Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Disclaimer: I love Big Ben, this has nothing to do with him

But fuck the heck, people? What's the deal with all these "Peyton Manning is dogshit compared to Roethlisberger" articles?

I normally don't like FJMing things that come out of the Trib, just on the basis that everyone loses. However, in this case, I think John Harris sums up the zeitgeist of stupid, so that's where we're going.

All things being equal, give me No. 7.

In the NFL's biggest game, on its grandest stage, I'll take Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger over Indianapolis Colts' wunderkind Peyton Manning to win a Super Bowl.

Wunderkind? Really? I'm sure at one point (1997) it was completely applicable to call Peyton Manning a child prodigy, but he's 34 now, and a twelve-year veteran of the league. Just saying.

The Colts' 31-17 loss to New Orleans in Super Bowl XLIV, in which Manning was statistically brilliant but flawed in the clutch, highlighted critical differences between two iconic players who are successful despite wildly contrasting styles.

The "wildly contrasting styles" of success being that one is actually successful and the other is a fuckbutt, as will be proven in this article.

Manning has few peers in regards to family pedigree and gaudy statistics. His father, Archie, was a star quarterback with the Saints before the team's current quarterback, Drew Brees, was born. Younger brother Eli was the MVP of Super Bowl XLII with the New York Giants.

Irrelevant when discussing his ability as a QB as compared to Ben's. The only reason this would be in here is to hold it against him, painting Peyton as some kind of fortunate son (keep reading).

Peyton is the only player in league history to win four MVPs. He has passed for 4,000 yards in a season a record 10 times.

Roethlisberger's next league MVP will be his first. He topped the 4,000-yard milestone for the first time this season

For those of you who are unaware: the choice to not end the last sentence with any sort of punctuation is a Trib staple. It's sort of like grammatical ad libs. Here, look at how funny it gets when we plug in a question mark:

He topped the 4,000-yard milestone for the first time this season?

And look at how intense we can make this shit with a simple tweak known as an exclamation point:

He topped the 4,000-yard milestone for the first time this season!

Also, let's backtrack: John Harris is just summing up the facts for us. Manning is a tremendously great passer who has a track record of being extremely valuable to his team. Ben hasn't won an MVP and he traditionally hasn't passed for monstrous yardage in the regular season. This isn't news.

Roethlisberger didn't grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth. In fact, he didn't play quarterback until his senior year in high school. He attended Miami — Miami University, not the "U" in South Florida, which is famous for churning out NFL stars.

Yep, and here's the God Bless The Child bullshit. How dare Peyton Manning grow up in a football family and only win one specific 60-minute contest and not two? He's garbage compared to that poor kid from Ohio who spent the first 15 years of his life chained in a basement closet.

Here's the catch. Manning, the so-called greatest quarterback in league history — as he was portrayed by fawning members of the national media leading up to Super Bowl XLIV — isn't even the best quarterback in Super Bowl history.

1) That's not really a catch. 2) Manning being regarded as the greatest QB ever is a defensible position, and the media wasn't wrong to take it. 3) He wouldn't have been the greatest QB in Super Bowl history even if the Colts had won the game.

Manning is 1-1 in Super Bowls. He was named MVP in the Colts' win over Chicago in Super Bowl XLI. He is among a large number of quarterbacks with one Super Bowl victory — Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer and Jeff Hostetler included. Winning one Super Bowl is big, but many quarterbacks — far less accomplished than Manning — have done that.

Know who else has only one Super Bowl ring? Johnny fucking Unitas. Brett fucking Favre. Eli fucking Manning. Know what this tells us? That getting to and winning the Super Bowl is a tall order to accomplish for anyone, and the trend seems to have more to do with great teams than great QBs.

Roethlisberger is 2-0 in Super Bowls. He's on a much shorter list of quarterbacks with at least two Super Bowl victories without a loss, a list that includes Terry Bradshaw (4-0), Joe Montana (4-0), Troy Aikman (3-0), Bart Starr (2-0) and Jim Plunkett (2-0) — and he's the only active quarterback to do so.

I don't blame him for this, but Ben did everything possible to not-win Super Bowl XL. Also, if you're not aware, Jim Plunkett was this epic journeyman type. If the implication is that Peyton Manning is somehow lower in stature than Jim Plunkett, then we're really on fire.

Roethlisberger is also 0-2 in winning Super Bowl MVPs — but that's a credit to teammate Santonio Holmes, who was brilliant with nine receptions for 131 yards and the game-winning touchdown catch against Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII.

Edit: Roethlisberger is also 0-2 in winning Super Bowl MVPs — but that's a credit to [absolutely stinking in Super Bowl XL, as well as] teammate Santonio Holmes, who was brilliant with nine receptions for 131 yards and the game-winning touchdown catch against Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII.


Roethlisberger did as much to help the Steelers win Super Bowl XLIII as Manning did to help the Colts win Super Bowl XLI, but only Manning was named MVP.

Ugh... that's such a baseless statement, written with full-knowledge that it'd never be called out except on some blog, somewhere. Well here we are.

The bottom line is that the games were entirely different contests. Super Bowl XLI was a muddy, rainy shitfest, where the Bears' sloppy play was as much responsible for the Colts coming away with the victory. As the leader of the team, and the guy who played a good game in nasty conditions, it just kind of made sense to give the award to Manning. There wasn't really a defining moment, or occasion for him to rise to... it was just sort of a "you're really good, here have this" kind of trophy.

Super Bowl XLIII was absolutely epic, and it involved a ton of game changing plays, some of which will be regarded as the greatest in Super Bowl history. Ben had his share of them, and frankly, I thought he was going up against Harrison for the MVP. Going back and watching the game again, you notice that #92 does a lot to hurt his chances by punching a guy into the ground on a punt; you also notice that Santonio does a hell of a lot to spark the Steelers' offense late in the game, and rises to the challenge as much as anyone. It could have gone to Ben, sure, but it's not big deal that it went to 'Tone.

Really, though: none of it matters. The previous year's Super Bowl MVP went to Eli Manning, who was just a little bit more responsible for the victory than Lawrence Taylor.

Manning, known for his pinpoint accuracy, never threw a better pass under pressure than the one Roethlisberger completed to Holmes in the closing minute of Super Bowl XLIII. Roethlisberger's innate ability to execute comfortably under duress is what makes him special in big games.

I don't think Peyton Manning ever threw as important a pass as the one Ben threw to Holmes... but he's thrown some real dandies under duress. How about the game winner against the Pats on MNF earlier this year? Or any of the TDs he threw in the game against the Dolphins, when they held the ball for over 45 minutes? "Clutch" is especially silly here, considering that Manning rarely finds himself in "clutch" situations because more often than not, he's put the game out of reach by the fourth quarter.

To Roethlisberger, playing football is all in the backyard. It's a game he plays exceedingly well — sometimes, by his own rules.

For him, a TD is worth 1 point, and the conversion attempt is worth 6. That's why he's so humble and why he will holdout if Jeff Reed isn't resigned.

Roethlisberger throws on the run, throws off his back foot, throws across his body and throws into coverage. At times, he's a bulked-up version of Fran Tarkenton, scrambling to elude potential tacklers while buying time for his receivers to get open.

Fran Tarkenton: 0-3 in the Super Bowl with a cumulative QB rating of 43.7 in those games. Just saying.

Unlike Manning, Roethlisberger rarely gives up on a play.

They have SUCH different styles. Peyton Manning doesn't have to dance around, in and out of the pocket for 8 seconds every time simply because he can't find an open man. His system is much quicker, and frankly more efficient from a strictly passing point of view.

Manning, on the other hand, plays quarterback by the book, sometimes to his detriment.

You know, sometimes I do think that Peyton Manning is a little contained. I like a QB who can pick up yards with his feet, who can follow his center and guards into a pile, who can roll out as the play calls for it. But to think it's really THAT big of a detriment that he doesn't, is like saying Randy Johnson was kind of limited as a pitcher because he didn't throw many off-speed pitches (see how I worked that in there? Spring training in T-minus 11 days).

New Orleans cornerback Tracy Porter said knowing Manning's tendencies helped him on a 74-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Right. I'm sure it did. It wasn't luck that Tracy Porter was in the right spot at the right time. He did a very good studying his film for that one. However, it was totally dumb luck all those times that the Saints' secondary didn't get burned for the big one because an Indy wideout dropped a ball.

One of Roethlisberger's best qualities is his ability to shake off a mistake and focus on the next play. A bad throw in a big game doesn't diminish his aggressiveness.

I'm willing to bet Peyton Manning doesn't shit himself after a pick, either. In fact, I'm willing to bet he goes right back out there and carves you up like he was doing before you got a rare interception. But then, again, I guess we're talking about a guy who only won one Super Bowl (and 117 regular season games in 12 years). He probably does just retreat into his shell, unlike Ben.

Roethlisberger, who's 8-2 in the postseason, saved his best for the last drive against Arizona in the Super Bowl. Before that drive, his performance had been average.

This is my favorite part of the article, and what convinced me to FJM it.

Consider this. Ben "saved his best for the last drive." Remember in the first quarter, when he took us down the field, and we got it to the edge of the goal line, and Roethlisberger called his own number? It looked like he was going all out, but I can tell you right now, he wasn't. You see, he could have broken the plane, but he was saving himself. That's why we came away with 3 and not 7.

Manning, whose career playoff record is only 9-9, failed once again to shake his nagging reputation for being a sensational regular-season quarterback who's mediocre at best in the postseason.

I keep trying to comment on this... but every time I get an idea of what to say, this image pops into my head; this image of Alex Rodriguez reading this and laughing-- I mean, just uproariously, howling with laughter. Then. He puts down the paper (he subscribes to the Trib and gets it delivered to his condo in Manhattan) on the breakfast table, and just starts wailing on it with a baseball bat. Then. He realizes what he's become and falls to the floor, sobbing.

That'll be you someday, Peyton!

If, on the other hand, you prefer a quarterback who excels during crunch time and wins big games, Roethlisberger's track record gives him the edge over Manning, who's been touted by some as the greatest passer ever.

If you want apples, they're very good, and I like them more than oranges, which have been touted by some as orange in color.

1 comment:

schuyler101 said...

The Trib really needs to enter the 2nd decade of the 21st century and enable comments.

This FJM-style critique is spot on.

Obviously too much value is placed on a QB's worth. Sure they are plenty valuable but they are not the end-all be-all when it comes to a team's success. Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl,and this this alone tell you that a team can win in spite of the QB. I seem to remember a gutsy Steeler's team winning Super Bowl 40 in spite of their QB. I guess Big Ben preternaturally knew he didn't have to rise to the occasion on that day in order to win.