June 2, 2012

Rings Aren't Everything

By - Jaquan Murphy

It can be understood if someone is trying to justify which golfer or tennis player is better based on how many tournaments that player has won. But the most annoying thing is when people use championships as a measuring stick during debates about which individual player is better in team sports.

Someone shouldn't say that one player is better than another because one has more rings. A perfect example of this is the debate as to who is the better quarterback between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

Photo by: Getty Images
People who are pro-Brady say he's better because he's won three Super Bowls to Manning's one. However, there are plenty of stats and facts that point to Manning being the better QB.

Sticking to the argument of rings making a player better would suggest that Peyton's brother, Eli -- is the better Manning because he has more rings. Anyone who wants to say that is down right ridiculous. People fail to realize that a quarterback winning a championship has more factors than JUST the quarterback himself.

People who say Brady has more rings fail to realize that New England's defenses were a whole lot better than Indianapolis' over much of that time span. Since 2002, Indy's defense finished in the top ten in total defense twice, one year being the 2007 Super Bowl season. New England's finished top ten 5 times.

If people look at individual stats and not just championships, it's pretty obvious that Manning is the better overall quarterback. Subtracting the two years Manning has on Brady, Peyton still has better overall numbers. Since Brady was drafted in 2000, Manning has 6,979 more passing yards, 47 more touchdown passes and Manning has only 2 seasons with a QB rating under 90.0, where as Brady has 5.

Manning also outshines Brady in accolades. Manning has 11 Pro Bowl appearances compared to only 7 for Brady. Manning was first team All-Pro 5 times compared to only 2 for Brady. Manning also has 4 MVP awards (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009) while Brady only has 2 (2007, 2010). Not to mention, Manning was selected No. 1 overall in the 1998 draft, while Brady was selected in the sixth round, 199th overall in the 2000 draft.

The clearest example that shows Manning's superiority over Brady is the difference in team performances when both signal callers missed an entire season. The Patriots still had 11 wins the season Brady missed. The Colts on the other hand, had just as many wins without Manning as they did losing seasons with him (2). Numbers like that are classic examples why rings aren't everything.

This argument exists in multiple situations though. It's always a major point people try to use when comparing NBA superstars also. Another classic example is the Kobe versus LeBron debate.

Granted, Kobe has been in the league for much longer than Lebron, but in terms of averages, James' numbers have always been better than Bryant's. Just look at the numbers at similar points in their careers.

James' rookie year demolishes Bryant's rookie campaign. James averaged 20.9 points per game, 5.9 assists, and 4.2 rebounds. Bryant on the other hand, only averaged 7.6 ppg, 1.3 apg, and 1.2 rpg. Bryant didn't eclipse the 20 ppg plateau until his 4th season in the NBA, which was his second year being a full-time starter.

The other telling stat that shows that rings aren't everything is player efficiency rating. Since 2004, James has not finish lower than 6th in PER, and has finished 1st every year since 2007. Bryant only has 2 years in the top five over the same time span.

In terms of career averages, James continues to hold the advantage over Bryant. James has more points per game (27.6 - 25.4), assists per game (6.9 - 4.7), and rebounds per game (7.2 - 5.3). And although James is getting dominated in the rings won race, he has won more MVP awards, and also has a Rookie of the Year award to his name. Plus, he was picked 1st overall in the draft where as Bryant was picked 13th.

Even though the ultimate goal in every sport is to win a championship, it shouldn't be the only criteria used to judge players. In a team sport, one player can only take a team so far. Other stats are needed to judge how good a player truly is.

So the next time you're involved in a debate about who's better, just remember -- rings aren't everything.


  1. You make a valid point, but I don't see where a guy was drafted has ANYTHING to do with it. By that logic, anyone not taken in the first round in their particular sport is pretty much irrelevant, which is ridiculous. Just because someone was drafted higher than someone else doesn't mean they are automatically better. JaMarcus Russell was a No. 1 pick. That says it all.

    1. A player's draft spot usually determines what the team's intentions with him is. It would be less relevant with the Kobe, Lebron argument but the fact that Brady was drafted so late shows that the Patriots did not draft Brady with intentions of him being who he is today. The Colts drafted Peyton Manning hoping he would turn the franchise around.

  2. FINALLY. Someone on here that realizes Manning is the better quarterback. I'm shocked Kris' Brady loving ass actually allowed this post to go up.

  3. The argument between Brady & Manning is much closer than the Kobe & LeBron one. I think most people would agree LeBron is better, but Kobe is the more proven winner and better at closing games out.

    1. One would think most people would agree LeBron is better but a lot of people will honestly argue Kobe is better because he has more rings and that would be their strongest argument. Then others would say Kobe is better because of his closing ability without looking at their overall bodies of work.

  4. You shouldn't just use rings as THE deciding factor, but they are still part of the equation nonetheless.

  5. And just putting in my say, Lebron is clearly better than Kobe, and Kobe has been in the league way longer than Lebron, so when Lebron has been in the league for as long as Kobe has we will see who has more rings.