HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – Super Bowl XLVI could create one of two storylines for the future of quarterback debates. If the Patriots win, Tom Brady will be vaulted to the forefront of the “greatest quarterback of all time” list. If the Giants win, Eli Manning will start a discussion of if he is better than his brother, Peyton, and if he is one of the elite quarterbacks of his era.
However, are either of those arguments validated by one more win?
If Brady wins it will be his fourth Super Bowl victory, which will tie him with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw. That, in combination with a great career highlighted by his 2007 season, is more than enough to put Brady in the Hall of Fame. It may be enough to put him atop the list of the greatest quarterbacks ever.
The first part needs to go no further than Terry Bradshaw. While Bradshaw held the record for years until Montana tied him, that is not a reason to call him the best of all time regardless of what era he was in. Simply compiling Super Bowl appearances or victories is not enough to call someone the best.
No one can deny that winning is important. However, you can’t give all of the credit to a quarterback for a victory in what is the ultimate team sport. Just for example, was Manning really a better quarterback than Brady when they faced off after the 2007 season?
In four games through his postseason run, Manning threw for 855 yards and six touchdowns. That is an average of less than 215 yards per game and 1.5 touchdowns. To make a comparison, those are almost the exact same numbers Andy Dalton averaged throughout his rookie season.
That’s not a knock on Dalton, but to compare him to Brady is ridiculous, yet somehow people believe that Manning’s Super Bowl means the same for him as it does for a quarterback that actually wins the game for his team. It doesn’t.
That is a knock on people that determine the greatness of a quarterback based on Super Bowl victories.
Quick side note, what two teams have scored the most points in the Super Bowl since 2000? The answer is the the same as the two best defenses or the two worst quarterbacks to be in the Super Bowl. The 2002 Bucs dropped a 48 spot on the Raiders and the 2000 Ravens put up 34 on the Giants.
The fact that someone is a quarterback on a team that wins a Super Bowl does not make him a great quarterback, even if it happens more than once. With that said, the chances of a quarterback “Dilfering” his way into multiple Super Bowls in this current NFL is unlikely.
It may not be as unthinkable as it is made out to be, though. Tom Brady, who may well be the greatest quarterback ever, only averages 238 yards per game in the postseason. That means John Skelton, Josh Freeman and Ryan Fitzpatrick averaged more yards per game this season than Brady has in the postseason.
Manning’s numbers are actually relatively similar to Brady’s in the postseason. Through his first 10 games Manning has averaged 222 yards per game and a 2:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio at 16-8.
Despite Brady’s record-setting six-touchdown performance against the Broncos a couple of weeks ago, he has less than a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio at 36-19.
In Brady’s entire postseason career (21 games), he only has four games of 300 or more yards and never more than one in a single postseason. Over the four Super Bowls that he has played in he averages 250 yards per game but is sporting a very impressive 7:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Winning matters, but it is more about how you win than that you win.