QB's Shouldn't Be Measured by Rings

Jan 27, 2014 -- 10:23am

In a poll conducted by ESPN’s SportsNation, 47 percent said they’d rate Peyton Manning as the No. 1 quarterback of all-time if he won a second Super Bowl ring in Sunday’s game between Manning’s Broncos and Seattle. If Denver lost, however, Manning would fall back to somewhere among the top 10 QBs of all-time based on the poll.


Let’s look at this more deeply.

For example, using the ESPN SportsNation poll as the measuring stick, if Manning throws for 5 touchdowns, 400 yards and no picks in Super Bowl 48, but Seattle wins 50-49 . . . well, then Manning’s place in history would be diminished.

On the other hand, if Manning has a horrible game -- throws for zero TDs, only 200 yards and three interceptions -- but the Broncos play great defense and win 10-7, Manning’s legacy grows.

Doesn’t make sense, huh?

In other words, in football, perhaps the ultimate team sport, rings are over overrated. Way overrated!

Winning is important, of course, but should a quarterback’s legacy be diminished because he played on teams with lousy defenses? And should a quarterback’s legacy be enhanced if he wins a lot of championships because he played on teams with great defenses?

Then there’s the question of how to judge quarterbacks from different eras.

Sammy Baugh was a great quarterback who also played defense and punted. Otto Graham was the winningest QB of all-time if you go solely by championships. Johnny Unitas is rated No. 1 by many partly, no doubt, because he starred in the NFL’s first major televised game, the 1956 championship game when Unitas’ Colts beat the New York Giants in overtime.

Many rate Joe Montana No. 1 thanks to his four Super Bowls rings, but Terry Bradshaw also won four and no one considers him the best of all-time. John Elway is in the discussion as the best but only because he won Super Bowls in his last two seasons – which happened to be when the Broncos acquired an outstanding running back named Terrell Davis. Dan Marino is considered by some as the greatest passer ever, but few consider him the best quarterback of all-time because his Dolphins never won a Super Bowl.

I could go on but you understanding my point.

I don’t know who the greatest quarterback of all-time is. No one does. I do know Peyton Manning rates among the greatest and that won’t change regardless of who wins Super Bowl 48.

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