After watching Peyton Manning dissect the San Diego Chargers last Thursday – he threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-21 win – we were left, once again, trying to think of superlatives for a player vying for his sixth MVP award.
“I don’t know really what more there is to say about Peyton Manning at this point that’s different than what we’ve been saying for a number of years,” NFL Matchup executive producer Greg Cosell said on Ferrall on the Bench. “A lot of times people ask me questions about his ranking, and I always say, ‘What are you ultimately asking me? Whether he’s No. 1 or No. 2 or No. 3?’ I know people like lists, but at the end of the day, I don’t think there’s really anything substantive that has changed in recent years. He plays essentially the same way all the time.”
A lot of people, however, like to harp on the fact that Manning only has one Super Bowl championship and has lost two others. What if he doesn’t win a second Super Bowl? Will his career, as is, be enough for fans to consider him the greatest quarterback of all time?
“(For fans), probably not,” Cosell said. “But you could also make an easy argument that Peyton Manning has changed the way the quarterback position is played in the NFL. Now it comes back to rankings. A lot of people will say Tom Brady is ranked ahead of Peyton Manning because he’s won three Super Bowls. Okay, Tom Brady has not won a Super Bowl since 2004, so is Tom Brady not a winner anymore? I’m being sarcastic obviously, but you hear these kind of arguments which are absolutely pointless arguments, but that’s the way people see these things.”
Brett Favre recently said that he would take Manning over Brady. Would Cosell?
“I probably would,” he said, “but Tom Brady is a great quarterback as well. The problem with these kinds of lists and rankings, if you say you like Manning more than Brady, the response people have to that is, ‘You don’t like Brady.’ Lists, unfortunately, dilute meaningful substance. That’s why I’m not a big fan of lists. People don’t think about (them in) terms of substance and content. They just think about (it) in terms of (where people rank). So that’s why, to me, those arguments are pointless.”
It’s also why people take jabs at Jay Cutler, Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton and a whole host of other quarterbacks with flaws – both real and perceived.
“Here would be my question,” Cosell said. “This gets back to the whole perception issue people have. If I said to you, ‘Here’s a quarterback who’s won the most games in the NFL in the last six-and-a-half years, and he’s won a Super Bowl with arguably one of the best playoff runs in NFL history.’ How would you rate that quarterback?”
“Yeah, so how come Joe Flacco’s not thought of that way?” Cosell asked. “So much of this is perception, and I’m always fascinated by perception.”