It’s been a topic of conversation and debate for years. Who would you want to start your football team with: Peyton Manning or Tom Brady? This question will be a topic for years to come even after these guys are in the Hall of Fame. And for all intents and purposes, is either answer truly right? I mean, seriously, both of these guys are great quarterbacks and to be able to start a team with either guy would be a dream.

First off, in debating this topic, don’t give me the Brady beat Manning heads up this many times argument. It’s a garbage answer. If that’s your best argument then I’ll just say that Eli Manning is better than Brady since he beat him twice heads-up on the biggest stage there is; the Super Bowl. And we know thats not the case. It’s a ridiculous way to argue this topic.

Also, it’s not like these guys are on field at the same time literally going against each other. Just because (hypothetically) Peyton Manning throws a bomb with :30 left to Demaryius Thomas to give the Denver Broncos the win over the New England Patriots doesn’t mean that Manning “beat” Brady this time and moves a game closer to tying the heads-up record. You can’t say one “beat” the other so he’s better. They don’t face off like boxers, so you can’t judge a “winner” from heads-up matches.

Now, I’m going to give you my pick…..and it’s a hands-down no-brainer for me. It’s Peyton Manning. Here’s why (and please leave me your comments after):

I’m going to start out with the point that I give Brady the edge in the clutch. It has been proven time again that he just wills the Patriots offense down the field for some amazing wins. He is just as “cool” as Joe (Montana) when the game is on the line.

As an overall quarterback I have to take Manning. What strikes me first is his football I.Q. He is essentially an offensive coordinator on the field. He is a master of reading defenses and getting guys in certain spots to beat that particular defense on that particular play. Basically, his micro-managing is a trait that no other quarterback has and does; at least not on his level. Brady is good but he’s not great at it like Manning.

One thing that has always stuck in my mind when comparing these two is backups. We saw what happened to the Colts when Manning wasn’t around. It was a disaster. Curtis Painter couldn’t ever even get his foot in the shoe to try on never mind play in the offense. And I think that’s true for the other starting quarterbacks in the league. I don’t think any of them could step into Peyton Manning’s role and be as successful as he is.

On the flip side, do I think Manning could fill in for Tom Brady in the Patriots’ offense? Yes, I absolutely do. I even think Manning might be better than Brady in that offense. We even saw Matt Cassel be successful and lead the Patriots to a 10-6 record when Brady went down. What happened to Matt Cassel after? He fumbled around a huge contract in Kansas City and now is in the quarterback saga that is the Vikings. Nobody has been able to come close to filling Peyton Manning’s shoes while one has had success filling Brady’s.

So now you’re saying: “Well that’s because Bill Belichik is a great coach and can get the best out of people.” And I couldn’t agree with you more. As a matter of fact, this only strengthens my point. I will say that, when these two are done, Belichik will go down as the greatest coach in the history of the NFL.

What a great asset as a quarterback to have than the greatest head coach of all time. Not only that, but Brady has only had one coach in his career. Manning has had a couple and none on the same level as Belichik. The closest would be Tony Dungy and you have to admit that, though Dungy is a fantastic and exceptional coach, he isn’t on par with Belichik. Brady has maintained his excellence with one coach. Manning has maintained his with multiple. How would Brady do anywhere else under a head coach that wasn’t deemed the greatest of all time?

My final point is, to me the most important, and one which I haven’t heard anyone bring up. And it completely destroys those that I mentioned earlier who want to take into account the Manning vs. Brady heads-up tally.

I think most of us agree that Bill Belichik is one of, if not THE, greatest head coaches in the NFL. With that said, I’m going to ask you this question: What is Brady’s record against Bill Belichik? And I ask this question because that is essentially what Peyton Manning does every time he faces Brady “heads-up.” Manning is essentially going against the defense and the preparation of the best head coach ever that the league has ever seen. While Brady, example being this year, is going against John Fox? Now, no disrespect to Fox, as he’s a very good defensive minded coach, but he’s not even close to Belichik.

Brady has never and probably will never have to prepare against the mastermind that is Belichik. So all you “heads-up record” flag-wavers should just bury that flag and quit that argument. EVERY time Brady and Manning square off you have to remember that Manning is going against the same greatest head coach of all time every single time. And to me, the fact that these games have been so close over the years only shows how truly good Peyton Manning is against the greatest.

Ask yourself: “How good would Tom Brady be without Bill Belichik?” My answer would be: “He’s no Peyton Manning!”

About The Author Terrence Kirker

Die hard New York Giants fan and avid fantasy football player in multiple leagues and formats. Former contributor to and now sharing advice and picks for the past 4 years.