For those of you who have not been heard of this, or for those who simply have not been keeping up with it...
The NFL decided to do a list of top 100 players and put together a panel including blue-ribbon panelists Peter King, Michael Lombardi, Ernie Accorsi, and Jarrett Bell.
Peyton Manning is the only active player to crack the top 10 players of all time. There are only 4 other active players who even cracked the top 50. Two of those players are considered to be some of the very best to ever play their position (Lewis, T. Gonzalez).
To me, I have no problem with this ranking. He's behind Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana, two of the most gifted QB's in the absolute history of the game. Both of whom are responsible for some of the biggest games in the history of the sport.
He's ahead of every other high profile QB in the game. Brett Favre, John Elway, Dan Marino, and yes, even Tom Brady. Manning has already passed Elway on the all-time list. Marino is in sight by next season possibly. Brady has no chance of catching Manning in most of the statistics categories.
So let's really quickly iron out why Manning was put higher than Brady. It's not the Super Bowl rings, it's not the MVPs, it's because Manning is simply the better overall QB.
Let's for the sake of argument, remove both players from their current teams. Their new respective teams are the Detroit Lions (Manning) and the Seahawks (Brady). Ironically enough, that is a pretty close representation of what each player wound up being drafted by when they entered the league. Manning went to a franchise that was downtrodden and not known for winning in recent memory. Brady was a low round draft pick for a team who had known recent success but wasn't a serious contender at the moment.
Now, the reason I stated it this way, is why I believe that the panel voted Manning so high. It's not just the stats, or the starting streak, but it's because he's revolutionized the game at QB much like guys like Montana, Marino, and Unitas did in the past.
Brady is a fantastic QB. He's won 3 SB's. However, he's played on some of the best defensive teams over the course of his career. It's no coincidence that his best statistical years have come when he's had to throw the ball to win (sound familiar?). However, as proven by Matt Cassell, the Patriots system works without Brady.
You might be able to take Brady and put him in a Colts uniform and the Colts would still be considered a contender....but you most certainly could not take any other QB in the league or in college and be a yearly contender with the Colts. They simply are not that good without #18.