Inflating Peyton Manning’s Reputation

• April 23, 2013 1:02 pm


I like to think that the people who participate in these ESPN snap polls on Twitter are sports fans who may be taking the day off from work or perhaps have the misfortune of being unemployed and therefore have a lot of time on their hands.

But if they’re ill or between jobs, and ESPN asks, "Who is the greatest quarterback selected No. 1 overall?" and the choices are Terry Bradshaw, John Elway, Troy Aikman, and Peyton and Eli Manning, I would hope they'd consult the Googles before they respond.

So it was to my marginal chagrin that 30 percent of these yokels said Peyton Manning, formerly of Indianapolis and last seen again losing at home in the playoffs, is the Greatest Number One Draft QB Ever. He narrowly squeaked by Elway, who scored 29 percent. At least Elway made the Super Bowl more than once.

Greatness, from politics to sports, is defined by banners in the rafters. By that rubric, the adjusted QB rankings should be Terry Bradshaw with four championships, Troy Aikman with three, Eli and Elway tied with two, and Peyton carrying one title in the rear.

So why, out of these five quarterbacks, did the guy with the fewest rings win the largest vote? I know we live in Obama’s America, where a terrible record warrants a second term, but c’mon.

America is a nation that demands results in the clutch. We carved a friggin' mountain commemorating four U.S. presidents who performed admirably when the stakes were highest. But just as he struggled during his college career against the Florida Gators, Peyton has had a hard time in professional sudden death games, finishing a glaring 9-11.

Is being at the top of major stats enough to be named the GOAT of Number One draft picks? That’s sort of like putting President George H.W. Bush alongside the all-time greats. Forty-one may have kicked Saddam out of Iraq and supervised the peaceful decomposition of the USSR, but dude still got beat when it counted.

Published under: Football, Sports