John Elway Or Peyton Manning – Who’s The Better QB

    December 25, 2013
    Tina Volpe
    Comments are off for this post.

Not many can match John Elway in stamina, or thrills. Elway participated in nine Pro Bowl selections and appeared in five Super Bowls for the Denver Broncos, winning two of them.

Elway entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004, and was eventually named executive vice president of football operations for the Broncos in 2011.

His stamina is legendary – known as the 4th quarter QB – and famous for his “cannon arm” there wasn’t anyone better to watch. He did get a reputation for getting to Super Bowls, and losing, a rep he tried hard to overturn, but he did. He eventually won 2 Super Bowls, consecutively – first against the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII – then the Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII.

“I couldn’t be happier about my career. I don’t know that Joe Montana could have enjoyed his four Super Bowl wins as much as I enjoyed my two because he never lost. The Super Bowl is the ultimate win, but it’s also the ultimate loss. The high was higher because I felt the lowest of the low.”
– John Elway

Now, with similar drive, talent and 4th quarter tenacity, along comes Peyton Manning. Manning has contributed to the Denver Broncos being on top again – with a 2013 record of 12 wins 3 losses and the division leaders.

Manning’s style is more reserved than Elway’s but the Denver Post said about him: Manning, deservedly, is the man of the moment. His precision passing, intense leadership and narrow-eyed intensity on the field, combined with his aw-shucks demeanor off the field have made him Denver’s darling.

Manning tends to stay in the pocket, but his precision is unmistakable. He’s a pro at putting that ball where it needs to go, remember that 50th TD pass to Eric Decker this season.

But Elway threw caution to the wind – Denver Post called him, a gambler and an improviser.

“John Elway,” the late Pat Summerall once said, “is the master of the inconceivable pass thrown to the unreachable spot.”

Elway’s arm strength, running ability and intuitiveness, with some recklessness thrown in made him the one to watch. He was exciting and forever surprising fans.

But when it comes to stats – Manning has Elway beat. Elway’s numbers in passing are nothing compared to Manning’s. Elway threw 51,475 career yards, and achieved 300 touchdowns – as well as running 3,407 yards.

Manning, on the other hand, has thrown 64,698 yards – 487 touchdowns with a record breaking season 51 touchdown passes. The record set by the Patriots QB – Brady, in 2007.

But really, it all comes down to style – and when it comes to style and heart throbbing intense games, Elway was definitely the one to watch.

Image via YouTube

  • Good Article

    Good article Tina. You have had a couple good ones recently. I like the one about jackets for the homeless. People need to hear more about helping others.

    As for this question, I don’t think there is a “best” in any team sport. There is just different and really no one wins by themselves in a team sport or actually even in an individual sport because there are always people who help a person win. I have never seen a person do it all by himself or herself.

    Also, in Football, offense is so stressed nowadays but the reality is that if you look at the past 10 Super Bowl winners — every one had a great defense. Even the years the Colts and Saints won — they had above average defenses.

    Football really is the ultimate team game.

    • Jon

      Elway is a much more “clutch” QB and obviously a better playoff QB. Peyton is probably the greatest regular season QB of all time. The playoffs for Manning however, is a different story. I give Elway the edge just because of his late game heroics and of course the 2 Super Bowls.

    • http://www.tinavolpe-writer.com/ Tina Volpe

      :) … its (for me anyway) about the excitement of the team leader… and a 20+ year Elway fan (crush), because I think he’s HOT… not to mention fun to watch!

      Thanks for the kudo’s

    • Johhny

      Elway is much better. Once it gets chilly, Manning would rather hand the ball off.

    • Bryan

      Correct, but if that “TEAM” you speak of does not have a, let’s say “highly rated” QB; it’s doubtful they will make it to the SB!

  • bringum

    Tim Tebow

    • Hab

      Tebow is a better overall football player and person.

      I LIKE Tebow the best!

  • Rick

    Comparing Manning to Elway or ANY all-time great is a joke! Manning is a stat seeker who doesn’t care about winning. He doesn’t have the guts to throw a difficult pass because he doesn’t want to stain his stats! He will NEVER be anything but a robotic stat seeking qb! He doesn’t care about SB’s! He wants records PERSONAL records! Why else would he have over 100 career td passes of 1 yes 1 yard! That is a stat monger who cares about HIS stats and not his team winning!

    • @Rick

      The man wouldn’t have came back from a major neck injury if he didn’t care about the game. He has millions. He has a Super Bowl. He is a Hall of Famer.

      You might not like him, but to say he doesn’t want to win is crazy.

    • Anne

      It seems you don’t like Peyton Manning; nothing more, nothing less. The subject here is football.

    • Anthony

      You are spouting off complete unfounded nonsense! Coaches, players, GM’s around the NFL all say Peyton Manning studies the game more than any other QB including Tom Brady. It’s not his fault the Colts didn’t have a great D all those years he was in Indy. Jim Irsay wanted his franchise QB surrounded with the weapons to score lots of points. The Colts were an unbalanced team for many years and that is not Peytons fault. Blame the owner and GM for not putting together a more complete defense. If they had, it’s possible Peyton has 3 or more Superbowl wins. To say he’s simply a stat hound and nothing more again is ridiculous and again unfounded no facts BS

  • Hab

    Hate John Elway.

    Manning is a good guy and quarterback.

    • Anthony

      Why would you hate Elway? Did he not sign an autograph for you or something? It’s not like the guy was a jerk. He never bad mouthed other players or teams and never whined about losing all of those Superbowls. Not sure why you would gate the guy.

  • Donna Richards

    I have been a Charger fan all my life and the only time I strayed was for John Elway. I saw him in a game at the old mile high stadium and I was hooked. I like Payton Manning (not his brother) and consider him one of the great quarterbacks of all time but no one can beat Elway. He was simply the best.

    • Anthony

      As far as arms go. Yes, Elway had a cannon, but the stats prove Peyton Manning is the more effective QB. Accuracy and Completion Percentage.

    • beentherendonethat

      Uh, it’s PEYTON not Payton. Just sayin….. :)

  • Tony Mathison

    The best QB in Denver History is NOT Elway or Manning, it is Craig Morton. He took Denver to the highest level in club history and helped set the bar high for Elway, Manning, and others to follow. I am very proud to be the owner of a Morton autographed, number 7, Denver Broncos NFL jersey from that time period.

    • Anthony

      LOL! Craig Morton? Seriously? The guy couldn’t win the job outright in Dallas when Staughbach arrived so Landry shipped him off to Denver. Sure it’s true Landry had great respect for Morton and he was a good QB but he lost that SAME year to his old team the Dallas Cowboys! I can’t believe you honestly believe Craig Morton was a better QB than Elway or currently Peyton Manning. That is simply laughable. Hell! Eli Manning is a better QB than Morton. LOL

  • http://www.tinavolpe-writer.com/ Tina Volpe


  • Charly

    The best ever was Otto Graham of the Cleveland Browns. He led his to to 10 straight championships and won 6. If any modern day Qback led his team to 10 straight SuperBowls, then they just might be as good as Graham.

  • http://Yahoo Jeffrey

    None of the Above!

  • Dimitri

    As a Bronco fan I don’t care who is “better”. All I know is that when all is finished the 2 best Quarterbacks in my era of watching professional football will be in the Hall of Fame in a Bronco uniform. Simply amazing!

    • Anthony

      Bro, Peyton Manning isn’t going into the Hall of Fame as a Denver Bronco! He can win a SuperBowl this year with Denver and he STILL won’t go in as a Bronco. He’ll be a first ballot Hall of Famer going into Canton as an Indianapolis Colt. For the simple fact he created his legacy there. Nice for you to wish though!

  • hollywoodnc

    Even though both are excellent QB’s, I have to say, that John Elway was a more accurate and has a great ‘bullet pass’.

    Also, w/o doing research, didn’t Elway have a better TD record?

    • c

      All the research you needed was to read the article: 487 TDs for Manning. 300 for Elway. Manning will end his career in the 500s. I too lived the Elway years and celebrated the Superbowl wins, but I am not so stuck in the past and the everything that’s old must better way of thinking that I clearly see that Manning is better in about every way…and not just a little. Elway was better with rushing and arm strength. In toughness they are a wash. Manning is a more accurate pocket passer with the best football brain of any player ever.

      • Charlie

        You obviously didn’t factor Dan Reeves’ effect on Elway. Reeves highly conservative offense limited Elways stats for most of his career. Elway had shakles on from ’83 till Shanahan’s arrival in ’95. Wade Philips did let Elway do what he wanted, but, Elway had very limited weapons including Wade as the head coach. A lousy head coach, but a decent D coordinator. I guess this is a bar stool discussion forever.

  • budso

    Otto Graham and Tom Brady have to be at the top of the list in each of their playing days, not that Elway and Peyton Manning are slouches: they are terrific, too in their time and are certainly helped along as being with tremendous football teams, including offense and defense.

  • Anthony

    Comparing the best best QB’s in NFL history is a complete waste of time and an insult IMO to the players themselves. You can’t possibly compare Elway to Peyton Manning or Montana to Favre or Marino to Unitas. Yes stats speak for how good the player was at that particular time, but to rank 1 QB as the best of all time is simply impossible. Joe Montana said himself in an inverview that he felt it disgraced not only the players, but the spirit of the game of football and I agree with that statement.

  • Charlie

    Elway’s stats could have been much higher. But Dan Reeves ran a more methodical offense with primarily running and short passes. Reeves coaching style was groomed, of course, from Tom Landry. Landry did like the razzle dazzle plays from time to time with Staubach, Dorsett Newhouse, Drew Pearson and co. After all Landry had the arsenal to do so. I always felt Reeves was much more reserved than even Landry. Elway said he could never compete statistically with Marino or Kelly. That is until Shanahan took over.

    I’m an Elway guy but I really respect Manning. He’s a great person and one awesome QB. You can’t go wrong with either. They are among the all-time elite.

  • Billy

    Being a Raiders Fan I hate all Bronco QB’s the same, with that said, Elway is far more the better QB. He played in a time when QB’s were treated like players not antique dolls your mom wont let u touch. DB’s were able to defend receivers without yellow flags flying everywhere. Finally, Elway was a Bronco, and is still a Bronco. Peyton is a Colt and will go to the Hall of Fame as a Colt. He wont win a SB with Denver and next year no one will care about Peyton but Colt fans. RAIDER DIE HARD

  • SL

    Manning is the better pure passing quarterback.

    However a prime Elway is the QB you want to build a franchise around simply because he can do more with less talent around him.

  • Jack Giddens

    Both Manning and Elway are all-time greats, no doubt. But seriously, John Elway is simply the greatest quarterback to have ever played that position. No one could play like he could. Forget stats Over 10 years under Reeves he lost probably 3,000 yards per year. Given that, he would have over 80,000 career passing yards, which would put him far ahead of the current passing yardage leader, Brett Favre (71,000). Stats just don’t matter much. Manning is great, great, but Elway is simply the greatest ever. Get real.

  • joe

    Elway was a one man gang. No marquis running back until the last 2 seasons. Also no mention of the running stats of Elway.