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Tom Brady Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning or Tom Brady: Which QB Was More Feared?

  • Justin Melo
  • June 20, 2022
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Former Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott caused quite the public uproar by recently claiming that Peyton Manning was a much more difficult quarterback to play against than fellow passer Tom Brady. Scott, who earned a Pro Bowl nod and second-team All-Pro honors in 2006, faced Manning and Brady on a combined 19 occasions, so he certainly seems educated enough to speak on the topic. Scott made the comments via a recent ESPN radio appearance.

“I’d much rather go against Tom Brady every day of the week than to go against Peyton Manning,” Scott said. “I believe that’s how everybody feels.”

Scott’s comments have reignited an age-old debate that once ran rampant during Manning and Brady’s shared playing days. We were blessed to witness two of the greatest quarterbacks of all time share an era and field together, and it often led to heated discussions regarding which quarterback was more effective overall. Scott’s sentiments are fair in nature, but Brady should forever be considered the most feared signal-caller for opposing defenses to face. It was once a fair debate, but those days are long behind us given Brady’s historic amount of success.

Brady has placed some distance between himself and Manning given that he’s still performing at an elite level while continuing to compete for Super Bowls. We don’t doubt that some defenders feared facing Manning over Brady. Manning was such a master of the mental aspects of the game. Manning was a master manipulator that diagnosed defenses both pre-and-post snap as successfully as any competing quarterback. His ability to dissect coverages led to an overwhelming amount of success. Brady is equally as capable of manipulating defenses, however.

You can poke holes in one particular area of Scott’s statement.

“Tom Brady was more about Bill Belichick, the entire team, the execution, them having a game plan,” Scott concluded.

Brady has more than proven his success under center wasn’t a creation of Belichick and the Patriots’ system since leaving for the Buccaneers. Brady’s arrival in Tampa Bay immediately catapulted the Buccaneers to instant contention, having captured a Super Bowl title in his first season as a Buccaneer. In 2021, Brady’s second season in Tampa, the Buccaneers were eliminated via a hard-fought divisional round battle by the eventual Super Bowl-winning Los Angeles Rams. 

Meanwhile, the Patriots have suffered since Brady’s departure. Belichick’s Patriots went 7-9 and missed the postseason in Brady’s first season outside of Foxboro. It represented the first time the Patriots missed the postseason in more than a decade. In 2021, the Patriots went 10-7 and qualified for the playoffs, but were still far away from reaching the ceiling Brady routinely elevated them to.

To claim Brady was a product of the Patriots and Belichick has proven to be downright inaccurate given the evidence provided by all parties involved over the previous two seasons. The debate involving Manning and Brady will likely linger for some even decades beyond Brady’s retirement. Brady has established himself as the undeniable GOAT and we’re confident most defenders would agree he’s the scariest quarterback of all time to play against. Scott’s point of view is certainly intriguing given that he had so many experiences competing opposite both signal-callers. We take his word with more than a grain of salt, but we ultimately disagree with his conclusion.

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Justin Melo