This offseason has been characterized by quarterback changes. Manning to Denver, Luck drafted by the Colts, Griffin drafted by the Redskins, Tebow vs. Sanchez, Weeden vs. McCoy; they’re all great story lines, but they also highlight a growing perception that may just be completely off base. You need a quarterback to win a championship. That’s completely true, but you also need a team around him.
Peyton Manning may be the greatest example of why you need a quarterback to win titles, but you also need a team. Manning was able to manufacture one championship with the Colts. Maybe I’m way off base, but a guy that is considered by some to be the greatest quarterback of all time should have more than one ring at this stage in his career. The problem in Indianapolis was never Peyton Manning. He just never had a complete team around him.
Eli Manning is a great example of how a team pulling together is just as good as having a great quarterback in today’s NFL. Eli Manning is a very good quarterback, and he’s shown time and time again that he can pull through in clutch moments late in the season and in the playoffs. That alone is enough to give any team a chance, but Manning also has solid receivers, a defense that gets after the quarterback, and a head coach that fully believes in what the Giants are doing, even when it’s not going great for them.
The big difference between the Manning brothers is that Eli Manning has a pair of championship rings while Peyton Manning only as one. That being the case, Peyton Manning may have hit pay dirt in Denver.
For the first time in his career, Manning will be at the controls of a complete football team. The Broncos have a great defense that can keep them in the game even if the offense isn’t scoring. Their offense has a lot of solid pieces as well. In fact, I would argue the only piece that unit was missing last season was a quarterback that could throw the ball around the field. That’s something that Tim Tebow didn’t do very well, but it’s something that Peyton Manning has made a living doing for the past decade and a half.
We all know that a team really does need a solid quarterback to make a deep playoff run in today’s NFL, but let’s stop putting the wagon before the horse. Football is still a team game, and you absolutely must build a talented team to succeed, even if you have the best quarterback money can buy. So for teams like the Browns, Colts, and Redskins, I hope your plan is more involved than bringing in a new quarterback and hoping he succeeds. If not, you’ll be repeating this cycle once again in a few years.