It's time for everybody's favorite game: What If? Tonight we look at the careers of Dan Marino (famously never won the Super Bowl) and Peyton Manning (one game away from winning his second Super Bowl), and wonder what if ... what if Marino had a better defense? Or a better running game? Those questions -- and more! -- tonight on What If?, with special guest, The Phinsider.â†µ
But what's even more telling than the disappointing defenses that Marino was paired with are the disappointing running backs Marino was forced to play with. Only once in his entire career did Dan play with a 1,000 yard runner - which was Karim Abdul-Jabbar in 1996. Peyton Manning, meanwhile, has had a 1,000 yard running back supporting him in nine of his 12 career seasons - a whopping 75% of his career versus Dan's 6%.â†µ
Think that makes a difference?â†µ
And this is what I can't help but wonder about. With Peyton Manning on the verge of possibly winning his second Super Bowl title, some people are already getting close to referring to Manning as the greatest of all time. Not one of the greatest. The greatest. Period.â†µ
What if Marino had played in this day and age with the kinds of supporting casts around him that Peyton has had in his first 12 seasons? How would everyone see Marino then?â†µ
It's interesting enough, and the what if game is always fun to play, but that's where it ends -- just a fun exercise in futility. Because really, with rules changes, advancements in nutrition, completely different eras and styles of play, we could do this all day.