Part of my job here behind this big slab of cherry wood is to dish out arguments.
Not just things that make you go, 'Huh.' But that also separate the bar a bit – that have several answers that could be, maybe even are, correct.
So, in that responsibility, I failed Wednesday. The question was whether Peyton Manning and Ray Lewis – two key components in Saturday's playoff game in Indianapolis – are the best of their generation.
And pretty much everyone who stopped by to answer said yes.
\ So much for a potential barfight. I couldn't even get WV Mike or Jim Traber to throw an elbow.
OK, so now I am going to add a twist on this particular drink, tossing in an apple and an orange.
Which player, Manning or Lewis, would you most want on your team of the late-90s/2000s if you could have only one?
Yes, comparing a defensive star to an offensive star is unfair. But that is what we are doing, so humor me.
They are both Hall of Famers, both have won a Super Bowl title and, as we established, the best of their generations at their respective positions.
But knowing what you know now about their pro careers, if you could go back to the late 1990s (Lewis was drafted in 1996 and Manning in 1998, so split the difference and say 1997) and take just one of them for your team, which one would it be?
On first blush, this seems like an easy call. Take the franchise quarterback, right? But, during Manning's career, there have been some other pretty great quarterbacks, such as Tom Brady, Brett Favre and now Drew Brees.
As Rob K pointed out, the next best in line behind Lewis at middle linebacker in this era (the last 15 years or so) is Brian Urlacher, who is a very good player. But I think he is further behind Lewis than some of the other QBs are behind Manning.
And middle linebacker is the QB of the defense, or so the footballspeak goes.
So which one would you take to lead you through the 2000s? I still think I'd lean toward Manning, because he may be the best ever at the most important position. But I don't think it is a slam dunk (yeah, I know, that's from another sport).
Daily Think Special: Peyton or Ray? Choose only one.