According to the New York Times, there are two types of superstar quarterbacks: Namaths and Staubachs. Joe Namath was a product of the 1960’s. Despite being from rural Pennsylvania and playing football at the University of Alabama, he had a laidback So-Cal air about him. He guaranteed a victory over the heavily favored Colts in Superbowl III. And Roger Staubach was the straight-laced quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970’s. He was a naval officer and missed the first few years of pro football to serve. He had a never-say-die attitude and a nice crew cut. Evidently, these are the two archetypes available to sex symbol quarterbacks.
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And Eli Manning (of the New York Giants) is the analog of Staubach. So that makes Tom Brady the Joe Namath of this game. Manning is engaged to his college girlfriend and Brady is dating the world’s best-paid super model, Giselle Bundchen. Brady is supremely confident on and off the field. Whereas Manning is a slightly goofy, boy next door quality about him. Manning’s mystique largely comes from the fact that his father and older bro Peyton Manning are also NFL stars.
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In all honesty, we think that the comparison is a little bit off. Sure, Tom Brady dates models and parties with Leonardo Dicaprio. And Manning is engaged to his college sweetheart. But that’s sort of where the comparison should end. Brady wasn’t even starter on his college team. He’s a self-made guy that is a great decision-maker and flawless executor of plans. Manning is willing to gamble a little more (like Namath) on the field. It seems to us that journalists are so too interested in analogy. Nothing really works without a comparison. We’re pretty sure that this Superbowl will involve two talented, distinct quarterbacks. But not because they’re the stylistic descendants of 60’s and 70’s football icons.