Angry trolls like you and the Cold, Hard Football Facts, who inhabit the world of online football analysis, are familiar with Pete Prisco of CBS Sportsline. He's known throughout this vast pigskin nation as the world's biggest Peyton Manning buttswab. You could have sweetened your family's Sunday pancakes with his sappy preseason profile of the QB Family Manning: Peyton, Archie and Eli.
Prisco wastes no chance to declare his undying love for Peyton. The Cold, Hard Football Facts, meanwhile, know that Peyton Manning is an NFL fraud. It's inevitable that we place Prisco in Pigskin Detention. This week, we were given a golden opportunity. CBS Sportsline asked two of its "pundits" this question: "Start a club and pick any QB. Who do you choose?" Clark Judge had the sense to pick Tom Brady because "I want someone who wins, and no one wins as often as Brady." Judge goes on to sing the gospel according to the Cold, Hard Football Facts: "I like this even more: He wins when it counts." Judge then offered in an array of data, familiar to Cold, Hard Football Facts fans, highlighting Brady's superiority over Manning: Brady is 7-0 in overtime; 28-4 in games played after Nov. 1; 6-0 in the playoffs. Manning doesn't come close in any of those categories.
But you didn't need to read beyond Prisco's name to know who he would pick. Wrote Manning's buttswab: "This might be an easier answer than who's my favorite NFL writer. Peyton Manning is not only the best quarterback in the league, but he's also the best player." Prisco does not offer a single fact to support hs contention. But he does serve up on a platter his own utter cluelessness about the nature of pro football by invoking the name of the greatest postseason fraud in NFL history. "I still think Dan Marino is the greatest passer of all time, but Manning is someday going to be right up there with him."
Right up where, Prisco? In the pantheon of QBs who lit it up in the regular season only to soil their panties in the playoffs? There, then, is the champagne that fuels the Prisco-Manning love affair. Prisco is duly impressed by quarterbacks who put up big numbers in September and October. He cares little about postseason football, where Manning has made it a habit of playing the worst games of his career. The truth about the Brady-Manning debate is that Brady always outperforms Manning in head to head competition, and has proven a far more clutch postseason performer. Consider that Brady is 5-0 in games against Manning. Consider, too, their respective performances in those five games:
* Brady: 103 for 153 (67.3%), 1,178 yards, 9 TDs, 4 INTs, 99.0 passer rating
* Manning: 110 for 192 (57.3%), 1,304 yards, 9 TDs, 9 INTs, 74.2 passer rating
Both quarterbacks, meanwhile, have played in six postseason games. Manning has a slight edge in passer rating, but it belies a rather psychotic postseason existence: Five of Manning's 10 postseason touchdown passes came in a single game last season against Denver in which he chalked up a 158.3 passer rating. This single game skews a rather embarrassing postseason history. Two weeks later, for example, in the AFC title game, Manning posted a 35.5 rating against New England. It was the third worst performance in his entire NFL career. The season before, he played the single worst game of his entire career (a 31.2 rating) in a 41-0 playoff loss to the Jets. Brady, meanwhile, has been rock steady, despite playing one postseason game in a blizzard, another in snow, and a third in one of the coldest games in NFL history (-5 F). Manning has played only one postseason game in inclement weather. The result was his futile 35.5 passer rating against New England. Here's how Brady and Manning compare in their postseason careers:
* Brady: 135 for 223 (60.5%), 1,364 yards, 6 TDs, 3 INTs, 81.4 passer rating
* Manning: 117 for 209 (56.0%), 1,476 yards, 10 TDs, 6 INTs, 82.1 passer rating
Brady, of course, has won all six of his playoff games, including two Super Bowls, and has earned two Super Bowl MVP trophies. He's also engineered a remarkable four last-second game-winning or game-tying scoring drives in these six postseason games. Manning, meanwhile, has won just two of six postseason games and has failed his team in each of the four seasons in which he's appeared the playoffs.
So, Prisco, cast your lot with Manning. And have fun watching the Super Bowl in his bedroom again this year.