NFL Nation: NFL Nation Confidential: Two-minute QB

NFLN survey/Super Bowl QB: Dolphins

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
12:40
PM ET
ESPN.com’s NFL Nation surveyed more than 300 players this past season to get their take on a variety of topics. Our latest survey was on clutch quarterbacks.

According to our survey, players overwhelming voted for Tom Brady (40 percent) to lead their team in the final two minutes of a Super Bowl. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who had a record-setting season, was a distant second with 26.9 percent.

Results were pretty split between Brady and Manning in Miami’s locker room. Brady has more of the “clutch” reputation. But there’s a chance that Miami’s locker room didn’t care to vote for the starting quarterback of its biggest rival.

The Dolphins split two games against Brady this past season. Miami ended a seven-game losing streak against the Patriots when Michael Thomas picked off Brady in the end zone to seal a 24-20 Dolphins victory on Dec. 15.

NFLN Survey/Super Bowl QB: Bengals

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
10:00
AM ET
If the Super Bowl was on the line and your team had two minutes to march downfield for a game-winning score, who would you want playing quarterback?

Andy Dalton?

Out of the more than 300 NFL players who were anonymously surveyed by ESPN.com's NFL Nation team reporters, none would have the Cincinnati Bengals quarterback behind center with the biggest game of their careers on the line. Instead, they'd prefer New England's Tom Brady to lead a two-minute drill that would take them to championship glory.

It should be noted that players from all 32 teams who were interviewed for this survey were requested to consider quarterbacks who didn't play for their team. When initially asked this question, a couple of Bengals indicated they would keep their current starting signal-caller in the huddle if they were trying to rally for a late-game Super Bowl win. One, when asked not to include Dalton, said he'd make Bengals backup Josh Johnson his pick. He wouldn't budge, and for that reason, Johnson got one vote.

That anecdote was to show there was some loyalty in Cincinnati's locker room when it came to this particular survey question.

Still, the fact no other players outside the Bengals locker room picked Dalton is rather telling. His struggles in big games probably has something to do with the perception that he may not be a Super Bowl winner. Dalton is 2-4 in his three-year career in Sunday, Monday and Thursday night games. He's also 0-3 in the postseason and is 8-10 in division games. He's only won two games on the road against other AFC North teams.

Dalton's performance in "big games" doesn't mesh well with his overall showing. He has 30 wins in his first three seasons, an average of 10 a year. That's an admirable figure and certainly one worthy of the "Good Andy" designation.

But it's "Bad Andy" who fans and players outside of Cincinnati see most often on the national stage, making it easy to assume he isn't a good quarterback in the clutch.

All of this aside, though, the players certainly didn't go wrong with their pick of Brady. He is, after all, a three-time Super Bowl champion who engineered drives that led to game-winning field goals in two of them. The quarterback players picked behind him, Denver's Peyton Manning, has a chance to win the Lombardi Trophy with a two-minute drill Sunday when the Broncos face the Seahawks.

NFLN survey/Super Bowl QB: Panthers

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
10:00
AM ET
What about Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton?

No surprise. New England's Tom Brady was selected the quarterback most players in the NFL would want with two minutes remaining and the game on the line.

No surprise. Denver's Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers were next on the list.

That's pretty much the way it went with the 10 Carolina Panthers I surveyed for this report. Brady and Rodgers had three votes each, with Manning receiving two.

New Orleans' Drew Brees and Eli Manning of the New York Giants also received a vote. I loved the comment by the player who voted for Eli.

"He pulls stuff out of his a--,'' he said.

Here is a surprise. Newton didn't receive a vote from anybody surveyed on the other 31 teams.

It's a surprise because Newton directed four fourth-quarter game-winning drives this season. Three he engineered in the final two minutes, including wins over Brady and the Patriots and Brees and the Saints.

So while the third-year quarterback proved a lot this season, he still has a lot to prove.
With two minutes remaining and the Super Bowl on the line, New England quarterback Tom Brady is the man you want under center, according to an NFL Nation survey of 320 players.

Brady ran away with 128 votes, while the Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning received 86, followed by the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers at 32. The New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers rounded out the top five. Of the 10 Chicago Bears surveyed, six voted for Brady, two picked New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, while two more selected Manning.

Interestingly, three of the Chicago Bears polled initially chose Rodgers, but changed their selection because of the rivalry against the Packers. One Bear said, "As good as he is, I just can’t bring myself to pick him." Rodgers and Detroit’s Matthew Stafford were the lone representatives from the NFC North to receive votes in the poll.

Those quarterbacks posted a 3-1 record against the Bears in 2013 (although Rodgers played briefly in the first Packers meeting against Chicago), and overall, Rodgers and Stafford are a combined 12-8 against the Bears with 33 touchdown passes and 18 interceptions. In sweeping the Bears in 2013, Stafford completed 58.6 of his passes for four touchdowns and two interceptions.

Rodgers, meanwhile, completed 63.4 percent of his throws against Chicago for two scores and two picks, including the game-winning scoring strike to Randall Cobb that ended the Bears’ season.

NFLN survey/Super Bowl QB: 49ers

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
10:00
AM ET
In our NFL Nation player’s poll, we asked 10 players from each team to give us their choice for the quarterback they’d want on their side with two minutes left in the Super Bowl.

New England legend Tom Brady received the most votes. Brady received some votes from the 49ers, as did a few other quarterbacks.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick could eventually become a player who would receive votes. He has shown this season he can deliver in the clutch, but he’s not a consistent threat -- yet. He showed that inconsistency when he was intercepted in the end zone in the final seconds of the NFC Championship Game in Seattle.

But Kaepernick is a talented player who has the ability to win close games for several years to come.
It looks like the NFL has a severe case shiny ring syndrome.

When asked who they'd want as their quarterback with two minutes left in the Super Bowl, the majority of the NFL players asked, decided on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. And it's largely in part because he's won, a lot, down the stretch. Sure, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers have their fair share of late-game heroics -- both even has a Super Bowl ring. But give the ball to Brady with two minutes on the clock and there's something different in the air.

However, in his last two Super Bowls, Brady lost both after having the ball with two minutes or less on the clock. Manning could claim this title next year with a Super Bowl win on Sunday. All six of the top vote getters have won a ring and what do two of the top five have in common? Manning and Ben Roethlisberger were both tutored by Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians. It may not mean a lot but it means something.
At one point, Matthew Stafford seemed like a plausible answer to the NFL Nation survey question of who you would want to lead your team in the Super Bowl with two minutes left.

It didn’t have as much to do with Stafford’s inexperience in Super Bowl games -- almost every Detroit Lion has that problem -- but what he has been able to do in the past. The question initially came about midseason, right after Stafford had led the Lions to a come-from-behind win over Dallas where he made a fake spike call in the final seconds.

It was a play of moxie and one that showed he could lead a team and depending when certain players were asked, could have been seen as a possible choice for this answer.

Since then, of course, he kind of unraveled. Detroit lost lead after lead in the fourth quarter and the rallying Stafford had done earlier in the 2013 season had been washed away.

But in his five-year career, Stafford has led Detroit on 12 game-winning drives or come-from-behind wins in fourth quarters, including three this season. Of those games, only three of them came in the second half of seasons, though.

So while Stafford was a potential option here at one point -- and some Lions players showed confidence in Stafford for the poll -- by the end of the season he seemed like an unlikely choice.

Instead, the choices that make sense -- New England’s Tom Brady, New Orleans’ Drew Brees and Denver’s Peyton Manning among them -- ended up being the most realistic options.

But Stafford has a chance to get there. He just has two of the guys who helped mold Manning and Brees as his quarterback mentors now. They just have to get him there.
TAMPA, Fla. -- In our NFL Nation survey, we asked players around the league to name which quarterback they would want at the two-minute warning with the Super Bowl on the line.

As you probably expected, the New England Patriots' Tom Brady and the Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning were at the top of the list. Brady got 40 percent of the vote and Manning received 26.9 percent of the vote.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Mike Glennon didn't get any votes. That's understandable. Glennon just finished a rookie season in which the Bucs only won four games.

But I did see some signs that Glennon someday might be a quarterback you would want with a big game on the line. As a rookie, Glennon showed very good composure and earned the respect of his teammates. If he can continue to grow in those areas, he someday might be mentioned in this conversation.

NFLN survey/Super Bowl QB: Colts

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
10:00
AM ET
Two minutes remaining. Need a touchdown to win the Super Bowl.

Who do you want under center leading the game-winning touchdown drive?

Tom Brady. Peyton Manning. Drew Brees. Ben Roethlisberger. What about Eli Manning?

It turns out 40 percent of the 320 players asked picked Brady as part of the NFL Nation survey. Manning, who will be quarterbacking the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl on Sunday, finished second behind Brady with almost 26.9 percent of the votes. Brady has led the New England Patriots to five Super Bowls, winning three of them. You're in good hands with Brady or Manning in the final two minutes of a game. Plenty of defenses from around the league can vouch for that.

Quarterback Andrew Luck has led the Colts to seven victories when they’ve trailed by double digits in his 35-game NFL career. Next up for him is to lead the Colts to the Super Bowl. The top six vote-getters – Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Roethlisberger and Eli Manning – have all played in Super Bowls.

NFLN Survey/Super Bowl QB: Cowboys

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
10:00
AM ET
The answers came quickly and were the same two quarterbacks the 10 Dallas Cowboys anonymously quizzed and answered for ESPN’s NFL Nation survey regarding which quarterback they would want with the Super Bowl on the line.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady got seven votes. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning received three. In the overall vote, Brady, with his three Super Bowl titles, was the winner (128 votes) and Manning, with one title and the chance for a second Sunday, was second (86 votes).

Fourteen quarterbacks received votes in the survey, but Tony Romo was not one of them.

Until Romo delivers the Cowboys deep into the playoffs or maybe even to a Super Bowl, he will have to live with the perception that he can’t get it done when it matters most, even if the fourth-quarter numbers say otherwise.

Once that happens, then Romo would receive votes the way Super Bowl winners Aaron Rodgers (32), Drew Brees (21), Ben Roethlisberger (20), Eli Manning (nine) and Joe Flacco (one) did.
Romo remains the NFL’s highest rated quarterback in the fourth quarter (102.4) with 66 touchdown passes and 26 interceptions. He has 20 come-from-behind victories in the fourth quarter or overtime in his career. He had five in 2012 and two last season.

With a herniated disk causing pain down his leg, Romo beat the Washington Redskins with a last-minute touchdown pass to DeMarco Murray as the Cowboys overcame a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit to win.

He would have surgery less than a week later and miss the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.

NFLN survey/Super Bowl QB: Steelers

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
10:00
AM ET
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning dominated ESPN’s NFL Nation survey of which quarterback players would most want if their respective teams needed a touchdown to win the Super Bowl with two minutes left in the game.

Brady (128) and Manning (86) combined to capture roughly two-thirds of the vote among the 320 players polled by ESPN’s NFL Nation.

Ben Roethlisberger received 20 votes to finish fifth among quarterbacks behind Brady, Manning, Aaron Rodgers (32) and Drew Brees (21).

Five of Roethlisberger’s votes came from teammates, a sign of how much his play at the end of close games is valued in the Steelers’ locker room.

Roethlisberger has led the Steelers to wins 33 times, including the postseason, in games in which they trailed or were tied in the fourth quarter. His most famous rally came in Super Bowl XLV five years ago when Roethlisberger marched the Steelers 78 yards in eight plays for the touchdown that beat the upstart Arizona Cardinals, 27-23.

Roethlisberger capped the drive with a 6-yard pass that Santonio Holmes snared with a tip-toe catch before getting pushed out of bounds. That play delivered the Steelers’ record sixth Super Bowl title and remains frozen in time for Pittsburgh fans.

Had I been granted a vote I would have thought long and hard before giving it to Brady over Roethlisberger, and I think you could flip a coin between the two quarterbacks who have won a combined five Super Bowls.

Roethlisberger’s improvisational skills and his burning desire to win have long made him one of the best quarterbacks when the game is on the line. He has delivered every time? Of course not. But neither has Brady, who has been outdueled late in the Patriots’ last two Super Bowl losses by Eli Manning.

Eli Manning received nine votes in the anonymous survey followed by Andrew Luck (eight) and Matthew Stafford (seven) and Russell Wilson (three).

The only other quarterback to receive more than one vote? Matt McGloin, who picked up two of them.

Draw your own conclusions there.

NFLN survey/Super Bowl QB: Patriots

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
10:00
AM ET
The decisiveness was the most notable part of the experience.

Walk into the Patriots' locker room and ask players the following question: "It's the two-minute warning of the Super Bowl, game is on the line, what quarterback do you want with the ball in his hands?"

A few players laughed as if to say, "Are you serious?"

Others simply went jersey number -- "12" -- or just looked toward his locker.

No offense intended, fellas, I knew where you were going.

Still needed to ask the question, though.

We saw some of the "Brady Magic" at points during the 2013 regular season, such as Oct. 13 against the New Orleans Saints when Tom Brady led a dramatic late-game comeback capped off by a touchdown pass with five seconds remaining. And, of course, the Super Bowl résumé speaks for itself.

That was the fun part of the assignment, asking players to take us into the huddle with Brady to get a feel for what he's like in those clutch moments.

NFLN survey/Super Bowl QB: Bills

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
10:00
AM ET
Two-minute warning. Super Bowl is on the line.

Who do you want at quarterback?

In a recent ESPN survey of 320 NFL players, 40 percent said that they would choose New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to lead their team on the final drive of the championship game.

The results were fairly condensed. Only five players -- Brady, Peyton Manning (26.9 percent), Aaron Rodgers (10 percent), Drew Brees (6.6 percent), and Ben Roethlisberger (6.3 percent) -- received more than 10 votes in the poll. Not surprisingly, each quarterback has won at least one Super Bowl in the last decade.

Among the 10 anonymous Buffalo Bills players polled, none chose EJ Manuel. Five players chose Brady, two chose Manning, two chose Brees, and one chose Roesthlisberger.

That doesn't necessarily represent a lack of faith in Manuel in the locker room, but it's a recognition that Manuel is young and not nearly as accomplished as his competition in the poll.

Perhaps one day that will change.

NFLN survey/Super Bowl QB: Broncos

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
10:00
AM ET
NEW YORK -- Champ Bailey has seen plenty of quarterbacks work at crunch time, with the clock grinding, timeouts gone.

“And the guys with the same expression, the look in their eyes, that they know what to do, they’re comfortable doing it, they’ve been there before and won before,’’ Bailey said. “Those are the guys you want with the ball in their hands with your team and the guys, as a defense, you know are always a threat to beat you. Peyton [Manning] is one of those guys.’’

Manning has led the Broncos to the franchise’s seventh Super Bowl and when ESPN.com NFL Nation reporters asked over 320 players: “Two-minute warning and the Super Bowl is on the line. Whom do you want at quarterback?’’ Manning was one of the top choices.

But he wasn’t the top choice. League-wide the quarterback the Broncos beat to go to the Super Bowl -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady -- was the top pick. Forty percent of the players surveyed picked Brady, who has won three Super Bowls in his career and been to five.

Manning received 26.9 percent of the votes league-wide and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was third with 32 percent.

Among the 10 Broncos who were surveyed, Manning was the overwhelming choice. Since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970, Manning leads all quarterbacks with 50 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter.

Hall of Famer Dan Marino is second, since the merger, with 47. In a season when the Broncos have piled on the points, the Broncos have needed just one such drive, for a game-winning field goal in Dallas in Week 5.

“I always say when you have a guy like Peyton at quarterback, you always have hope,’’ Bailey said. “You’re always going to be in the mix and that’s all you can ask for as a player.’’

“The guys who make the plays when it counts are the ones that understand everybody in that huddle is looking to them,’’ said Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway, also a pretty fair game-on-the-line quarterback on his way to the Hall of Fame. “A quarterback in that situation has to believe he can get it done, be prepared to get it done and done the work in those situations to be able to get it done. When you’ve got that kind of guy, you’re going to have a chance to win a world championship.’’

NFLN survey/Super Bowl QB: Raiders

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
10:00
AM ET
No, the Tuck Rule was not a factor. Nor was Spygate. No matter, the New England Patriots' Tom Brady built up an impressive enough body of work to be voted the quarterback most players surveyed in our ESPN.com NFL Nation poll wanted under center at the two-minute warning with the Super Bowl on the line.

Of the more than 320 players polled anonymously, Brady received 128 votes to outdistance the Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning, who had 86 votes. Rounding out the top five -- Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers (32), New Orleans' Drew Brees (21) and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger (20).

Fourteen quarterbacks received votes.

And while it may be tough for Raiders fans to celebrate Brady even 12 years after the Tuck Rule Game, he actually received the most votes in the Raiders locker room with three. Rodgers received two while Brees, Manning and Andrew Luck all received one.

Matt McGloin, though, also received two votes in the Oakland locker room as the poll was taken when the undrafted rookie was the Raiders' starter.

SPONSORED HEADLINES