Manning not the greatest quarterback just yet

Angel Gutierrez

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Photo courtesy of MCT Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning looks down after throwing a fourth quarter interception as the New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17, Sunday, February 7, 2010 in Super Bowl XLIV at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo Credit: MCT

Prior to Super Bowl XLIV there were many people claiming that Peyton Manning, with a Colts victory in the Super Bowl, would have a legitimate case to be considered the greatest quarterback of all time. Now with Indy coming up short in the postseason once again, it could be argued that Peyton Manning chokes when postseason pressure is on.

Now we are not talking about the regular season here, strictly the postseason. Before anyone points to the fact that Manning was the MVP in Super Bowl XLI when the Colts defeated the Bears, keep in mind that his numbers for that game, 25-38 for 247 yards with one touchdown and one interception, were not all that great. It was argued by some that Dominic Rhodes should have won the MVP after rushing for 113 yard and scoring a touchdown.

In fact the only reason the Colts advanced to the Super Bowl that year was because the Patriots blew and 18-point lead against them in the AFC Championship. If not for that, Manning should be looked at the same way people look at Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, great regular season quarterback, but not someone you want quarterbacking your team in the big game.

Manning now has four regular season MVP awards, and just one Super Bowl victory. His postseason record stands at 9-9. It is starting to look like his Super Bowl season of 2006 was a fluke.

Coming up short in the big games is not something that started in the NFL for Manning. He put up big numbers for the University of Tennessee, where he was an All-American. However, Manning went 0-3 against the University of Florida in his career at Tennessee. In the 1998 season, with Manning being a rookie in the NFL, Tennessee was finally able to defeat the Florida Gators and win the National Championship without him.

Manning was expected to have a big performance against the Saints weak pass defense, but with the exception of the first quarter, Manning just didn’t seem to have his “A” game against the Saints. The Saints didn’t seem to pressure Manning the way they did Kurt Warner, and Brett Favre. The strange thing is that the Colts were able to run the ball on the Saints, and Manning still wasn’t able to break off a big play.

Manning’s numbers against the Saints were not bad at all. He went 31-45 for 333 yards, with one touchdown and an interception. The interception he threw was returned for a 74-yard touchdown by Tracy Porter and sealed the game for the Saints. There have been some people on ESPN who are trying to blame Colts receiver Reggie Wayne for the interception; however, the blame should be directed towards Manning. Porter read the play all the way and made a spectacular play, there wasn’t much Wayne could do.

It is not being suggested here that the Colts dump Manning and start all over.  There is a good chance that by the time his career is over, Manning will have won another Super Bowl or two, but for now, he is who he is, an outstanding regular season quarterback, with only a so-so postseason reputation.