Posnanski on Manning, while talking about Lionel Messi:
So, while watching Lionel Messi and Argentina play Mexico in a Round of 16 match, I got to thinking a bit about Peyton Manning. Here’s what I was thinking: If you knew only a little bit about pro football, you would still know that Peyton Manning is great. You would appreciate that he is accurate with his passes, that he has a knack for finding open receivers, that he stands in against fierce pressure. You would see him connect with a receiver 50 yards downfield and you would understand at a gut level that he is good at this quarterback thing.
But you probably would not understand JUST how good Peyton Manning is at being a quarterback, not until you watched more football. It would only be after watching other quarterbacks — good ones, mediocre ones, bad ones, JaMarcus Russell — that you would begin to see what makes Manning special. Because then you hard it is to be that good. You would see how often other quarterbacks miss open receivers, how often they make imprecise decisions, how often they unnerve in a collapsing pocket, how they can’t consistently see what Manning sees.