I'm not hating on Peyton Manning, but...
That word/phrase has officially passed, "It's not about the money, it's about respect," as the most overused in sports.
Peyton Manning is not the greatest quarterback of all time. For some reason, if you agree with that opinion, you're a hater.
If an analyst picks your team to lose, suddenly they're a hater. If an insider points out the flaws of a college player's game, he gets the tweet "#donthate" sent back. Is there any chance that the "hater" is right? If they're right, it would seem clear that facts or intelligent opinions aren't hating as much as informing or critiquing.
Is it really that insulting to claim someone is the third-best in the world's history at their job? I can safely say no one has ever accused me of being the third-best talk show host ever, but I would gladly accept the compliment if you'd like to be the first to say it.
Either Peyton Manning or Walter Payton is the greatest ambassador of football the game has ever known. His level of class is so far above most humans (clearly above mine), that we can all take lessons from him on how to deal with public adversity. His devotion to perfection should be imitated by professionals everywhere, not just athletes, but any professional in any walk of life. Peyton Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and one of the greatest people to ever be employed by an NFL team. There is no reason to hate Peyton Manning unless your life is fueled by jealousy because you want to justify your own failings.
I understand why Peyton is loved. He should be. The catch is he's not as good as Joe Montana or Tom Brady. Does that sentence really make me a hater? I think that's an amazing list of quarterbacks and a huge compliment to say he's third. The one constant among all analysts who put Peyton first is they must apologize or justify Peyton's playoff performance: most playoff losses in history, seven trips to the playoffs without a win and only one Super Bowl victory.
If Peyton's the greatest of all time, why does he suddenly stop being the greatest of all time in January? Since I think Tom Brady is the greatest of all time, I'm not trying to explain away bad regular seasons. Tom Brady audibles without all the gestures that Manning supporters love so much, so he's not as much fun to watch. Brady has had one Hall of Fame receiver -- and only had him for a brief period of time -- while Manning played the bulk of his career with two Hall of Fame-caliber receivers. Manning has had fewer offensive coordinators in his career, creating much more continuity. Plus, Manning has had the benefit of playing in a dome, while Brady wins as many games as he can every year just to play his playoff games in the atmospheric nightmare for a quarterback that is New England.
Both quarterbacks are great regular-season quarterbacks. The postseason must be used as the separating entity. It's completely opinion to try and figure out why Peyton Manning teams fail the majority of the time after Christmas. It's fact to say Tom Brady and Joe Montana succeed more often. If anyone thinks Manning is better than Brady, I ask two questions: 1) What is it Brady has to do more of,or improve upon, to catch Manning? and, 2) How many playoff games have the Patriots lost where you say after the game, "Brady strongly contributed to the loss." Although Manning clearly won the individual and team battle this year, rarely has Brady played poorly in a Patriots loss. For Peyton, it's almost yearly.
When I talk about Peyton as the third greatest QB, I'm not dismissing his regular-season accomplishments. If I thought postseason or Super Bowls were all that mattered, I would rank Peyton behind Terry Bradshaw or consider Peyton even with Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer. I accept there's much more to playing the hardest position in professional sports than just January results. Once you put all the greats in one room, it's January and Super Bowls that should separate them.
I have great respect for Peyton Manning. I will never "hate" any athlete who gives all they can to succeed. Congratulations Peyton. 2013 proved, once again, you're one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. As soon as you win two more Super Bowls, Brady and Montana will invite you to their wing of the Hall of Fame.
Doug Franz, Co-host of Doug & Wolf