Adam on 10 14, 2009
Peyton Manning is the best quarterback to ever play the game. I myself am a 49ers fan, and still I won’t use the normal default greatest of all time, Joe Montana. It’s not Dan Marino, John Elway, Brett Favre, Tom Brady, or anyone who played when TV was in black and white.
You may not regard this claim as a reach, but if you do, let me tell you why Peyton is head and shoulders above anyone who has ever played the position.
The number one reason is responsibility. Manning is given almost entire autonomy to make his own play calls at the line of scrimmage. He picks the play once he sees the defense, alters protection, and systematically scans the defense for potential weaknesses.
He’s not the first quarterback to have a large amount of responsibility in play calling, but he’s the best at making the calls there has ever been. Manning has endured a coaching change this past year, as future hall of fame coach Tony Dungy retired. What was the result? Manning has only gotten better (if that’s possible) in Dungy’s absence, which shows you just how much command he has over this offense.
Not only does Manning make all the calls at the line of scrimmage, he is also a master of deception. He utilizes dummy audibles, hand signals, and varies his snap counts so that he is literally in the head of every defender lined up across from him.
All this, and we haven’t even gotten to snapping the ball yet.
When the ball is snapped, the list of superlatives goes on. Nobody in the history of the game has been as good with ball fakes, pump fakes, play action, and looking off defenders as Manning. It’s as if he has an endless toolbox full of moves, and he is a master at when and where to use them.
The next thing that jumps of the screen is Manning’s accuracy. He could throw a football threw a baseball sized hole from 50 yards away. Ok, well maybe not, but you get the idea. His passes hit his receivers in the perfect position for them to catch and run.
He made an absolute superstar out of Marvin Harrison. You would expect a drop off after losing future hall of famer Harrison this past off-season, but that has not been the case at all. Manning has simply shifted favorite targets to Reggie Wayne, and is currently working on putting Wayne in Canton along side Harrison. Manning has also turned Dallas Clark into perhaps the best receiving tight end in the league.
Then of course you have to consider Manning’s mind-boggling numbers. His passer rating this year is an astronomical 114, 95 is his career rating which would put him directly behind Steve young for best all time. If he continues to play at this rate, expect him to eventually eclipse Young and claim the top spot. Manning also holds the record for best rating in a season at 121, which many quarterbacks never achieve in a single game.
His career completion percentage (which should also continue to rise since he is completing 73% this season) is 64.7 percent. That places Manning third all time behind Chad Pennington, and Kurt Warner, neither of whom are in the discussion for greatest of all time.
Manning also has a good chance at beating Dan Marino’s single season yardage record this year. If Manning continues his current rate of production he will in fact beat Marino’s mark.
In addition, Manning will likely break almost all of Brett Favre’s records, and will need fewer games to do so. The only mark he likely will not break is Favre’s ignominious interception record.
Then there is the amount of MVP awards. Manning has 3 tying Otto Graham, Brett Favre, Jim Brown, John Unitas, and Randall Cunningham for most all time. Manning is already the clear favorite to win the award again this year.
Finally, Manning is only 33 years old, has a super bowl, and appears to be in top health. He rarely gets hit, and should be able to play at a high level for at least four more years. With all things considered Manning is the greatest quarterback ever by a sizeable margin.