Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Not letting this get out of hand...

I don't want this post to devolve into a Manning/Brady argument. That being said, it of course, will. ESPN has a really fascinating article ranking the top 10 QBs of all time. It has Johnny U at #1, Brady at #3, and Manning at #5. It seems to be a well thought out piece, but I think it's wrong.

Listen I know Brady has won four Super Bowls (see what I did there?). So did Bradshaw. I know Manning has two MVP awards. He's not Elway yet. I just think it's too early to put these guys in the top 5 of all time. I love Peyton. He's my all time favorite athlete. I can't put him ahead of John Elway yet. Brady might go down as a top three all time guy, or in 20 years, we'll think of him the way we know think of Bradshaw. Great QB, but were you ever scared of him?

I don't know how it is for opposing fans when Manning has the ball, so I can't evaluate that. I personally, never fear Tom Brady. I don't sit around biting my nails waiting for that killer strike. He's just not scary to me. Oh he might lead a scoring drive, but it'll be because of some weak screen pass and a broken tackle. Not the way it was with the big three. I can remember what it was like whenever Marino had it. You knew they would score. Maybe because I grew up with Montana, Marino, Elway, but those guys were terrifying. They could do whatever they wanted. I think Brady and Manning are threatening to make us forget the Masters of the game. That really makes me sad. I'm glad Johnny U tops this list. I like thinking that the ancients are still great. If guys play only to be forgotten, then why are we blustering about Brady and Manning. Our kids will forget them all too quickly.

I've been doing research into particular African tribes this week (don't ask). One of the most fascinating concepts is the African concept of the Ancestor. When one dies, he enters the realm of the ancestors. They control the future and determine the fates of men on the earth. They only retain power, however, as long as someone remembers them. When their fame has gone, they move on to the greater invisible realm where they no longer influence this life. I hope that by so quickly elevating Brady and Manning into the TOP FIVE all time, that we haven't ushered others into the realm of the invisible.

Don't write me and tell me how great Brady is. I KNOW HE'S GREAT. If you miss that, you're missing the point. I'm trying to tell you how I respond emotionally to watching him play. I won't remember him as fear inspiring as the others. It may be the same way for Manning too; I don't know. I'm too invested his success to sit back and evaluate him. Don't take any of this as a knock. It's about memory and legacy and how the greats made us feel at the time. I don't know for sure that either guy should be placed so high, so soon.


Anonymous said...

Where is Fran Tarkington on that list?

Anonymous said...

He is listed right behind Jeff George.

Deshawn Zombie said...

Yeah, exactly.

zac said...

If it was listing the dreamiest QBs of all time, then Tom Brady would already be #1.

Anonymous said...

wow, what great criteria to rank the best QBs of all time. whether they are scary or not.

That stat should be right up there with QB Rating, completion percentage, TD Passes, YPA, MVPs, Wins and others.

No one is going to take your blog seriously if you keep making stupid statements like taking "fear" into consideration when thinking of the best QBs of all time. Do some research and use some stats.

BTW Elway is vastly overrated, Manning and Brady are both much better quarterbacks.

Anonymous said...

above poster is an idiot

zac said...

I would love to talk about Peyton's stats against anyone else's numbers. That would be an awesome comparison.

Demond Sanders said...

Anonymous: Please identify yourself when you leave critical comments. It is a lot more fun to say, "JakeD23, you're an a-hole" than "anonymous poster #1, you're an a-hole."

But to your point, I think you have to include nebulous ideas like fear and respect in an argument like this. The league has changed even in the short time since Elway played. Stats are tough to compare. Guys play with different receivers and defenses and special teams. So wins, rings, and MVPs don't tell the whole story any more than fear or respect.

Also, you're an a-hole.

Deshawn Zombie said...

I wasn't making a list of greatest QBs. The problem with statistical analysis alone in making these lists is that often it omits context.

I'm sorry that I'm not afraid of Tom Brady. I'm afraid of Bill Belichick, does that help? My point was often the quantifiable things like stats, which tend to inflate over time in the NFL, tends to push out the other aspects of greatness. We forget the context in which guys performed. This particular list was based not on numbers but on non-quantifiable ability. Case in point-they name Tom Brady as one of, if not the most accurate QB of all time, despite the fact that his career stats don't really show that.

Even 'objective' comparisons based on stats don't reflect all the details and context. Brady fans always point out that he never had great recievers before this year. Ok, granted. I'm pointing out that when he has the ball, I'm not scared he's going to light up my team; I'm only afraid that 10 hook patterns and screens later, they'll score.

Isn't striking fear into your opponent an aspect of greatness? My larger point isn't even about Brady and Manning, per se, but rather about the way our memory of how great the greats were tends to fade. I don't think Elway was overrated. I think he's a legend, and we'll too quickly look at his passer rating and forget how devestating it was when he cut your teams' throat.

Bob M. said...

crap, I just lost a hugely long post!
Supported the fear hypothesis based on D game plans focused solely on stopping PM for years abd Brady only this year, and other teams' draft strategy--Jets with 2 1st rounders in 2006 drafted 2 OL out of non-fear of Brasdy while the Texans stretched for a DE with #1 in 2006 out of fear of Manning. Many other examples there.

Bob M. said...

oh, and the above poster is a genius,

Deshawn Zombie said...

Again, interesting examples, but I don't want to turn this into a Brady sucks thing. He doesn't and that isn't the point. Demond and I were just talking about an idea similar to one Simmons had about the 'Pantheon'. At some point, it's impossible to say who is ultimately 'the greatest'. Elway or Montana? Unitas or Brady? There's no way to settle it. Stats don't work. Memory is too unreliable. We should think in terms of tiers (sort of like what we did earlier this year with current QBs).

There is a side issue of 'greatness vs. best'. Greatness implies size or volume; best implies quality. Some QBs are great without being 'one of the best'. Bradshaw is the perfect example. FOUR RINGS! That is amazing and truly great. He's not really ever considered one of the five BEST though. Maybe this is where the 'fear' issue comes in. Marino qualifies as one of the best, but his greatness (quantity of accomplishments) dims as Favre and Manning kill his numbers.

Aside from the blindness we all have over Manning and Brady (regardless of who we pick), how do these other concepts resonate?

Adam said...

bob m. makes the best point so far. I'm sorry, but all you have to do is look at the divisional rivals to see the distance between Brady and Manning. In the AFC South, every team has a great defense, and is geared to get after Manning. In the AFC East, there isn't the same level of competition. Denver started 4 DEs to get at Manning this season. Moreover, in ESPN's own list, Manning is tops in two categories, whereas Brady is tied for one.

So, here's the question. Assume that the Pats resign Moss. How does that affect Brady's career? Do people look back and go "Wow, he wasn't throwing to anyone higher than a B- up until he got Moss and Welker?" or do they go "Moss made a A- QB an A+ QB"? Manning already proved that he can throw to anyone (see. Thorpe, Craphonso; Aromashodu, Devin; Fletcher, Bryan, etc.) How does that compare to Brady, who only put up all world numbers after getting a WR noted for making QBs seem better than they are (see. Culpepper, Daunte)?

Deshawn Zombie said...

The point isn't to go down this road. Let's not talk Brady V. Manning, but rather Brady/Manning vs history.

For the record, Manning didn't play well with the D- minus WRs, although to be fair, they were mid-season changes which are always tough.

I just don't want this discussion to get boring or insane.

JC said...

Too late.


Bowl #4 coming up.

JC said...

And dude, Montana and Brady were the same friggin guy.

Call a spade a spade (unless you consider that racist).

Quick slants, yards after catch, convert third downs.

Same guy.

Except Montana never threw 50 TD's.

Deshawn Zombie said...

Montana could scramble too; he had that unsackable quality. And he had that MONSTER game against the Broncos in the SB, and his GW SB drive was a freaking TD instead of a couple of passes and a long clutch FG with the score tied. But you're basically right, and this is what I'm talking about. I was a kid during Montana's best years; ok, all of his years. He's already fading from my memory. I can't say with too much certainty that he was better than Brady, but I don't know that he was less either. Throwing 50 TDs? Watching Brady do that this year wasn't really that impressive. I don't think that'll go down as one his 5 best accomplishments (mainly because I doubt it'll be a record in 5 more years).

I don't think stats work in comparing players between eras. Memory is unreliable as you've sort of shown. I'd perfer to let the old greats have their place for now, and move Brady and Manning alongside them when the time comes. I will say this for Brady: it's cool for him that he gets to be the greatest QB ever to wear his team's uniform. I'm not sure what Peyton would have to do to get that honor, but it'll never happen in some minds.

Anonymous said...

The most over-rated athletes in the history of pro sports are Starr, Bradshaw and Brady. None of them have ever played their position well enough to rank in the top 25 on an all-time list. All three are highly regarded because of their incredible good fortune in playing on teams with great coaches and great teammates.

Using Super Bowl rings to measure QBs makes even less sense than using Academy Awards to judge the quality of a movie with a politically correct theme. Or as much sense as using the Nobel Peace Prize to judge the value of a person's contribution to the world. Only a clueless idiot would do so.

The idiots who told us how great Kurt Warner was, are the same idiots who told us how great Steve McNair was, are the same idiots who told us how great Dante Culpepper was, are the same idiots who have told us how great Tom Brady is. At some point, people need to stop listening to the idiots and start paying attention to the actual games being played on the field.


Bob M. said...

Stan, I love you and have been waiting for you to weigh in. The post of mine that got deleted was rather extensive.

I might refine one point you made, though: Using Best Movie Oscars (r) (a "team win") as a measure of actor's greatness as an individual is on par with using SB wins to measure an individual player's greatness. (does that look right?)

If Adam Sandler happens to stumble into a movie that wins the Best Pic Oscar (r) does that make him the best actor that year? Or anyone in that movie? Not necessarily--some films are driven by individuals, some by ensembles, some by special effects. Football is an ensemble-cast game. If Sandler (I am gagging as I type this) stumbles into three movies that win Best Pic does that make him one of the all time best thespians?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Starr, Bradshaw, and to a lesser extent, Brady. (Dilfer and Johnson anybody?)

Next week, a comparitive analysis of Dickens' Bleak House and the Pro Bowl roster.

Deshawn Zombie said...

I love Bleak House. Has anyone seen the BBC miniseries of it? Gillian Anderson is amazing (as is Wedge from the Star Wars movies).