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‘Conductor’ plays second fiddle at QB

Before almost every snap, Peyton Manning waves his arms as if conducting an orchestra. The truth is, he’s just playing second fiddle.

Many regard Manning as a near-perfect quarterback, but after losing Super Bowl XLIV, he’s no longer “The Man.” According to one man’s opinion, No. 18 for the Indianapolis Colts is not the No. 1 player at the NFL’s most important position.

ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons took a unique look at the league’s QBs and ranked all 32 expected starters. Of Manning, who came in at No. 2, he wrote:

“He maintains his ‘Don’t bet against me in any nationally televised night game’ status, as well as his ‘Don’t ever throw my opponent into a teaser or parlay’ status,” said Simmons, disappointed by Manning’s performance in the Super Bowl loss to New Orleans.

“He had a chance to cement his legacy and didn’t. Now troublemakers like me can play the ‘Yeah, he was great, but he only won one Super Bowl, and it was against Rex Grossman’ card until he gets that second ring.”

New England’s Tom Brady came in at No. 3. The new No. 1 in Simmons’ rankings is the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees, who wins no style points for appearance.

“(Brees) is the least-famous-looking QB in recent history,” Simmons said. “His hair makes him look like one of those unkempt sportswriters who frequent local cable television sports shows.”

That’s an unfair shot at local cable shows. Unkempt sportswriters also appear on lame ESPN shows. Examples: John Clayton, Tony Kornheiser and Bob Ryan.

Simmons’ take on other NFL quarterbacks:

Matt Leinart: “Will we ever figure out why Leinart didn’t make it? I keep going back to that ‘Punk’d’ episode in 2006 when they pretended to arrest Leinart and his buddy for soliciting a prostitute, then a panicked Leinart convinced his buddy to take the rap for him before a giggling Ashton Kutcher jumped out of a van.

“That’s a leader? Would Brees or Brady have ever done that? We should have written him off then and there.”

Kyle Orton/Tim Tebow: “I believe Tebow will be more effective than anyone anticipates, to the point that it will start a quarterback controversy. Quarterback platoons are like long-term affairs and repeated threesomes: Eventually, all hell will break loose.”

Brett Favre: “Did we finally reach Favre’s ‘One of these years, his body is going to finally break down and that will be it’ season? I continue to have a terrible feeling about the 2010 Vikings.”

Tony Romo: “Put it this way: I’d rather have him as my fantasy QB than my real QB.”

■ GET YOUR POPCORN READY — Wide receiver divas Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens of the Cincinnati Bengals are teaming up for a weekly talk show on Versus. “The T.Ocho Show” debuted Tuesday.

The two clowns discuss several hard-hitting topics and review highlights from their VH-1 Reality shows.

This is basically the NFL’s version of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”

COMPILED BY MATT YOUMANS
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