By Jamari Jordan
This is very hard for me. Peyton Manning is the reason I got into watching the NFL. I followed him as fan from the Colts to the Broncos, and I believe he is the second greatest quarterback of all-time, only behind Aaron Rodgers.
In 2008, Manning’s Colts visited Lambeau to take on Rodgers’ Packers in his rookie season, and the Colts got rocked with Rodgers jumping off my television screen. He outplayed the veteran and from there on out I took notice. I have never seen a better quarterback with my own eyes than Rodgers. Even his incompletions are amazing.
Whether it is his accuracy, his potency when it comes to hail marys, or his ability to throw on the run, Rodgers is one of a kind. If he was to die today, I’m hanging a picture of him in my house right next to Jesus, MLK, and Barack Obama.
The ultimate reason this article is hard for me is that no one enjoys trolling the Atlanta Falcons, most times Matt Ryan, more than me. Falcons fans’ tears taste better than Raspberry Simply Lemonade. Trolling Ryan has become a Sunday at 1pm tradition for me since 2008. But, it’s time for me to put the trolling hat to the side and pick up the journalistic one. So, here’s the facts.
AARON RODGERS IS THE EQUAL TO TOM BRADY, PROBABLY MORE
Aside from the fact they wear the same number and both have extremely attractive significant others, Rodgers and Brady could be long lost brothers, or at least cousins. Both have had stability in terms of ownership, GMs, and head coaches throughout their careers.
Both play with an enormous chip on their shoulders. Brady for being a sixth round draft pick and Rodgers for sliding in the draft as we all watched on as he sat in the green room. You could pinpoint and say that is the driving force for why they have been so successful.
Every year, experts and fans alike pencil in the Patriots to win the AFC East just like they do the Packers in the NFC North. Both are perennial MVP candidates every year just like this one.
And while Brady’s playoff record is unmatched, Rodgers might be as well had he not lost four playoff games on the very final play (2010 vs ARZ, 2014 vs SF, 2015 vs SEA, 2016 vs ARZ). If he can pull of this run this season, there will very little standing in Rodgers’ way to laying claim as the greatest QB of all-time.
MATT RYAN IS AN ELITE QUARTERBACK
The issue with this argument is proving Ryan’s place is indeed valid. Ryan has flirted with being in that upper tier of quarterbacks over the years, and he appears to have broken through this season. He and the Falcons have defeated the 7 of the last 8 NFC Champions this season.
the Ryan has posted a convincing argument for MVP. While others, including myself, may side with Rodgers, Brady, or even the Dallas Cowboys rookies as the favorite, no one can deny his numbers this season.
2016: 69.9 Comp Pct, 4,944 YDS, 38 TDs 7 INT, 9.3 YDS per ATT, and a QBR of 83.
In his career, Ryan has a 64.9 Comp Pct, over 37,000 passing and a regular season record of 85-57 as a starter. That is a 67-percent winning percentage as a starter. Meaning he averages about 10-11 wins a season.
Ryan’s 85 regular seasons wins are more than Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger (both with 84). Only Rodgers (90) and Brady (96) have more wins in that span.
Ryan has passed for 4,000+ yards and at least 25+ TDs every season since 2011. In his career, Ryan has 4 seasons of a QBR better than 70, same as Rodgers. Additionally, Ryan has 33 game-winning drives in his career, most in the NFL since 2008. Ryan is an elite NFL QB whether you want to admit it or not.
MATT RYAN IS CLOSER TO MANNING THAN YOU THINK
Ryan had a very successful career in Boston College and was a top QB prospect coming out of college, sound familiar? The last time Peyton Manning had to pay for anything in the state of Tennessee, Beyoncè wasn’t famous yet. Ryan was a top QB off the board just like Manning.
Numerous people, including myself, have maligned Ryan for his 2-4 playoff record, but Manning himself struggled in the playoffs as well. Manning posted a 2-4 record as well through his first six games in the playoffs.
I’m by no means saying Matt Ryan is Peyton Manning, but their careers are mirror images of each other in a lot of ways. Ryan stuffs stats the same way Manning did, and many criticized if he could ever win the big game as well. Ryan isn’t the overall leader and wills his team to victory in the way Manning seemed to do every Sunday, but he isn’t the ball boy either.
Ryan has an all-time great wide receiver in Julio Jones similar to the way that Manning had Marvin Harrison early in their careers. Manning’s defenses in Indianapolis gave up big plays and yards as does Ryan’s in Atlanta. Both had to win most games in shootouts.
Ryan’s initial coach, Mike Smith, was fired just like Jim Mora was for the Colts. Manning would find nearly unparalleled success with Dungy as he changed the culture and we will see of Dan Quinn and Ryan have the same fortune. Manning didn’t win his first title until his 9th season, and we will see if Ryan can follow suit this year in his 9th.
Rodgers and Ryan have played each other six times since both became starters in 2008, with each winning three times. While Rodgers has clearly outplayed Ryan, the rivalry is brewing. This weekend will be the second time the two face in the playoffs, both being in Atlanta.
If the game is anything like their last two, we will be in for a treat. The last two games have been decided by a combined 7 points, the latter by 1 point this season. The two quarterbacks in the last two contests combined for over 183 points, 1,236 pass yards, 14 TDs, and only 1 INT.
The winner of this game will advance to the Super Bowl, the first for Ryan or the second for Rodgers. Regardless of who goes on to win the AFC, the winner of this game will have more than a fair shot to win the Super Bowl, if not the favorite the way both QBs are playing.
Brady-Manning had 17 heavyweight bouts with memories we all remember. Remember the 2004 AFC Championship in the snow? Or how about when the Colts finally got the monkey off their back in 2007 AFC Championship game? How could we forget the battle of the undefeateds? And, I know you remember where you were when 4th & 2 happened.
Rodgers-Ryan hasn’t produced those moments, if any for us to recall. And to be honest, it doesn’t really have the same box office appeal as Brady-Manning. But if this weekend’s NFC Championship Game lives up to the billing, we may have our first one.