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.