I posted this on twitter in response to Colin Cowherd’s tweet about Peyton Manning getting the benefit of the doubt when it comes to greatness due to his squeaky clean image.
After I replied to Colin, I went downstairs to make some coffee. When I checked my phone 10 minutes later, I had about 30 replies, 50 favorites/retweets, and some nasty messages from apparent Peyton Manning fans. Even Trey Wingo threw down on me.
Here’s the thing. What I said was a bit of an exaggeration. In this day and age of 140 characters, you can’t always get your whole point across. We must sometimes argue extremes to make sure our argument is understood.
But this is why I love blogs 🙂
My argument wasn’t meant to intend to mean that Peyton Manning is not a great player. My argument was simply this: If we’re going to hold Peyton Manning in this high, holy regard on his magical pedestal, then we must also do at least the same (if not more) for Lebron James.
The facts are this: Peyton Manning is 9-11 in the playoffs. His QBR goes from 96 in the regular season, to 88 in the postseason. His INT rate goes from 1% to 4%. Say what you will about football being a team game, Peyton can’t play defense, etc…but you can’t argue against his individual statistics. Yes, playoffs have elite teams, it gets harder, but some players play their best against the best competition. And that’s where LeBron comes in.
LeBron’s ppg go from 27.6 to 28.1 ppg in the playoffs. His rebounding goes from 7.3 to 8.6. His PER and FG% slightly dip, but those numbers still rate as top 3 of all time in the NBA. Lebron is 88-48 in the playoffs!
Some people argue that football is more of a team game…that Lebron can play offense and defense so its apples and oranges. I’ll agree to an extent. Lebron can change the game on both sides. Fact remains though-why do people want to argue that Lebron is not a winner or is unclutch? Peyton can’t play defense, but he can still influence the game more than other players on his team. If you don’t want to lose to the Ravens, don’t throw an INT in your own territory to seal the game. Great players elevate their play in crucial situations, not deflate.
Some people argue that football is tougher…one and done, hard to be great against great teams, etc…but it still doesn’t explain why Peyton’s individual numbers go down in the postseason. And LeBron isn’t exactly playing against the Euroleague here.
Then there are those “people” (I put people in quotations because I’m not sure these people on twitter exist) that would argue that the only reason is because they don’t like LeBron, can’t get over the “decision” and will never like him. Okay that’s fair-but not relevant to the conversation of GOAT. At least LeBron never called out his teammates like Peyton did in 05…but I digress. If that’s your only argument then its a weak one to stand on.
So if you’re going to argue that Peyton is one of the greatest ever, and Lebron is a fraud, choker, unclutch, etc….you have to come at least with some data to back up your theory. I’m a Peyton Manning fan. I really am. I would probably say he’s my favorite quarterback outside of Russell Wilson (and maybe Drew Brees). He definitely deserves to be considered one of the greatest ever…but he simply doesn’t play as well in the playoffs as he does in the regular season. That’s just the reality of it. I hope he proves me wrong this year and plays lights out. I want to see a Denver/Seattle superbowl more than anything. Maybe this year it will be different since there are no real threats in the AFC, but until he does, I stick to this opinion.
I will concede this however: numbers never lie….but they don’t always tell the whole story. Especially when you’re talking about 2 different sports. Still…I’ll take the numbers over anecdotal evidence 10 times out of 10.
At the very least-if you have Peyton Manning as one of the GOAT in his sport, you must also concede that LeBron is also one of the GOAT in his. If you dispute this, I have to question your biases.