“Clutch” is a an anomaly. There, I said it. It’s a figment of your imagination. It’s not real. You make it up. I swear, read this scholarly article written about it. And because you believe it to be real, you (and every other sports fan) has said nearly everything there is to say about a quarterback about Eli Manning and Tony Romo. They suck. They’re great. Everything in between. Why?
Because Eli had two amazing Super Bowl runs, and Tony Romo puts up ridiculous numbers and makes circus throws.
Sure, when they both suck, they look like shit. And when they’re good, etc. What I’m saying, is that the timing of their bad play is more or less random, and you just put the pieces together in your head to fit some binary hero/zero narrative where people rise (or don’t rise) to the occasion. You’ve watched too many movies, bro.
You’re not alone, though. Apparently, NFL GM’s think this way, too. Take Jim Irsay for example. He blames Peyton Manning for not winning more Super Bowls despite being in contention every year. That’s why he let him walk — ironically, to get a guy named Luck.
Not the inferior squad around him. Not the crappy running game. Not sheer chance. It was Peyton’s fault. He wasn’t Tom Brady. Irsay just Irsaid this.
[NESN] “[Tom] Brady never had consistent numbers, but he has three of these. Pittsburgh had two. The Giants had two. Baltimore had two, and we had one. That leaves you frustrated…You make the playoffs 11 times, and you’re out in the first round seven out of 11 times.”
Ouch. As if Tom Brady was entirely responsible for those Super Bowls and played all 11 positions on offense and defense. Ok, so maybe he seemed to perform better under pressure over the last decade, but it’s hardly enough to make the argument that Peyton isn’t the QB to help you win Super Bowls. Look at what he’s doing now in Denver. You can’t tell me you’ve seen anything like it (even after the Jags game).
He’s more than capable of winning Super Bowls. Than any other quarterback right now, really. Better equipped than Andrew Luck. Not to say that Luck wasn’t a must-draft — even Peyton admits Irsay’s hand was forced with the first pick in the draft two years ago. “You’ve got to take Andrew,” Manning told Irsay. “You have to. You’re crazy if you don’t.” It’s just that suggesting Peyton’s garish statistics were less important than the number of Super Bowls he’d won is a silly way to think of it.
It’s like saying Star Wars wasn’t a good movie because it never won best picture (Rocky won that year).
Irsay also had this to say.
“You have to understand there’s no way [the current Colts success] occurs if [Manning is] in Indy. It’s just impossible, where our salary cap was — having him stay at the type of number that he expected and deserved to earn and all those things.”
The money part I get. But the “not being Brady” thing — that supposes he’s not as good at playing the position of quarterback. That, or Irsay thinks that nerves get to Peyton. Do you think he’s a nervous guy? Do you think he presses? Or do you agree that Luck (the concept, not player) has more to do with his lack of rings than the “choke” gene?
Let us know.
Former Colts coach Tony Dungy spoke with the Denver Post regarding Irsay’s recent comments on Peyton Manning (via CBS Sports):
[Denver Post]“I can tell you it wasn’t a no-brainer…I was on the phone with Jim Irsay probably five or six times over a month as it was leading up to that. He knew all those factors that you just enumerated there. But Jim also had a great deal of loyalty. Jim was a young boy when his dad traded Johnny Unitas. So he knew the ramifications of this type of decision. And he also knew how much Peyton had done for the city of Indianapolis and for that franchise.
“So even for all the reasons you just stated why it should be done, I don’t think it was ever a no-brainer in his mind and I can almost guarantee you that if he knew he was going to be healthy like this and playing this kind of football, in hindsight I don’t think he would have done it.”
Photos via Getty