Peyton Manning is a great quarterback, but what we learned tonight in Super Bowl XLIV is this: He’s no Tom Brady in the pressure moment on the game’s biggest stage.
Looking to lead the Colts back from a 24-17 fourth-quarter deficit against the Saints, Manning threw an interception that cornerback Tracy Porter returned 74 yards for a touchdown, a key play in New Orleans' 31-17 upset victory.
It was a costly mistake, the kind of miscue that Brady, in his four Super Bowl appearances, never made in the critical fourth-quarter situation.
Even in the Patriots’ Super Bowl loss to the Giants, Brady had led a fourth-quarter drive for a touchdown before the defense couldn’t hold.
For all the stories that were written over the last week about which quarterback was the best of the decade – Brady or Manning – one aspect was overlooked: How Manning would lead the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
If you measure a quarterback by how he responds in the pressure moments on the game’s biggest stage, the debate ended with authority tonight.