It is the NFL's great playground debate. We're picking teams. Who you taking first as starting quarterback: Peyton Manning or Tom Brady?

Long before Manning ever pulled on No. 18 for the Broncos, my answer was the same every time.

Sure, Brady has won three Super Bowl rings.

But Manning was a four-time MVP before becoming a legitimate candidate again during his first season in Denver.

Advantage, Manning.

At least that's what I always thought.

Upon further review, I'm not so sure.

Brady seems born for the big moment.

I still firmly believe Manning ranks among his sport's legendary quarterbacks.

But I've also got to admit: After Manning took a knee during the final seconds of the fourth quarter in a playoff game, there was never a cocksure feeling he would rally the stunned Broncos to victory against Baltimore. The home stadium seemed to be filled with more dread than hope.

You could rewind every second of NFL history and not find a more meticulous or cerebral quarterback than Manning. He sprinkles humor with unrelenting perfectionism to be a leader that teammates love. Anybody who thinks the Broncos were better off with Tim Tebow as quarterback is dreaming.

John Elway, however, exuded a vibe that doing the impossible was his idea of fun.

If Manning lacks anything as a quarterback, it's the swagger to match the big moments that made Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw and Brett Favre famous.

Manning doesn't need me to be his quarterback coach from the couch. So consider this my free, friendly advice to Manning, to be filed away until the Broncos return to the playoffs a year down the road.