Let me get one thing out of the way before I start: I also hate Ben Roethlisberger.
In fact, my rational brain hates him even more than it hates Peyton Manning. It’s one thing to be an over-rated goon, it’s another to be, in all likely-hood, a multiple rapist. I am fully aware that Roethlisberger’s offences are far greater than Manning’s.
But the irrational part of me still hates Peyton Manning more.
The wake of this year’s Super Bowl gives me a perfect opportunity to explain why.
First, let’s think back to last year’s Super Bowl, featuring Manning’s Colts and the New Orleans Saints. In the fourth quarter, the Colts were down seven points with the ball. Manning had a chance to once and for all prove that he could handle pressure. He had an opportunity to join the likes of Joe Montana, John Elway, and Tom Brady (and even Roethlisberger) as QBs who led their teams on legendary drives when it mattered the most.
This is what happened (note the commentator’s attempt to blame the receiver instead of Manning – proof that the press just love Manning – unless the ball bounces off a receiver’s hands, it’s the QB’s fault, period):
Fast forward to this year’s game. Roethlisberger, like Manning a year before, killed his team with a bad throw:
But as similar as the outcome was, there is a stark contrast in the two QBs. To see what I’m talking about, let’s take a look at their respective post-game interviews. We’ll start with Roethlisberger’s post-game interview (which is not yet available on YouTube, so you’ll have to follow the link).
Note the way he takes responsibility for his role in the loss. He mentions all of the players on his team whom he felt played well, and then says, “Me, personally, I felt like I let a lot of people down.” He then goes on to say, “I turned the ball over, and you can’t do that.” So, sure, he refuses to take responsibility for sexually assaulting young women. But when it comes to football, he’s more than willing to step up and admit his faults.
Now let’s move on to Manning, and his post-game comments:
Notice his careful avoidance of ever actually taking responsibility for the interception that he threw. When a reporter asks him about it directly, he quickly diverts attention to the previous drive. At no time did he stand up and say, “I’m the multi-million dollar golden boy who is supposed to carry his team when the games are tough, and I let the team down.”
Instead, he starts talking about a screen pass that didn’t get as many yards as he thought it should. That screen pass wasn’t what caused you to lose, you over-rated choke artist, it was that interception that you threw that the Saints returned for a touchdown. Surely, in all that alleged time you spend in film study, you understand the difference between the two. In case you don’t, here’s some more film to study:
Let’s watch that one more time, just because it’s just so much dang fun:
So, sure, Manning spends his off-season making crappy commercials while Roethlisberger spends his assaulting young women. And, of course, the latter is so much worse that the two activities don’t really even warrant comparison. But as a teammate, Roethlisberger’s post-game comments are a model of what a franchise QB should say.
Manning’s comments are the words of a spoiled baby who can’t admit that he blew it. Given how many times he’s blown it, you’d think he’d have it down by now.