Manning and Lebron vs. Brady and Kobe: Ultimate Choke-Artists

Steve PaulContributor IMay 14, 2010

BOSTON - MAY 13:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers stands by in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA playoffs at TD Garden on May 13, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Cavaliers 94-85.  NOTE TO USER: User Expressly Acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Once again, this year's sporting season provided everyone with a recurring theme. 

Peyton Manning and Lebron James can't get it done when everything is on the line. I know there are going to be many haters on this article, but Manning and James are the two biggest choke-artists in sports today.

Arguably the greatest players at their respective sports, Manning and James have proven to be the MVP's of their team, and even their entire leagues. There is no arguing that. Both athletes carry their team's on their shoulders, and without them, the Colts and Cavaliers would not be championship contenders.

But come playoff time, with all of the pressure on them, they crumble. 

Lebron had an abysmal game five in the Cavs-Celtics series, and then followed it up with nearly a quadruple double. 

The only problem is that in this case, he was only one turnover away from achieving that feat. The so-called "King," should not be eliminated in the conference semifinals.

Peyton Manning took his Colts to the Super Bowl in 2007, and beat the Bears to grab his first ring. He won the Super Bowl MVP even though there were better players in that game, and he beat arguably one of the worst teams to ever reach the big game. But still, he has a Super Bowl MVP and a Lombardi Trophy to his name that nobody can take away.

Then this past year, he showed his true colors. The kind of colors that don't win in the playoffs. The kind of colors that choke when the pressure is on.

You can't blame the infamous pick-six on anyone but Manning. You can't blame the loss on the offensive line. You can't blame the loss on the defense. Peyton Manning had the ball in his hands, with an opportunity to win the game for his team, and he choked.

On the other side of this coin are the players I would rather have on my team.  The players that show up in the regular season, and stay around throughout the playoffs.  In this specific case, I am talking about Tom Brady and Kobe Bryant.

Between the two, they own seven championships. That means that seven times they put the weight on their shoulders and got the job done. Seven years they were on the best teams in the world. And this is exactly where the Manning and James lovers battle back.

You will often hear the argument: "If you put Lebron on the Lakers and Peyton on the Patriots, they would both have multiple championships."

This may or may not be true. The Lakers and Patriots during their championship seasons had highly talented rosters. But they also had two of the best clutch performers in this generation in Bryant and Brady.

The Lakers may have more talent than the Cavaliers do, but that is not saying that the Cavs have zero talent. There are still some good players on the team. This was supposed to be Lebron's year after the front office brought in Shaq and Antawn Jamison. Lebron was supposed to get his ring and want to stay in Cleveland, but after losing to the Celtics, his stay in Ohio may be over.

Kobe gets it done. He has four times, and maybe even a fifth after these playoffs are over. Brady gets it done, with three rings and only one Super Bowl loss. 

Lebron and Manning get it done during the regular season when not much pressure is on them. But with everything on the line, they love to prove to the world how great they are at choking.