Peyton Manning: best QB ever? That’s asking a wrong question


Peyton Manning: best QB ever? That’s asking a wrong question

The much-anticipated retirement end of Peyton Manning’s career was the start — actually, the continuation — of another one of those greatest-ever discussions/debates/arguments. In Manning’s case the conversation has been ongoing as the numbers piled up.

Stop it. Pull the camera back and look at a bigger picture for a moment.

Greatest composer of all time? Beethoven or Mozart? Or what about Brahms? But hey, I mean, if you’re a lullaby guy, c’mon, man, gotta be the Big Brahm’ster. (And no, I loved “Beautiful” but I don’t see Carole King in this discussion. Sorry.)

[MORE: Peyton Manning reportedly plans to announce retirement on Monday]

Greatest artist of all time? You say Monet, I say Michaelangelo. Then some guy over in another booth pipes in with how great were the ones who just had sharp stones to work with and did frescoes on cave walls? (Michaelangelo was good, sure, but does he nail that chapel gig if he has to be looking around for saber-toothed tigers all the time?)

Fact is, if we’re playing a pickup game, you take Manning, I’ll take Tom Brady/Otto Graham/Brett Favre, and let’s play. OK, you take Brady, I’ll take Manning, or Graham.

The beauty of all this is that there is really no wrong answer. Ask the players who played with Brady and guess who they say. Or ’06 Colts who beat the Bears with Manning in Super Bowl XLI. Think the ‘70s Steelers would trade anybody for Terry Bradshaw? Not a chance.

The numbers aren’t really much help, since the tectonic plates of the NFL are always shifting so much. Brady won Super Bowls in three of his first four years starting and never threw more than 28 TD passes in any of those seasons. Manning threw fewer than 28 TD passes in just five of his 16 full seasons.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

Is Manning really better than Brady based on TD passes? Or Brady than Manning because of rings?

None of which is really the point. The beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, and just as in any beauty pageant, is Miss USA really, really prettier than Miss Zambia? Really? C’mon, man.

“Best ever” always makes for fun banter. But sometimes it’s just nice to lean back, nod, and say, “Glad you came our way.”

ICYMI: The Bears lose in OT, the Bulls season nears, the Blackhawks make history


ICYMI: The Bears lose in OT, the Bulls season nears, the Blackhawks make history

The Bears suffered a heartbreaking defeat (that makes two of those), but the Bulls are days away from the start of a new season and the Blackhawks did something that has never happened before in sports history.


The Bears had a slow first half, failing to score against the shorthanded Dolphins, but picked things up in the third quarter. It all fell apart late in the fourth quarter and then again in overtime in a 31-28 defeat. Miami went up against the Bears without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but Brock Osweiler threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns. What does that say about the Bears' defense?

Matt Nagy was a bit chippy with the media after the game, but there were still positive signs from the offense.

Plus, Dwyane Wade was there and repped the Bears on the road.


The Bulls wrapped up the preseason Friday with a 98-93 loss to the Nuggets. Wendell Carter Jr. and Bobby Portis both showed well in the preseason finale and Jabari Parker flashed his potential as well.

With the preseason complete, Mark Strotman graded each player on the Bulls roster. You may not want to calculate the team GPA.

The roster is being finalized as well, with Ryan Arcidiacono making the team and local product Tyler Ulis getting picked up off waivers.


Saturday was an eventful day for the Blackhawks. First, it marked the 1,000th career game for Duncan Keith. Keith talked about the emotional night after the game.

As for the game itself, the Blackhawks beat the Blues 4-3 in overtime. That was the second time the Hawks beat the Blues in OT this season, adding to a 5-4 OT win in St. Louis on Oct. 6.

Unbelievably, that was the fifth straight OT game for the Blackhawks. Every game has gone to overtime this season, and not one of those has even gone to a shootout. No NHL team has done that since the league introduced a regular-season overtime period in 1983-84, per the Elias Sports Bureau. Overtimes are more rare in other sports, but that also holds true for the NBA, NFL and MLB.

The Hawks don't play against until Thursday, when the host Arizona.

Bears notes: Was Trey Burton’s penalty justified?

Bears notes: Was Trey Burton’s penalty justified?

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — In a game full of pivotal moments, one seemed to irk the Bears in particular following Sunday’s 31-28 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.

Driving on the Dolphins three-yard line, the Bears lined up in a T formation with Jordan Howard, Trey Burton and Tarik Cohen lined up left to right in the backfield behind Mitch Trubisky, who was under center. Burton motioned out of the backfield and to the right, and ran his route into linebacker Kiko Alonso.

Trubisky threw a short pass to a wide open Cohen for a touchdown, with Alonso late getting to the running back after being hit by Burton. But that score was taken off the board for offensive pass interference, with officials ruling what Burton did amounted to an illegal pick play.

“Trey did everything I asked him to do,” Matt Nagy said, sharply.

On the next play, Trubisky forced a pass into double coverage in the end zone, which was easily picked off by Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald. Miami turned that interception into eight points on Albert Wilson’s 43-yard touchdown and an ensuing two-point conversion.

The way Burton understood the rule was that offensive pass interference was only assessed on a pick play if he intentionally ran into a defender without running a true route. That’s what Burton felt he did; the officiating crew disagreed.

“I thought I ran a route and the guy ran into me,” Burton said. “I thought they changed the rule this year or last year — if you run the route, it doesn’t matter if you pick the guy or not, you’re good. Obviously they called it.”

A Rough Return

The conversations surrounding the Bears Sunday into Monday would be awfully different had a number of things happened — Trubisky doesn’t throw that interception, the Bears’ defense gets a stop, Tarik Cohen doesn’t fumble near midfield, etc. In that same group: If Cody Parkey hits what would’ve been a game-winning 53-yard field goal in overtime.

Parkey, instead, missed that kick wide right. His career long is 54 yards, which he hit last year while with the Miami Dolphins (and that was a game-winner with about a minute left against the Los Angeles Chargers).

“I had the distance, I just didn’t kick it straight enough, bottom line,” Parkey said. “But you’ve got to move on. I’ve made game winners, I’ve missed game winners. As long as I keep playing, I’m just going to keep trying to kick my best.

“… I control what I can control, and unfortunately I missed a field goal. I’d like to have that one back, but it is what it is and I’m just going to focus on the next game. That’s all I can do.”