One ring to rule them all,
Two Rings to find them,
Three rings to bring them all,
And four or more to bind them;
In the Land Of SuperBowl, where the GREATNESS lies!
My beloved and I used to playfully argue all the time about who the greatest quarterback was, Montana or Elway. Elway had more wins, and was more fun to watch. Montana won 'when it mattered', had a better passer rating and the accompanying stats, and he had 4 football championships. At which point I would bring up that John Elway had 7 Championships, 5 Lamar Hunt trophies and 2 Super Bowl wins, (which of course means that Montana had 8). (For the record, I agreed with her but wouldn't admit it.) And so it would go. We no longer have those discussions, because we both agree; Peyton Manning is the best quarterback of all time. And as soon as that is uttered, out comes the Argument of the Ring. Peyton Manning has only 1, and Tom Brady has 3, and "you can't argue with the rings".
Yes, yes I can. I hate the 'ring' argument and I always have. Here we are, with Manning and the Broncos headed to the Super Bowl, and the refrain has already begun: if Manning doesn't win then all his accomplishments, his records, his awards and accolades won't mean a thing because he lost a game. One game. Bullshit.
If I were to have a pop quiz and ask 'who is the greatest team in Super Bowl era history' what would you, gentle reader, answer? The Packers? The Steelers? The Cowboys? The Niners? The Steelers and Cowboys have been to the show 8 times. The Steelers have 6 rings. The Packers have been 5 times and have 4 rings. The 'Niners have been 6 times and have 5 rings. Using the 'ring' argument, it would be the Ravens. These teams are 100% for getting 'rings': the Ravens (2 of them), the Jets, the Saints, The Buccaneers. They are all 'the best' for getting 'rings'. The ' Niners would take it, except they lost to the Ravens last year, making them a woeful 5 for 6. There are too many quarterbacks for me to list that are 100% for garnering that all important bling. The likes of Trent Dilfor, Brad Johnson, Mark Rypen, and Doug Williams all join Joe Theismann, Drew Brees, Joe Hollywood (Namath, another 1 time winner), Eli Manning and Joe Montana as the best at getting 'rings'.
Take a look at the Hall of Fame. You won't find Trent Dilfor or Doug Williams. You will find Dan Fouts, who never even went to the Super Bowl. You will find Dan Marino, who was 0-1 in 'The Game". You will find Fran Tarkington and the only man who ever made the Super Bowl 4 times in a row, Jim Kelly. Those two are 0-4. You also won't find Jim Plunkett, a travesty if ever there was one. He won two Super Dooper Bowls, both of them coming into the season as a backup quarterback. You know who else you will find? Steve Young, a man with ONE, and only one ring.
Only two men have ever lead their teams to the SB 5 times, John Elway and Tom Brady. Elway is 2-3, Brady is 3-2. In the 2007, Brady went undefeated until the 'big game', and was defeated by Eli Manning and the Giants. 4 Years later, Brady and the Patriots were again defeated by Eli Manning and the Giants. Eli is 100% for winning 'rings'. Does anyone really care to argue that Eli Manning is better than Tom Brady? Or his brother who is 50% for the ring argument?
I'm sick of hearing that "you can't argue with the rings". It's an appeal to false authority that makes no sense. By any other metric, Peyton Manning is the greatest of all time. I work at a bookstore, and back around 2002? We carried a book put out by SI that chronicled the 10 best quarterbacks of all time, as of that time. Number one was Otto Graham, a player many may never have heard of. The strongest argument in his favor was that he was the only man ever unanimously voted as All-Pro seven times. That is, until this year, when Peyton now shares that distinction. No one in the history of the NFL has more than three MVP awards except Peyton Manning with 4, and this year he will win his fifth. The league season passing yardage record runs: Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning. The league season touchdown record: Peyton Manning, and no, Tom Brady will not break it next year. The number of rings this guy has have nothing to do with his greatness. He's earned everything, and deserves everthing regardless of the outcome in Jersey come February. Dan Graziano says it as well as I ever could. Peyton stands alone.
Rings are won by teams. Peyton Manning is the ultimate team player, like Dan Fouts before him (no rings.) He isn't just a 'future Hall of Famer'. He is the best there's ever been, and if the Devil wants to travel down to Louisiana and challenge on that, the Devil better bring his A game. The ring argument doen't mean shit. Manning is the best.