The NFL season is off to a quick start once again with tons of excitement and surprises. Every year different players and teams emerge and propel themselves to the next level, but there is always a small number of teams that consistently perform well. The Indianapolis Colts are once again off to a great start, winning their first three games of the season. For the past seven seasons they have won at least 10 games and made the playoffs. The reason for their consistent success is the greatness of Peyton Manning. Since he was drafted in 1999 with the first pick by the Colts he has led them to winning seasons in 10 seasons out of his12-year career. In the second game of the season he surpassed Johnny Unitas as the all-time-wins leader in Indianapolis Colts history with 119 career regular season wins, which is also 5tth all-time. With all of his success, should Manning be considered one of the best quarterbacks ever?
Historically quarterbacks have always been evaluated by two main categories: statistics and Super Bowl wins. Dan Marino dominates basically every important passing statistic but he never won a Super Bowl, which hurts his ranking on the all-time greats list. While Joe Montana didn’t have the greatest stats, he won four Super Bowls in his career and is often labeled one of the most clutch quarterbacks ever. Both Marino and Montana have cases to be labeled as the best quarterback ever but the answer to the argument depends on what you think is more important, Super Bowls or statistics. To me, quarterbacks should put up great stats as well as lead their team to championship wins, since that is the goal of every team.
Statistically, Manning places in the top 10 in career passing yards, passing touchdowns, completion percentage and passer rating, among others. He has thrown for at least 3,500 passing yards and 25 touchdowns every season he has played. Manning has been a starting quarterback since the first game of his career and he has yet to miss a game. He has also been selected to nine pro bowls as well as winning three AFC MVPs. There is no one more consistent than Manning when it comes to statistics and winning regular season games. The man is a statistical machine, it seems like he easily produces the best stats every single year. You know what you’re going to get from him every season. But he has struggled in the playoffs and high-pressure situations throughout his career.
It took Peyton Manning seven seasons to win his first Super Bowl in 2004. His career postseason record is 7-8, certainly not the numbers of the best quarterback ever. For years Manning has been criticized for his inability to perform under high-pressure situations and must win games. It seemed like every year ended the same way for the Colts, Manning leaving the game with his patented disappointed look on his face. Sure, he is not a very clutch player but he is a great quarterback. Just look at what he has already done this season, leading his team to a 3-0 start in a season where they have a new, inexperienced coach. He is the leader and coach of the Colts and has been for 12 years. If you watch Manning play, you see how he coaches the team on the field. He continuously calls audibles, changing the play to adjust to what the defense is doing. His ability to read defenses and call an offense is unmatched in the NFL. He may be the smartest and best prepared quarterback ever but to be considered the best he needs more rings.