"Pundits" enable Manning's chokeaholicism
Riddle us this, friends of the Cold, Hard Football Facts: what is it about Peyton Manning that blinds people to the harsh reality of his utter incompetence in big-game competition? Please, we beseech you. Explain this to us. Because the "pundits" at NFL.com just don't seem to get it. We're armed with a mountain of data, and yet we remain at a loss to explain this phenomenon.
Yes, Manning is in the midst of what will likely go down as the greatest passing season by any QB in history. But his regular-season mastery should only serve to accentuate his woeful inadequacy in big-game competition.
The Cold, Hard Football Facts have chronicled Manning's eminent chokeosity time and again (see links below). We won't bore you with all the sordid details here. Suffice it to say that his passer rating in his four playoff losses (against two victories) is a mere 54.6. Blame his defense all you want. But you can't hide the fact that Manning has repeatedly turned in subpar performances in must-win playoff games. In fact, two of the three worst games of his career have come in the playoffs, including last year's AFC title game.
Still, the glaring light of reality doesn't stop the "pundits" at NFL.com from naming Manning the "quarterback they would most want on their team in a must-win situation."
NFL.com this week posed this quandary to nine "pundits." Six picked the Picasso of Choke Artists, Peyton Manning. Two picked Tom Brady, a guy you and I know simply as "Two-Time Super Bowl MVP." Lincoln Kennedy, the former NFL lineman turned host of NFL Total Access, picked Donovan McNabb.
The only explanation we can come up with is that the "pundits" are more impressed by Manning's six touchdowns in a regular season game against hapless Detroit than they are by Brady's two last-second Super Bowl-winning scoring drives and a long list of NFL records, such as best career won-loss percentage and best overtime record, and his ability to carry a team to championships with virtually no Pro Bowlers around him. Perhaps the "pundits" still use the old math.
At least two "pundits" understand the new myth. Brady man Adam Schefter simply asks, "How can anybody pick any other quarterback?" As Schefter points out, Brady has proven time and again that he can get it done in "must-win" situations. For other QBs, it's simply conjecture.
The Cold, Hard Football Facts take comfort in the fact that the most successful quarterback on the NFL.com panel, three-time Super Bowl champion Troy Aikman, also sides with Brady.
Phil Simms is the stupidest of this ignorant bunch. He favored Manning as the QB he wants in a must-win situation. And he says his second choice is Donovan McNabb. Gil Brandt also splits his vote between Manning and McNabb.
You and I know McNabb as the quarterback who lost three straight NFC title games and who put up pedestrian career numbers before this season. Simms knows him as the guy who "even when he's not throwing the football well...still completes passes when they count." Really, Phil? When was that? We must have been in a different fantasy football league.
Yes, friends of the Cold, Hard Football Facts, the ways of the "pundits" remain a mystery to us. It seems Brady will never be better than second best in the eyes of the "pundits." He'll simply have to comfort himself by being number one on the field of play.
For more on a career in desperate need of a well-placed Heimlich maneuver, see:
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- Best Pass Defense Ever: Ronde Barber And The 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Reese Witherspoon Arrest Video: Hot, Bothered And Handcuffed
- Sam Adams In A Can, Just In Time For Summer Drinking Season
- 'Cheeseheads' Reality Show Destined To Suck
- The 5.0 Club: Best Rushing Teams in NFL History
- Sieves: The Worst Run Defenses In NFL History
- 2013 NFL Schedule: The Year Of The Denver Broncos
- Boston, Sports, Patriotism And Terror
- Monsters of the Midway: We Need The Chicago Bears More Than Ever
- The 100 Stingiest Defenses In Football History
- NFL Crown Rule: Will It Dethrone Rushing King Adrian Peterson?
- Big Tease: 2012 New England Patriots And NFL's History Of Offensive Failures
- Epic Fail: The Wide Receiver Draft Class Of 2012