ESPN NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss quarterback Peyton Manning‘s record-setting career and the Patriots’ upcoming game against the Bears. To hear to interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Manning broke the NFL touchdown passing record Sunday night in Denver against the 49ers. Despite the disparity in Super Bowl wins, Hasselbeck said he would rather have Manning’s career over three-time champion Tom Brady.
Said Hasselbeck: “I get it, Tom’s won more Super Bowls, and in many cases when people have this debate about who’s better, they say, ‘Well, more rings means you’re better,’ and it’s a team sport and those types of things. It’s true, but that being said, every quarterback is aware of the touchdown passes they throw, the yards they throw for, the records that they may hold and the company that puts them in. Just look at Peyton’s reaction to the touchdown pass last night that broke the record. He says all the right stuff, but clearly everyone was fully aware of where he was in terms of his place in history.
“And really, I think once you look at the touchdowns, the fact that he’s won a Super Bowl, you look at the longevity and if he plays next year, pretty good shot that breaks the yardage record, it’s very hard to argue that he’s not the best of all-time because when you start to look at just strictly at wins and losses, especially in the postseason, there’s so many other factors outside of just how the quarterback plays.”
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Many, including the hosts, point to the fact that Manning has fewer Super Bowl titles than his brother Eli. Although this is true, Hasselbeck still defended his assessment of Peyton’s career.
“Eli has two Super Bowls, Peyton has one,” Hasselbeck said. “It’s simple: who’s better? … There’s plenty of guys who have more Super Bowls than Peyton Manning. So who’s better, Kurt Warner or Peyton Manning? Kurt Warner has put up great seasons, Kurt Warner has taken two teams to a Super Bowl, won it with one team. Kurt Warner‘s done a lot of the things that Brady was able to achieve throughout his career — won MVPs, did all of that stuff. When you choose one guy over the other, it oftentimes comes across as you don’t think the other guy is good. Tom Brady is obviously awesome.”
Continued Hasselbeck: “For my money on it, the longevity of Manning, the way that he also changed the game, too. I think that’s part of the glasses I’m wearing when I look at Manning’s career. He changed football in a way that I’m not sure any other quarterback that I’ve ever watched has changed it based on how he operates at the line of scrimmage.”
Going back to Manning’s postseason history, the hosts felt it was fair in a comparison of Brady and Manning to look at how well Brady has fared and how Manning has had many difficulties in playoff games.
Said Hasselbeck: “I have less postseason losses than Peyton Manning. To me, that’s not a fair criticism. People say, ‘Hey, Brady loses to the Giants in the Super Bowl.’ Obviously you rather win, but that’s not worse than not being there. It’s not all equal, though, when you look at it from a statistical perspective. It’s not. When you look at Manning’s numbers, Manning’s numbers are significantly better than Brady’s. Not in the postseason, but here’s what we’re talking about: We’re talking about nearly a 20-year career at the quarterback position and the numbers that he’s compiled. … Part of what [the Patriots] started doing, they started copying what [Indianapolis] was doing offensively.”
Over a career, Hasselbeck said Manning is the quarterback that he would want, but on a play or a single game, he said that is where there can be an argument.
“Now what is debatable is one game, or a two-minute drive in the postseason, who do you want. I get it, absolutely I get it. The pick to Tracy Porter that Peyton Manning throws in a Super Bowl that is closely contested. Brady doesn’t have those. If you want to have that debate, fine, but if you’re just talking about the scope of a career, week in and week out and how the game has changed because of the quarterback play of either of those two guys, it’s Peyton Manning. And I don’t know if it’s really much of a discussion. Now you want to have the postseason discussion about who’s more clutch and that type of thing, fine, I’d probably take Brady if I had one game in that environment.”
Continued Hasselbeck: “I’m acknowledging that when you start to look at the postseason and the touchdown-to-interception ratio, the win-loss record and stuff like that, that doesn’t look good for Peyton Manning. But I think taking a snapshot of these postseason results in terms of wins and losses, when you narrow the sample size down to postseason play, the element of good fortune starts to play a bigger role in terms of the outcomes of the game.”
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On if Manning benefited from playing a lot of games in a domed stadium: “I think it’s a huge benefit because they clearly like to throw the football a bunch. And you take the element of weather of half your games, that’s a big deal. I also think, you talk about a 38-year-old quarterback, and you talk about playing inside, well now I believe you need to talk about playing in the altitude, what that does for somebody that the ball doesn’t come out of his hand that it once did. There’s plenty of throws from him where the ball is just dying when it gets there.”
On if Jay Cutler should be on a list of underachieving quarterbacks: “Here’s what I’ll say about Jay Cutler: He breaks your heart. Ultimately you watch him and there’s throws that he makes that you look and you go, ‘Man.’ I’m not sure that anybody outside of Aaron Rodgers, Colin Kaepernick and Matthew Stafford could’ve made that throw. He does things at times like that that you have to say, ‘Wow.’ You have to appreciate the physical talent. Then there’s other times where you think, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. I can’t believe you would make that decision in that in environment falling away.’ ”
On if the Bears’ locker room issues will help the Patriots next week: “I think it’s a good thing. … It’s definitely not a bad thing. It probably doesn’t matter, but I would say that it’s more of a good thing for New England. When you look at Chicago, sometimes it feels worse than it really is and people start to panic. … Sometimes you just have to keep fighting the fight.”