Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Perception v. Reality

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The Colts are the champions! They have finally reached the pinnacle! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! Peyton Manning finally has his Super Bowl title and joins the likes of Mark Rypien, Trent Dilfer, and Jeff Hostetler with one championship ring apiece.
A closer look at THE MOST IMPORTANT POSITION IN THE HISTORY OF SPORTS, the quarterback position over the last twenty Super Bowls starting with Washington's 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII.

Heroic Back-ups
Jeff Hostetler 1-0
Hostetler stepped in for the Eli Manning's during the 1990 season and leads the team to a Super Bowl upset over the Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, and Bruce Smith led Buffalo Bills. More impressively, Hostetler beat the two time defending champion San Fransisco 49ers in the NFC championship. Staring only two games Hostetler holds the record for best mustache in Super Bowl history.
Doug Williams 1-0
Williams started five games for the Redskins in 1987 and led the Redskins to 35 points in the second quarter against the Pre-Mastermind Broncos. He was also the first African-American to win the championship. He never again played up to the Super Bowl level.

Overachievers
Mark Rypien 1-0
Rypien was a far less sextacullar version of recent whipping boy Rexgasm G. Rypien did lead the Redskins to a championship though. Rypien threw the deep ball extremely well and was of Eskimo decent. He beat the immortal Eric Kramer of the Detroit Lions 41-10 in the NFC Championship and Jim Kelly's Bills 37-24 in Super Bowl XXVI. He threw a very low number of passes under pressure and predictably thrived. He also danced like a man suffering seizures. Quick! Don't let him swallow his tongue!

Game Managers

Unlike overachievers, game managers were not really required to make any plays. All three game managers had strong running games, excellent defenses, and very conservative game plans.

Trent Dilfer
1-0
The 2000 Baltimore Ravens allowed the fewest points (165) in NFL history. Tony Banks was the starting quarterback at the beginning of the season. The offense went the entire month of October (and five games straight) without an offensive touchdown. Dilfer defeated the best known alcoholic racist who quite a team at mid season and spent the summer backpacking in Europe quarterback off all-time, Kerry Collins. Dilfer lost his job the next season to the fantastic Elvis Grbac and spent the past six seasons as Matt Hasselbeck, Charlie Fry, and Alex Smith's backup. I could go on but I'm getting sick.

Brad Johnson 1-0
The 2002 Buccaneers had another great defense though Johnson did need to make far more plays then Dilfer. With Keyshawn Johnson and Keenan MacCardell the Bucs had a passing attack. In the Super Bowl Johnson was not forced to play under any scoreboard pressure and Jon Gurden knew more about the Raiders entering the game than the Raiders did. Johnson later lost his starting job to the next John Elway, Brian Griese.

Ben Roethlisberger 1-0
The Steelers were actually a much better team the season before their championship when they went 15-1 only to loose the AFC Championship game at home to the Patriots. The Steelers in 2005 overcame an mid-season slide (where Roethlisberger was injured and Tommy Maddux played himself directly into retirement) to become the first team to win three consecutive road games to get to the Super Bowl. Roethlisberger had decent game in the win over the average Seattle Seahawks.

Traded Grocery Store Punch Card and Soul for Super Bowl Glory
Kurt Warner 1-1
Nothing else to say.

Icons
Tom Brady 3-0
If you talk to a Raiders fan (and don't kill yourself immediately) everything Brady has accomplished is a fluke and the Raiders have the best almost-dynasty in the last 20 years. Brady has been the best big game quarterback in the league since Troy Aikman, though he is routinely passed over as the choice of the best quarterback in the league. Excuse me? Even with his current Super Bowl title Manning has won a single AFC Championship and just beat REX GROSSMAN to win the Super Bowl. Give me Brady with Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, and Dominic Rhodes and I will give you a Super Bowl champion. Give me Peyton Manning with Jabar Gaffney, Reche Caldwell, David Givens, Deion Branch (whose average ability was proved in Seattle this season without Brady) and I will give you 9-7 or 10-6.

Troy Aikman
3-0
Aikman was clutch and I hate him less and less with each passing year. He had arguably the greatest offensive line in league history. The league's all-time leading rusher (Emmit Smith,) a hall of fame receiver (Michael Irvin,) and a deep and fast defense. Aikman is a legend though for winning a Super Bowl with Barry Switzer as his coach.

Joe Montana 2-0
Pretty, Pretty, Pretty soon Cool Hand Joe will be just a memory. His two most recent Super Bowl titles included an thrilling last minute drive to beat Boomer Esiason's Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII. The next year the 49ers destroyed the Pre-Mastermind Broncos 55-10 and Montana's hold as the games best quarterback was over. A hell of a way to go out.

John Elway 2-2
I did this list of the last twenty Super Bowls instead of twenty years so I could leave Elway's loss to the Phil Simms's Giants off. Elway started the most Super Bowls in the last twenty and his two wins came as the leader of one of the greatest teams in NFL history. Elway could never win a Super Bowl as the only scary option on offense, but was lethal as part of a fantastic collection of hard workers with talent. With Rod Smith, Eddie MacCaffrey, Shanon Sharpe (Hall of Famer,) and league MVP Terrell Davis (Should be in the Hall some day) The Broncos were only a huge Jacksonville upset at Mile High away from a possible three-peat. Elway's final two season would end with championships for Denver and the perfect setting for him to retire. THIS ONE'S FOR JOHN!

Brett Favre 1-1
Not yet retired, Favre Super Bowls included beating the New England Patriots led by Drew Bledsoe and Curtis Martin (HOF) and losing to Elway's Broncos the following season. Favre will probably retire with every significant passing record and will hold those for approximately seven years, when Peyton Manning will destroy them all. He was the first player to win three straight MVP awards, although his last award royally screwed Barry Sanders, who rushed for exactly 2,000 yards in the last fourteen games of the season. He also owned Steve Young like Brady owns Manning. (Still.)

Steve Young 1-0 (2-0 as Montana's back-up)
Young could arguably be placed into the underachiever category. With only one Super Bowl win leading a loaded 49ers team it could be said he failed come through. Yet, he had the misfortune of going against the dynasty Dallas Cowboys. He is an icon but it is important to remember Brett Favre absolutely owned him.

So where does Manning belong?
Most would all-ready have him as an icon and they would leave no doubt. I say hold the horses. He has only one Super Bowl title and to win he beat the ancient Trent Green and Steve McNair. Then the Colts barely won over the far less talented Brady's and struggled (in the rain) to beat the Rexgasm G for the title. So he is an icon now? I know it is foolish to not make him THE GREATEST QUARTERBACK OF ALL TIME but he has two big wins in his entire career.
I'm putting him in the VERY GOOD category and resigning myself to the fact that he will be an icon soon enough.

2 comments:

mack b. said...

fucking brilliant!! i agree with just about everything except that (as a member of The Nation) The Raiders are- QUITE OBVIOUSLY- the best sporting dynasty, period. (I am looking at the screen dead-seriously, pointing my finger)....

Anonymous said...

Payton Manning is the best quarteback since montana.