To delve further into my last comment under "The Greatest By Number", Ivan Maisel in his piece Prime Numbers listed Peyton Manning as the greatest #16 of all time. Upon further review, when compared to the "Honorable Mentions" for #16 (UCLA QB Gary Beban; Kentucky QB George Blanda; Toledo QB Chuck Ealey; Iowa QB Chuck Long; Stanford QB Jim Plunkett; Louisville QB Johnny Unitas; Florida State QB Chris Weinke), Manning may be the least qualified of the bunch. For the sake of this blog, let's just compare him to the only other player of his era of the group, former ACC and Florida State standout Chris Weinke.
Heisman Trophies: Weinke 1 - Manning 0
National Titles: Weinke 1 - Manning 0
Overall record as starting QB: Weinke 32-3 (.910) - Manning 39-6 (.870)
Record vs. Florida: Weinke 2-0 - Manning 0-4
Career TDs: Weinke 79 (2.75 seasons) - Manning 89 (4 seasons)
Career INTs: Weinke 35 (2.75 seasons) - Manning 33 (4 seasons)
Career passing yards: Weinke 9,839 (2.75 seasons) - Manning 11,201 (4 seasons)
Intangibles: Weinke was 25 during his sophomore season and won the Heisman in '00 at 28 years of age; Manning was, shall we say, more age appropriate and finished his UT career at 21.......Weinke seriously injured his neck after a jarring hit vs. Virginia in Nov '98 and missed the remainder of that season.
The age factor can go both ways...Weinke had the advantage of advanced "maturity" when he took over as signal caller in Tallahassee in 1998, but also was saddled with a good deal of football rust (thanks to 6 years of minor league baseball) that Manning never had. I would argue that Weinke's comeback from a severe, career threatening neck injury in late '98 outweighs the age factor. Regardless, every major stat - except for career INTs - points in Weinke's favor, when factored by how many games each player started. Therefore, this blog finds that between Messrs. Manning and Weinke, the more deserving of the title of "Greatest College Football #16 of All-Time" is Chris Weinke.
Rip Van Weinke does it again