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The case for Peyton Manning as the GOAT, not Tom Brady

(Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Since it’s 4th of July weekend and we celebrate the greatest country in the world, I got to thinking that it’s time we celebrate who the greatest quarterback of all-time is. It’s time to realize that Peyton Manning is better than Tom Brady.

We can sit here all day and talk about the Super Bowl rings. But if that’s a true test in this debate, then is Trent Dilfer better than Dan Marino? Is Terry Bradshaw better than John Elway?

Just because you have more rings does not mean you’re the better quarterback. Both Manning and Brady are very similar because they have shattered records left and right, won championships, missed an entire season due to injury and have both started a majority of their games for 17 seasons.

Let’s take a look at the careers of Manning and Brady.

When Peyton retired after his Super Bowl 50 victory, he rode off into the sunset with a second Super Bowl ring and owning every single major passing stat you could think of. Drew Brees and Brady will more than likely own those records when their careers are over, but it will be less impressive because they’ll break the records after playing in more games. All of the stats that I am about to present are all from a total of the 17 seasons that Manning and Brady have both played in.

Peyton finished with 71,940 passing yards and 539 touchdown passes, averaging out to 270.5 passing yards per game and 31.7 touchdowns per season. Brady currently has 70,432 passing yards and 517 touchdown passes, averaging out to 263.7 yards per game and 30.4 touchdowns per season.

In 2004, Peyton broke the single-season touchdown record with 49, passing Dan Marino. In 2007, Brady then went ahead and broke the record with 50 touchdown passes while on his way to the Super Bowl. In 2013, Peyton and the Broncos offense put together the greatest offensive performance we have ever seen. Manning broke the single-season touchdown record again in just 15 games, finishing the season with 55 touchdown passes.

Yes, you read that correctly, Manning has broken the touchdown record twice! Manning also broke the passing yards record that season with 5,477 yards. These records have yet to be broken and I don’t see them getting broken unless the NFL decides to extend the regular season to 18 games.

I’m not going to talk about the wide receivers both gunslingers had just because great quarterbacks make wide receivers better and both of these guys have done that during their careers. Manning never had the great defenses over the years like Tom Brady has. Yes, in 2015 Peyton had one of the best defenses of all-time with the Broncos. But in his entire career, No. 18 only had seven top-10 scoring defenses helping him out. Tom Brady has had 14 top-10 scoring defenses! That’s double.

Don’t forget that Brady has played with 17 first-team All-Pros compared to Peyton’s 12. Ten of those All-Pros that No. 12 played with were defensive players, where Peyton only had four. It’s safe to say that Peyton hasn’t had the help that Brady has had over his career, especially on defense.

We also can’t forget that Brady has played for one team and had only one head coach, while Manning played for two teams with five different head coaches; he took four of them to a Super Bowl. Never has a quarterback ever taken four different head coaches to a Super Bowl in NFL history. Peyton is also the only quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl with two different teams.

Who is more valuable you might ask?

Well, Manning finished his career with five MVP awards compared to Tom Brady’s current three. Also both players have missed an entire season due to injury. In 2011, when the Colts were Manning-less, they finished with a 2-14 record. In 2008, when Brady went down, the Patriots still finished the season at 11-5 and became only the second team ever to finish the season with that record and miss the playoffs; the 1985 Broncos were the other.

Now, the head-to-head matchups. Brady owns the record in the regular season against Manning. But when it comes to the most important time of the year, Peyton has a winning record over Brady in the playoffs at 3-2.

Unfortunately, these two quarterbacks never got to play each other in a Super Bowl, because that would have been a treat. The next biggest game that they could have faced off in is the AFC championship, in which Manning defeated Brady’s Patriots three out of the four times they’ve met.

Manning took the game of football to a whole different level and changed the way the quarterback position is played with his hurry-up, no-huddle offense, which every team now runs at times. Brady has been great over his career, but he has had plenty of help to win games with great coaching, great defenses, and with the help of some cheating scandals along the way that everybody seems to forget.

I rest my case that Peyton Manning is better than Tom Brady; he is the greatest quarterback of all-time. He has done more with less and will have accomplishments that no quarterback will ever have in our lifetime.