Buy or Sell Peyton Manning as best QB ever?

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An ESPN show has a “buy or sell” segment, so I know it’s not authentic, but let’s be honest, some of the best ideas are already taken, so I thought I’d put my own spin on Buy or Sell.

Recently, I had an interesting discussion with a Pittsburgh Steelers fan about Peyton Manning. The Pittsburgh guy thinks Manning has been the beneficiary of playing in a dome and being surrounded by outstanding talent. “I’ve never liked him,” the man declared, without reservation.


During the past few years, I’ve come to think that Peyton Manning is arguably the best quarterback in National Football League history.

He’s won a Super Bowl, four MVPs (a 5th is most assuredly on its way in 2013) and has thrown for 60,000 yards faster than any player.

Manning is a 12-time Pro Bowl participant (13 is certainly coming in 2013). Next year, Manning will probably throw his 500th touchdown pass, which only Brett Favre has done.

From a statistical point of view, it’s tough to argue against Manning. He’s on pace to break most single-season passing records this year.

I have to admit, though, that the Steeler fan had me intrigued. Do I have it wrong about Manning? Is it possible that he’s just an above average QB, who has benefited from good situations. Playing in a dome. Passing to guys like Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. Handing off to Edgerrin James.

So, Buy or Sell Peyton Manning as the best QB ever?

Not because of Steeler fan, but I’m going to sell this. Sounds crazy, based on all of the previously-mentioned evidence, I realize, but what statistics don’t measure are intangibles.

I’ve seen Manning do some amazing things, and his precision as a passer is undeniable. I’m selling, though, because I’ve seen John Elway play.

I watched Elway break every heart in Cleveland too many times, as he rescued Denver from the jaws of defeat with some of the most unseemly, magician-like quarterbacking imaginable.

Like Manning, Elway was a brilliant marksman with excellent statistics. When it comes to needing to travel the length of the football field in only a few minutes to win a big game? I’ll take Elway every time and that, to me, is what makes a quarterback truly great.

Is Peyton Manning a marvelous, far above-average QB? Absolutely. He’s not the best ever, though. John Elway is.

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Mark Barnes is the Founder of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series, The uNseries, and other books from some of education's most reputable teachers and leaders. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Connect with @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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