It is really quite comical and sad at the same time to watch the football analysis that goes on at this time of year — especially on ESPN.
I made the mistake of spending more than a fleeting moment while Numbers Never Lie was on that network, and it reminded me of why I skirt that network for most anything beyond highlights from the day before.
Nearly all of the ESPN analysts know less than they and the network thinks they do. It only takes a close examination of a single program to determine this to be true.
On this particular day the two regulars on the program, Jemele Hill and Michael Smith, were ranking the top five NFL quarterbacks of all-time. Since that is a subjective process, I am not going to shout down the picks as being incorrect. But their reasoning is certainly subject to question — and in this case — ridicule.
Most convoluted in the reasoning process is Hill. Her top five was Joe Montana, John Elway, Dan Marino, Tom Brady and Warren Moon.
Notice the absence of Peyton Manning. Her reason was his lack of success in the postseason. That is an oft-repeated and poor criteria, but since it is her list, I will let her have it. I am not doing that to be nice but rather to use that criteria against her.
Using that as a criteria, why is Marino on the list? How is that a strength of his? Apparently the numbers do lie. The numbers would say that Marino was 8-10 in the playoffs compared to Manning's 11-11.
There is another hole in her playoff-or-bust attitude that makes zero sense. Where is Terry Bradshaw?
Bradshaw has played in the sixth most NFL playoff games among all starting quarterbacks. His winning percentage in those games is better than all five of the quarterbacks ahead of him on that list.
Using her questionable logic about playoff success being the biggest yardstick in measuring a quarterback's worth, Marino has to drop off the list and Bradshaw has to be added and he has to be either No.1 or No. 2. After all, which quarterbacks have won more Super Bowls than Bradshaw. If you said "none," you win the prize.
Hill does not.
Smith fortunately didn't usual a similar rating theory. His top five was: Joe Montana, John Elway, Johnny Unitas, Peyton Manning and Dan Marino. That's a bit better.
I think there is a bit of folly in comparing quarterbacks from the era of Unitas and Bart Starr and earlier with those who have played since. Today's quarterbacks can throw the ball against defenses that are more limited in the contact they can have in defending passes. But today's QBs are allowed to do more and forced to do more.
My top five would be: Unitas, Manning, Montana, Brady and Marino. For what it's worth.
Contact sports editor Rick Teverbaugh: firstname.lastname@example.org or at 640-4886.