This Tom Brady/Peyton Manning Comparison Should Scare The Hell Out Of The NFL

Taylor McCloud — Pats Militia

It is not often that I continue to hate a player into retirement, but I still can’t stand Peyton Manning. He was the worst part of my childhood and it kills me knowing he beat Tom Brady in their last matchup. But something came out yesterday that makes me feel a whole lot better about that noodle-armed, cucumber from Veggie Tales looking bozo.

Both Brady and Manning played in Super Bowls at the age of 39. And, both of them won their respective championship games. However, their performances were polar opposites.

If you can’t expand those tweets, here are their two statlines side-by-side:

Quarterback Name Peyton Manning (SB L) Tom Brady (LI)
C/ATT 13/23 43/62
YDS 141 466
AVG 6.1 7.5
TD 0 2
INT 1 1
QBR 6.0 79.6
RTG 56.6 95.2

Before I begin, though, I have to compliment Manning. I think he’s the second greatest quarterback of all time. He (along with Brady), revolutionized the game of football. And, even though I despise the guy, I’ll admit that Peyton had to be out there for the Broncos to win that Super Bowl. Although he couldn’t do anything physically productive, his mind alone could have outperformed Brock Osweiler. He did what he had to for his team and they ultimately won a championship. So, what actually happened on the field isn’t a main focus of mine.

Could it be? Of course. The discrepancies between the two performances are laughable. While Tom Brady was incredible, Peyton was inept. But, again, that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

Instead, I’m here to talk about just how well Brady has aged in comparison to Manning.

Like I said earlier, both quarterbacks played in Super Bowls at the age of 39, but their routes to the big game were extremely different.

In 2015, Peyton Manning started out slow and only got slower and slower. He was benched in the middle of the season, had to deal with a couple of injuries, and despite playing in the playoffs, looked like an old ass man. His angel-hair spaghetti arm couldn’t push the ball down the field. His Dixon Ticonderoga #2 pencil legs could barely move. To put it simply, he was a fucking mess.

Brady, on the other hand, is still as put together as ever. After sitting out for four games, Brady had a career year. His total yards and touchdowns were down because of the suspension, but he finished near the top of the NFL in every other statistical category, finished second in MVP voting, and was both the top graded quarterback and overall player by Pro Football Focus.

The difference between the two seasons is astounding.

At the tail of Manning’s career, he was terrible. Yes, he finished the season with a ring, but everyone knows he didn’t carry the load. His career ended the way it did, but he certainly didn’t go out with any sort of bang. His career numbers are what they are, and those are obviously some of the best ever, but when 39 hit, he fell off a cliff.

Tom Brady is 39, and along with already having accomplished more than any other quarterback ever, is still climbing the mountain. That sounds ridiculous (and felt ridiculous to write), but it’s the truth. Whether it’s the band workouts, recovery sleepwear, avocado ice cream, or whatever other weird shit he does, TB is the youngest 39 year-old the NFL has ever seen. I say it, he says it, everyone says it. I’ve watched this guy for my entire life, and I can say for sure that this is the highest level he’s ever played at. His footwork is flawless, his throws are crisp, he’s more agile than ever, and all of that’s being accompanied by a brain that’s been in the NFL for seventeen years. No player in league history has ever possessed that combination of skill and knowledge.

Plus, his inhuman ability to keep pushing despite already reaching unimaginable heights just won’t let him fall off the same cliff Peyton did.

This guy, the one who’s already done pretty much everything a football player could hope to, wants to, and will, keep going. No one can figure out what drives him, but there’s something inside of him with the pedal slammed to the floor, and he loves it. He doesn’t shy away from it, or put it away to pursue other things. Instead, he fully embraces it.

He didn’t hang ’em up at the age of 39 after a Super Bowl victory like Peyton. He wasn’t forced into retirement because of a broken down body. In fact, the exact opposite is happening for Brady.

He’s getting better as a quarterback and he’s as competitive as ever. Shit, two days after completing the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, a time when most guys would be sitting on their laurels, TB was standing out in the snow screaming about getting number six.

That alone should shake the rest of the NFL to its collective core.

Go Pats.