Peyton Manning is a statistical dream come to life. Since returning from neck surgery and missing the entire 2011 season, Peyton has lit up the statistical sky with sparkling numbers as if he had never been away.
Remarkably, instead of showing signs of rust from his absence and having aged two years, Manning is enjoying his best NFL season since 2004. Entering Sunday's contest between the Denver Broncos and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Peyton's quarterback rating is a dazzling 104.8.
Since the addition of Peyton Manning, the Broncos have become the toast of the NFL—seeking to clinch the AFC West this weekend in only their 12th game.
Enter into the picture brother Eli Manning, the quarterback of the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Eli, although statistically challenged when compared to big brother Peyton, holds the family edge in Super Bowl rings at two to one. Supporters of Eli are quick to point out the two Giants Super Bowl victories as proof he is a better big-game quarterback than his brother Peyton.
However, is that a realistic argument given the sheer magnitude of Peyton Manning's statistical advantage? I say no.
If there is one thing to be said for statistics, they do not tell a lie (in the absence of performance-enhancing drugs). Statistics are a direct measure of what took place on the field of play. By the numbers, Eli's statistics simply cannot hold a match to the eye-popping figures that Peyton has produced during his brilliant career.
In returning to the field this season, Peyton has further established his statistical dominance over Eli in dramatic fashion. Peyton leads Eli in touchdowns (26 vs. 15), completion percentage (67.7 vs. 60.7), quarterback rating (104.8 vs. 84.3) and passing yardage (3,269 vs. 2,890).
If this were a boxing match, the fight would have been stopped a long time ago.
Make no bones about it, Eli Manning is an excellent quarterback. Where he comes up short is in comparisons to his brother Peyton—as do most every other quarterback who ever played the game.
Peyton Manning, as a quarterback, is in a league all his own. The numbers prove it.