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Final Four: Brady Vs. P. Manning
Authored by Andrew Perna - 12th September, 2009 - 12:10 pm

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In the most star-studded matchup we've seen in the contest thus far, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady battles Colts signal-caller Peyton Manning.

Manning won this contest three years ago, in its first incarnation, while Brady took Peyton's single-season touchdown record just two short seasons ago.

How They Got Here

Brady advanced to the Final Four by defeating Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (85%), Dolphins lineman Jake Long (81%) and Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (74%) in the contest's first three rounds.

Manning carved a similar path, dominating Texans defender Mario Williams (80%), Jaguars running back Maurice-Jones Drew (82%) and Steelers safety Troy Polamalu (78%) to get here.

Why Brady Is A Franchise Player

There is absolutely no denying Brady's ability. He's coming off major reconstructive knee surgery, but few doubt that he'll come back with a vengeance in 2009. He attempted just 11 passes last season due to the injury he suffered in Week One against the Chiefs, but tossed a record 50 touchdowns in the season prior when the Patriots fell one win shy of a perfect year.

Brady is never listed any lower than second on the list of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but is sometimes put on top (ahead of the infamous Peyton Manning). He's still in his prime at 32, and has less wear on his tires than Manning when you consider the season he missed (2008) and his rookie year (2000) when he threw just three passes.

New England doesn't have much behind him, which leads many to believe that he's close to 100%. Ice water runs through his veins, and he is rather selfless when it comes to winning as well.

Why Manning Is A Franchise Player

In a few decades, you'll be able to tell your kids (or grand kids) that you had the pleasure of watching Peyton Manning play perhaps the best football we've ever seen from a quarterback.

He's had many a record-setting season, but his efforts in 2008 were especially impressive. The numbers weren't eye-popping, but he was able to lead the Colts to yet another playoff appearance after offseason surgery, problems on the offensive line and the regression of good buddy Marvin Harrison.

Only three players have more touchdown passes in NFL history, and he'll likely pass Fran Tarkenton for third place in the first half of the 2009 season. With Brett Favre lingering longer than expected, it's becoming more and more unlikely that Peyton will finish at the top of the TD list, but his passer rating is much better and ranks second all-time.

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Andrew Perna is Deputy Editor of RealGM.com and co-host of RealGM's Radio Show. Please feel free to contact him with comments or questions via e-mail: Andrew.Perna@RealGM.com. You can also follow Andrew on Twitter: APerna7.