Peyton and the Rest: How not to compare quarterbacks

Super Bowl XVIII is finally upon us, and the 24/7 media circus that surrounds the event has managed to surpass its usual grander once again.

Without fail at some point this week during the 10,000 hours of pre-game coverage, someone is bound to mention that Peyton Manning has another chance to win the big game – as if one win isn’t enough to solidify him as the greatest quarterback of his generation.

For whatever reason, otherwise intelligent people harp on the narrative that a quarterback is measured by the number of Super Bowls he wins, and not on his full body of work.  This is the same kind of flawed thinking that leads people in baseball to evaluate a pitcher by his win-loss record.

The fact of the matter is quite simple – football is a team game.  You win as a team, you lose as a team.  One single player does not win a championship.

Sure, the quarterback is arguably the most important position on the team, but a good quarterback with no surrounding cast isn’t going to win you a damn thing.

There are people who would tell you that Ben Roethlisberger is a better quarterback than Tony Romo because he has won two Super Bowls.  Those people are wrong.

Just as wrong as when people make the argument that Tom Brady is better than Peyton Manning because his playoff record.

Don’t interpret me incorrectly, I’m not saying that you can’t make legitimate arguments that Roethlisberger is better than Romo, or Brady over Manning, you certainly can.  What I’m criticizing is the thought process behind the argument.  When you use an argument that isn’t grounded in reality or eschews facts it becomes an illegitimate argument, even if what you’re actually arguing is correct.

If you are going to make the primary argument that quarterback A is better than quarterback B because of the number of Super Bowls they have won, you have to make the argument that Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer, Mark Rypein, Jeff Hostetler, Doug Williams, Phil Simms, Jim McMahon and Ken Stabler were better than Dan Marino or Fran Tarkenton.

That’s so laughably wrong that anyone with some common sense and a little bit of football knowledge would never dare to make utter it at the risk of being thought a fool.

While arguing that Dilfer is superior to Marino is a little far-fetched, it points out the absurdity in the “A is better than B” argument. It’s time to retire this tired narrative.  It’s a lazy argument.  It shows that you don’t want to put in the effort to actually back your opinions up with facts.

Remember: we’re all entitled to our opinion, but it’s only valid if backed up by a legitimate argument.

Joe Vasile | Featured Columnist

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