Former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver J.J. Birden was doing some media recently, and had a chance to discuss Peyton Manning's career and how he compares to Joe Montana. The Montana comparison came up because Birden spent two seasons with Montana during the latter's two seasons in Kansas City. You can listen to the full interview here.
The second part of his Manning discussion was about where Manning ranks all-time. There is no doubt that Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. He and others benefited from changes to the rules, but Manning is a quarterback that would have been great in any era. Well, any era with the forward pass!
However, I have found it odd that people point to this second Super Bowl win as bumping him a little further up the list. I get that Super Bowls are used to measure quarterbacks, but it's hard for me to add much to Manning's resume given that they won the Super Bowl (and reached that point) primarily because of their defense. That is not to take away from the rest of Manning's career, but they got the Lombardi Trophy in spite of Manning more than because of Manning.
On Montana, Manning comparisons:
Well first, I would say the professionalism. Being a professional on the field and off the field. Truly being a leader, a leader that you want to follow. And also, a leader who invests his time in his craft. You could tell, as I watched Peyton on the line, and how he's making these calls and the adjustments, and I know there's a lot of preparation that goes into making sure you know your opponent. And Joe was like that. Joe was that same quarterback. He would go up there and scan the defense, and he was changing plays. And it made me be on my game because you always knew he was going to change the play. But also too, you have the confidence that no matter what the situation was, you're being led by one of the best players who ever played the game, so just go do your job because you're going to get the ball.
On Manning all-time ranking:
I definitely think he's in the top five, and winning that Super Bowl really did help. He's definitely in the top five, and he could be in that, I guess we could debate over who's in the top three. But the fact that he had such an amazing career and amazing production, getting to 4 Super Bowls, even though he didn't win them all, but getting to four Super Bowls, winning two. And always making those players around him better, I think says a lot about where he fits in the history of great quarterbacks.