts to Old Form

It might be difficult at first to ignore Peyton’s gaudy statistics; 402 yards and three touchdowns is nothing to sneeze at. But even with those big numbers there is something you can’t forget: Peyton Manning threw two interceptions — both in Charger territory — costing his team points and drastically changing the game. The first pick was off a tipped ball so it’s hard to go crazy blaming Peyton for that. The second interception came when the Colts were inside the San Diego five and went the other way for six if it weren’t called back by a penalty. No doubt the Colts missed those extra points they left on the board.

Perhaps the most telling sign that Peyton reverted to his former, big-game choking self, is that he was a dismal 1/7 in his last seven passes of the game. At that time, the Colts were down four and needed a touchdown to take the lead. Indy was first and goal with just over two minutes left when Peyton missed on 2nd, 3rd, and 4th and goal. Thanks to his defense and the ineffective Billy Volek, the Colts got the ball back with 1:30 at their 32 looking to win it. Peyton completed the first pass to Addai for five yards, then missed on 2nd, 3rd, and 4th downs, turning the ball and game over to San Diego. Just like that, the 400 yards, three touchdowns, 4,000 regular season yards and 31 regular season TDs seemed meaningless. When it mattered the most, Peyton Manning could not lead the game-winning drive. We may now repeat it — typical Peyton Manning in a big game.

(Photo courtesy Darron Cummings/AP)