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Posted at 12:40 PM ET, 01/25/2012

Super Bowl 2012: Tom Brady, Eli Manning keep focus on the quarterbacks

Every year, the Super Bowl is about the quarterbacks. Even if it’s not really about the quarterbacks — even if it features Trent Dilfer or Kerry Collins — the Super Bowl hype is always about the quarterbacks.

Before and after the game, it’s about the quarterbacks. During the game, it’s football. But the story... the story is the quarterbacks.

That’s how Trent Dilfer became the modern poster child of bad Super Bowl winning quarterbacks. He should feel honored. In fact, he wasn’t as bad as we remember. He was very competent, almost average, a first-round draft pick yet anonymous — sort of the Brady Quinn of his day. But he has a ring, thus the legend of Trent Dilfer.

In this year’s Super Bowl , with a matchup of Tom Brady and Eli Manning, the focus on the quarterbacks is well deserved. Brady, it can be argued, is the greatest quarterback in NFL history. Manning, however, played better than Tom Brady last week, and that’s no argument. That’s fact.

It’s going to be fascinating. Last year’s Super Bowl matchup featured two great but very different quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger. This year, Brady and Manning have played at exceedingly high levels, and each is loaded with weapons.

Manning’s main weapons — Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, and Mario Manningham — are on the outside. Brady’s main weapons — Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, and Wes Welker — work the mid-level of the field. Brady is precise in moving around inside the pocket and even more precise throwing before he is hit. Manning seems to have doubled how good he is in the last half of this season. Before the last two months, no one thought he was as good as his brother. It’s suddenly plausible.

Against the 49ers in the NFC championship game, Manning took some brutal hits and still made brilliant throws. Brady, as has been proven more than once, including by the Giants in their last Super Bowl matchup, is ordinary when he gets hit a lot.

So who is the better quarterback? It depends. If the Giants can get to Brady enough, Manning might have the edge. Left untouched, Brady is better than anyone ever, or at least since Otto Graham. This is not to say Manning is tougher. It’s just that he’s recently been more accurate when he is getting mugged. I expect a both sides to try a mugging. I can’t wait to see what's gonna happen.

Brian Tarcy is the author or co-author many books including of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Football" with Joe Theismann, and the creator of the NFL humor site Whatzgonnahappen.com

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By Brian Tarcy  |  12:40 PM ET, 01/25/2012

Tags:  Brian Tarcy

 
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