By Steve Silverman
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No, not because he has raised Eli and Peyton Manning to become Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks.
That’s probably more a function of genetics than anything else, although neither man would ever have gotten to the NFL if they hadn’t worked diligently at the craft of quarterbacking.
The big reason to admire Manning, the father, is for the kind of men his sons have become.
What they do is take responsibility for their actions on the field. What they don’t do is make excuses when things go wrong.
What they don’t do is denigrate and shove their teammates when mistakes are made.
Peyton Manning had one of the worst efforts of his career when he threw three first-quarter interceptions Monday night in Denver’s loss to the charged-up Atlanta Falcons. His throws lacked zip, they were thrown into double coverage and Manning appeared confused by what the Atlanta defense was doing.
He shook off his early difficulties and helped get the Broncos back in the game, but he could not bring them all the way back in a 27-21 defeat.
After the game, Manning took responsibility for the interceptions and did not hide.
“I’d obviously like to have all three of them back,” Manning said. “Just three bad decisions. When I see the film, I’m sure I’ll see someone open short underneath on the check down.”
Eli Manning didn’t have to take the blame for anything after passing for 510 yards in the Giants’ come-from-behind 41-34 win over the Bucs, but there is no doubt he would have if the Bucs had come away with the upset.
However, when the Giants finished the 2010 season outside of the playoffs, Eli took the blame for the showing. He pointed at the 25 interceptions he threw as the primary reason the team failed to play postseason football.
That’s what you call being a stand-up guy.
The Manning brothers have always been that way, and it makes the business of coaching a football team much easier for the likes of Jim Mora, Tony Dungy, Jim Caldwell and John Fox (Peyton’s coaches) and Tom Coughlin.
Most quarterbacks try to take responsibility for their actions and not point the finger at their teammates or coaches. Few do it as well as the Mannings.
Take Chicago’s Jay Cutler, who yelled at offensive coordinator Mike Martz last year and shoved offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb in the Bears’ Week 2 loss to the Packers.
Cutler may have had ample reason to be angry with Webb since he was sacked seven times and under constant duress in the game. But what did he accomplish by embarrassing his bumbling blocker in full view of the national television cameras?
The only thing Cutler did was confirm how much of a diva he could be when the mood strikes him.
Cutler may be at the top of the list, but he is hardly alone.
One of the best quarterbacks of all time was known for getting in the faces of his teammates when he felt the need to criticize.
Dan Marino was perhaps the best pure passer the game has ever seen. While teammates professed to love him, there was often viciousness in his words and the look on his face when the cameras focused.
It may have only been reacting to the moment, but it is part of Marino’s legacy. That may be the biggest negative for Marino. Most observers like to point at the lack of a Lombardi Trophy on his resume.
That’s not an argument that we would ever make because of the team nature of the game of football. But leadership is always going to be a factor.
Teammates want to know that the quarterback has their backs.
The Giants and the Broncos know that’s the case.
The Bears do not.
Who will go down as the better quarterback when it’s all said and done? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…