Now obviously, this is a debate that goes on every single year, every single time the best QB is talked about, and recently, its all come down to who has more hardware. Unfortunately, that is the absolute WRONG way to determine who's the best.
Terry Bradshaw, a 4 time SB winner, couldn't even hold a candle to John Elway, Dan Marino, Steve Young, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning. Yet, the man has 4 SB rings. So by most people's view (the kind who say Brady has more rings, he's the better QB), he's a better QB than Manning and Brady together.
Now, there is absolutely no way I can truly believe that. I'm sure that there are tons of others of you out there that feel the same way. Winning the SB is great, being a Champion is every players dream, but this isnt about just winning, this is about being the best.
In the last 12 years, only 5 teams have made more than 1 appearance in the SB. Denver, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and New England. Of those 5, 3 play in the AFC. All 3 of the AFC teams made it to the SB by being a dominating defense who forced turnovers, punts, and sacked the QB with extreme prejudice. The Giants, one of the NFC teams, also played the same way. (The St. Louis Rams had the easiest schedule of any team to play in the SB except the 17-0 Dolphins). They also tended to dominate time of possession as well as score often on turnovers. All 4 of those teams have 1 thing in common, they had a QB who was managing the game. Yes, all 4 of those QB's are capable of putting up numbers, but they didn't need to. They managed the game, played the field as they could, and took advantage of their DEFENSE getting turnovers.
Some of you are saying, well how does that determine the greatest QB? Easy, take the QB out of the equation and what happens to the team? Does the team still make a run at the playoffs, is it still capable of winning on a regular basis? We've all seen the answer in Miami and Denver, where both of those teams have struggled badly ever since the loss of their two HOF QB's, and we've seen it San Francisco since Montana/Young left. That determine's how truly great a QB is. And we've obviously seen it happen in New England, not once, but twice now.
Think about this, when the Patriots made their first SB win, a guy named Drew Bledsoe was their starter for most of the year. He was a Pro Bowler, putting up big numbers, and was generally considered a good QB. He gets hurt, and in comes this nobody and they make a run to the SB. Ironically, they win. Brady is now the superstar. He gets hurt, and in comes this nobody who hasnt started a game since like 1997 when he was in HS. They rip off an 11-5 season and only miss out on the playoffs because their defense fell apart in a few games. Now someone is gonna say well they didn't have Brady...but 16 other teams in the league didnt even have Matt Cassell and couldn't even win 8 games...so that is a moot point.
Now, let's look at Peyton Manning. Without Manning at the helm, the "Indy Colts" had only had 1 QB that had managed to make the playoffs more than once in a row (Captain Comeback!). Since Manning, the Colts have missed the playoffs only twice in his entire career. That's astounding. More to the point, the guy has put up stats that are eyepopping and gaudy. This is a guy who if you took him out of the lineup, the Colts would have been lucky to finish better than last in our division. Sure, we have talent on offense, but it's Manning who makes that work.
Let's take and compare the Colts defenses over the last 10 years to the Patriot's or Steeler's defenses. It's not even a fair match because the Colts defense has been average at best. The two best years of defense that the Colts had? 2007/2008, and ironically, the Colts couldn't capitalize due to a myriad of injuries on offense and defense. It was so bad on defense that Peyton could go out, score a TD, and the defense would turn around and give up a TD in less time than it took Peyton to score one on offense. I mean, the games against Kansas City in the early 2000's and of course Denver...it was just horrible. Now put Manning at the helm of the Steelers or Patriots offense and allow those defenses to work for him. What do you think happens? I guarantee at least 2-3 more rings would adorn Manning's fingers.
Lastly, people are going to say well Manning has all these weapons on offense and HOF players. Let's look at that. Marvin Harrison was in his second season when the Colts drafted Manning. Edge was drafted a year later. Granted, both of those players turned in HOF players who made Manning great, but it wasn't just those guys. Everyone saw what happened to Edge when he went to play in Arizona, with arguably as talented WR's as the Colts. He was not the same player, despite just having rushed for almost 1600 yards his final year as a Colt. Trust me, its far easier to manage a game when your team is averaging 2-3 turnovers on defense per game. Which would you rather have, a top defense and average offense, or a top offense and a 2nd rate defense? I think the answer here is option 1, considering the Patriots, Giants, Steelers, Ravens, and Buccaneers would all say that is how they did it.
Before I go, I would like to add that despite my utter hatred of the Cheatriots, I do have a ton of respect for Brady as a QB. The guy is a game manager, and can put his team in place to win on a regular basis. He's easily in the top 3 QB's in the last 15 years. However, I have to put Manning before him because of one simple fact. Brady does not carry his team. Brady has always had a good or above average defense. Manning has always had a subpar or average defense. My comparison is not 100% accurate, but you get the idea. Just want to throw a few stats at you before I click submit.
Who's the winningest QB since 2000? Manning. Who's got the best record since 2000? The Colts. Who's got the most MVP's since then? Manning. The only thing Brady has more of is rings.....and like I said at the start, ring's don't always make you the best.....just means you won..