It’s getting close to draft time, and Tom Brady sits atop almost every quarterback rankings list out there.
And with good reason:
He threw 50 touchdowns last year!
If that ain’t enough to get your mouth watering, I don’t know what is.
But, not so fast… Have you taken a good long look at Peyton Manning?
He may not be at the top of the entrée list, but he may prove to be the better dish.
I think if you just look at the numbers from last year, then Brady’s clearly your man, but a look at the bigger picture, and the intangibles, muddies the water considerably.
Let’s dive in and see.
Brady is coming off a Superbowl appearance, the TD record, and has Moss and Welker back.
So what’s not to like?
Well, for starters the Pats relied heavily on the passing game last year because of a depleted running game, and a schedule that featured weak secondaries.
It’s a pretty safe bet that defenses across their schedule this year will blitz Brady like he’s holding the Holy Grail, and the Pats should have to run the ball more to compensate.
Sure, but Brady is unstoppable, right?
Look at 2004.
In that year Manning threw 49 TD’s, only one less than Brady did last year.
Manning was thought to be Superman going into the following year, but he ultimately only threw a Clark Kent-ish 28 touchdowns in 2005.
Not a bad number, but a huge drop off, and his worst year since.
Will Brady’s total drop that far?
Maybe not, but there’s no way he’s throwing 50 again.
It ain’t happening.
In the NFL, teams adapt and overcome.
One intangible is Brady’s prima donna receiver, Randy Moss.
While he did grow up and play like a big boy last year, he is always only one easily hurt feeling away from lying down.
This guy is more sensitive than my wife, and pouts worse than my kids.
Do I need to remind you of his years in
If he falls off the charts, Welker’s falling with him, because as a slot receiver he’s only as good as the guy outside of him.
I’m not knocking Welker, but we all know that he’s no number one receiver.
And speaking of prima donnas, Ole Tom is starting to show a little
Could it be that he is losing his competitive edge a little?
I’ve seen his girlfriend, and after a night with her I personally wouldn’t know or care what a football was.
Now at the opposite end of the spectrum is Manning.
Peyton didn’t make it to the big dance last year, but that guy you saw hoisting the Lombardi and grinning from rather large ear to rather large ear was his brother.
And while I’m sure Peyton was genuinely happy for his ‘Lil Bro’s accomplishment, it has to be sticking in his craw like a sideways fish bone.
Manning also watched as Brady
barely eclipsed his single season passing touchdown record.
You can best believe that Manning, who is as competitive as they come, will be out to redeem himself this year.
He is accustomed to being THE talked-about quarterback in the NFL, and doesn’t like being second chair to anyone.
Last season he ate humble pie from the third chair, behind his snot-nosed sibling AND Mr. Tom Brady Thank You Very Much.
I think you’ll see Manning chunking the ball like it’s going out of style, and we all know he’s very good at it.
We also know that he is basically the Colt’s offensive coordinator, and can control the amount of opportunities he gets to throw into the endzone.
Remember also that Peyton didn’t have Marvin Harrison last year, and Manning also seemed to be trying to prove that the Colts had a running game.
All last season I kept thinking that he was going out of his way NOT to throw touchdowns.
I don’t know exactly how many times I saw him audible to a run near the goal line, but it was a lot.
Manning loves the quick-slant to
Gonzalez as a rookie played in 13 games last year and gained some valuable experience in
Don’t forget how much better Indy’s defense was last year either, that should help as well.
All the above points to the fact that Manning will have more to play for, all while balancing a huge chip on his shoulder.
While Brady and the Pats were denied in their quest for a perfect season and a Superbowl ring, I think he has too much working against him to be truly hungry.
Manning is “Hungry Like the Wolf,” while Brady is hungry like he just finished Thanksgiving dinner.
Time will tell, but I think Manning may surpass Brady as the quarterback you wish you had in 2008.
I believe that he is going to try and throw 51 touchdowns this year.
He may not make it, but he has everything in place to come close.
At any rate, if you’re picking 2nd or 3rd, and the guy in front of you picks Brady, just grin and take Manning next.
I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.