Peyton Manning, and Speed-Reading a Defense

Is the Colts’ Peyton Manning the greatest quarterback in N.F.L. history?

Now ask yourself: How long did it take to read that sentence? Two, maybe three seconds?

That’s about as long as Peyton Manning or any other N.F.L. quarterback has to stand in the pocket and make potentially game-changing decisions before being subjected to a bone-crushing hit. Not many quarterbacks excel at making quick decisions in the pocket. Manning does. In that category, the consensus seems to be that he is the best.

The Times’s Carl Nelson chatted with the Colts’ quarterbacks coach, Frank Reich, earlier this week. He wanted to know how quickly Manning absorbs the action on the field before making decisions. The specific play discussed was Manning’s 46-yard completion to Austin Collie in the second quarter of the A.F.C. championship victory over the Jets two weeks ago.