A New Way To Look At Peyton Manning's Greatness
by TJ Hatter
Mar 17, 2014 2:39 PM EDT
Let me be the first to say that this column is largely obnoxious. In the immortal words of Jon Stewart at the Oscars, “I feel your scorn, and I accept it.” But it's the off-season and Joe Scumaci and I have already analyzed to death the way the free agency chess pieces moved, so for this column, I wanted to write about a different subject. The current narrative about Peyton Manning is that he's Greg Maddox. Which was, to my knowledge, first argued by Tony Kornheiser.
It's the wrong comparison.
Peyton Manning has set preposterous individual records. He's been part of the reason that the NFL has changed it's philosophy as to how the game should be played. He was at the forefront of the incessant hurry up offense.
He's Wilt Chamberlain.
I came to this conclusion independently. I randomly messaged it to my buddy and fellow Football.com writer Joe Scumaci earlier this week. Upon doing research for it, I've found I'm not alone. Many congrats to Darryn Albert for being a month earlier on this piece. It's a smart take and you only beat me because I'm blonde, Darryn.
But, to me, that helps validate the opinion. It also means it needs to be spread further.
Wilt Chamberlain is becoming lost among the YOLO generation, my generation, a generation I stick up for incessantly. It's for a very specific reason: very few of his phenomenal accomplishments are readily accessible or promoted. So, first order of business, let's fix that.
First off, WOW was Wilt Chamberlain amazing. Too many people are constructing too many Mount Rushmore's and leaving him off of it. Second, isn't that Peyton Manning? The individual records he's accumulated are absurd. And, low and behold, he has a bête noire in Boston. Tom Brady is, and this is heresy to say, a better and more important player than Bill Russell was for the Celtics. But, if you disagree, and there is reason for you to disagree, go to the comments section below. Russell had more great players around him and he didn't play the most important position in sports. But again, I welcome your trolling and scorn below.
Remember, Trolling is an Art.
The comparison still holds.
Wilt Chamberlain, despite winning a championship with his original team and slaying the dragon up in Boston to do it, found himself with another team. A more glamorous team. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
Wilt, when paired with players who “Made this team seem like nothing,” went on to one of the great seasons of all time.
Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
The only difference, thus far, is that Wilt's stilt with the Lakers resulted in a ring. The free agency moves of the Broncos seem to be putting Peyton Manning in that same position. That and the fundamental difference that what differentiated Wilt Chamberlain from his competition was physical and what differentiates Peyton Manning is mental. Chamberlain had other interests, including being an amazing beach volleyball player and also, chasing tail. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Manning, as far as we know, leads a life consumed by football and his family.
*Side note, I don't care at all if Peyton Manning is a devoted family man. From all reports he is and huzzah. If he wasn't, I don't care. Your personal life is your own. It's complicated. Particularly when money and fame are involved. They're both drugs. They can consume people, particularly those who aren't the main player in the production. So I appreciate someone's work as it stands and don't feel a need to voyeuristically know how their life is going. Don't get me wrong, I'll click if Deadspin has something, but I won't care. I'll file it away for chat at the pub. End of rant.*
Peyton Manning has two years left. His organization is all in on winning RIGHT NOW as it should be. Manning will get his second ring. The analogy will be complete.
And you'll be able to correct your friends in an argument at the bar. You're welcome.