Settling the Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning Debate

By Delonte East

Special to Pro Football Guru

Peyton Manning has had a cast of All-Pro players surrounding him for his entire career and has one ring to show for it. And I’m here to prove how he simply hasn’t cut it.

People always say quarterbacks don't win games, it's a team effort.

What is the first thing a team does when it can't make the playoffs? They draft a new quarterback.

Is it impossible to win without a clutch quarterback?

No. Is it a hell of a lot harder? Absolutely!

You can't be up by 50 points every game. Sometimes you need someone to lead you down the field at the end of the game when the game counts.

Who do you want, Tom Brady, the man with the second-best fourth-quarter comeback record behind only Joe Montana?

Or Peyton Manning, the biggest choke in the history of professional sports?

Manning has been one-and-done eight times in the playoffs. Eight.

Tom Brady has the most playoff wins of any starting quarterback in NFL history. Would you rather go 14-2 every year and never win in the playoffs or finish 10-6 and be in the Super Bowl conversation every year?

Who cares if you don't put up world-changing numbers in the regular season? Will anyone remember Eli Manning for going 9-7 in 2011? Or will they remember him for winning the Super Bowl that year?

People will always say that Brady rides on his defense. Not true. While Manning never had an elite defense he certainly had better players than defensive backs such as Sergio Brown, Sterling Moore, Nate Jones and Antwaun Molden.

Brady is currently 12-4 with a team missing five starters. And earlier this season, he still beat Manning in a game in which the Broncos owned a 24-0 halftime lead.

All year Brady has been missing key players and kept finding ways to win games. Whether it was the beginning of the season where he was missing Rob Gronkowski, Shane Vereen and Danny Amendola (arguably his three best weapons), the middle of the season missing Vereen, Vollmer, Talib and Amendola, or right now missing Mayo, Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Gronk, Dobson and Vollmer. Tom Brady has found a way to win games.

The only key player Manning has had miss any games all season was Wes Welker, who hasn't lead the team in receiving yards a single game all season. The guy who was Brady's No. 1 target in New England is Manning's No. 4 target in Denver.

Here is the comparison of players Brady won three Super Bowls with to the players Peyton Manning could only win one title with.

Brady:

WR Troy Brown: One 1,000 season his entire 13 year career, never caught more than 6 touchdowns in a season. Present for all three Super Bowls.

WR David Patten:  Never totaled 1,000 yards receiving in a season. Present for all 3 Super Bowls.

RB Antowain Smith: Ran for 1,000 yards once in his tenure in New England, suffered from “fumblitis” his entire career. Present for first two Super Bowls.

RB Kevin Faulk: Supposedly one of the player Brady “rode to win Super Bowls” even though the most he ran for during any of the Super Bowls was 600 yards. Present for all 3.

WR Deion Branch: Sniffed a 1,000-yard season once in New England. Went to Seattle and fell off the face of the earth. Present for last two Super Bowls.

TEs Daniel Graham and Christian Fauria: Certainly no Dallas Clark. Neither of them combined ever caught 1,000 seasons in their careers. Both there for the last two Super Bowls.

WR David Givens: Never totaled 1,000 yards receiving in a season. Went to Tennessee and fell off the face of the earth after leaving Brady. Present for last two Super Bowls.

RB Corey Dillon: Probably the only star offensive player Tom Brady ever won a Super Bowl with. Would rush for nearly as many yards as running back Antowain Smith did during both of Smith’s Super Bowl seasons combined. Present for the last Super Bowl.

Manning:

RB Edgerrin James: Ran for 1,000+ yards every year of his career in Indianapolis but 2. Never won a Super Bowl.

RB Joseph Addai: Two-time 1,000-yard rusher who ran in 10 touchdowns the season Indianapolis won the Super Bowl.

WR Reggie Wayne: All-Pro who caught 1,000+ yards with Manning. Also caught passes for 1,000-plus yards the year after Manning left. Won 1 Super Bowl.

TE Dallas Clark: Pro Bowl tight end with a better rep than Fauria and Graham. Put up solid numbers after leaving Manning and joining quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Josh Freeman. Won one Super Bowl title.

WR Marvin Harrison: Future Hall of Fame wide receiver who managed to put up good numbers with Jim Harbaugh at quarterback. Played in Super Bowl XLI.

This is not to even mention the entire Denver Broncos team that took Tim Tebow two games deep into the playoffs. So as you can see, Manning has had the luxury of star players around him his entire career and has one ring to show for it. Brady has had “Smurfs” and nobodies with three rings to show for it.

But when it all comes down to it, it doesn't matter how many MVPs Manning gets or how many regular-season records he breaks. Tom Brady is clutch and can win the games when they actually matter. Would you rather retire the guy with the most “Employee of the Month” awards in the history of the company or the guy who made more money than him?

Have a Happy New Year, folks.

On a date that is none of your concern, at an undisclosed location, a legend was born. His name is Delonte East. He has a dog, an amazing woman in his life and the greatest half sleeve of tattoos in the sports journalism world. Not only can he write but he is also going to school to be a graphic designer and an audio engineer. Follow him on Twitter @DelonteEast