Peyton Manning’s Eight One-And-Done NFL Playoffs: Learn What You Are Criticizing

Peyton Manning lost another playoff game. Starting as a common quarterback narrative, the story has breathed too many years without more Super Bowl success to dispel, because we all know the “NFL For Dummies” handbook says to judge a quarterback based on championships won in the ultimate team sport.

So when Manning loses a playoff game, the popular thing to do is bash his reputation as a postseason quarterback, bash his losing playoff record (9-11), and call him a choker. The latest loss was probably the most painful one yet, and it gives Manning 11 playoff losses (tied with Brett Favre for record) and eight one-and-done postseason’s (another record).

But when someone throws that last fact out, they clearly do not realize what they are criticizing. If you want to bash the Colts and No. 1 seed 2012 Broncos for losing these games, five of them at home (by a combined 14 points), as a team, then feel free. They probably should have won at least 5-6 of them.

Though if you are bashing Manning based on his performances, then you need your head examined. Which other QB in NFL history could possibly produce these numbers and go 0-8 in the process without getting royally screwed over by his teammates and various other factors in a way no player ever has?

This is what you are knocking when you throw out the eight one-and-done seasons and 0-8 record:

  • 176/302 (58.3 percent) – This includes over 30 dropped passes in what equates to half a regular season
  • 2,075 passing yards (6.87 YPA)
  • 10 TD passes, one TD run
  • 6 INT – Three deflected off his own receiver’s hands, two thrown vs. 2002 Jets when Colts trailed 34-0/41-0 in 4th quarter
  • 82.0 passer rating – This would rank 23rd all time in postseason history (min. 150 attempts).
  • Six games with rating of 82.0 or better (five over 88.3, which is roughly career rating).
  • Seven losses by a combined 26 points; one other loss by 41 points.
  • Led in final 5:00 of fourth quarter five times.
  • Led in final 0:40 of fourth quarter four times.
  • Three overtime losses.
  • Two games where Manning’s last possession resulted in a missed field goal by Mike Vanderjagt (2000 MIA, 2005 PIT).
  • 2002 at Jets: Manning set Vanderjagt up for 41-yard FG, trailing 7-0. The next time he took the field, it was 17-0 Jets.
  • A memorable play where Nick Harper could have returned Jerome Bettis’ fumble for game-winning TD, but was tackled by Ben Roethlisberger.
  • Billy Volek came off the bench for Philip Rivers to lead Chargers on fourth-quarter comeback win (2007).
  • The worst average starting field position for any road team in the playoffs in the last 30 years (2008 San Diego).

These are not normal occurrences, and somehow the same quarterback keeps experiencing them, and becomes the easy target every year.

Saturday was the ultimate bow on top. Rahim Moore had a shot at a game-ending interception, and instead offers up what will go down as the worst ball misjudgment in NFL playoff history, resulting in Baltimore’s 70-yard game-tying TD. That is “Game Over” for any other quarterback. This was supposed to be “Manning’s best defense ever,” yet they suffered the biggest lapse and letdown in his career.

The game incredibly continued into overtime, and on Manning’s second possession, he went Favre and threw a bad interception. Immediately this cues the “Manning with another crushing playoff INT” talk, yet look at the list. This is the first time he’s ever thrown an interception in a close game like this that was actually his fault.

Just like how the Tracy Porter play in Super Bowl XLIV was the first time Manning ever turned the ball over in the fourth quarter/overtime in a one-score game in the playoffs. Yet the narrative is he always does these things. How does that happen when the facts show otherwise? These plays are first’s, not repeats.

What Manning usually does in the playoffs is give his team a chance to win the game in a way no other quarterback has. When they don’t, he takes the blunt of the criticism regardless of his play.

This stuff isn’t that hard to analyze. They only play 11 playoff games a year. Blame the quarterback when he deserves it. Don’t just blame Manning because of his status, and that you expect a touchdown every single drive from him. He’s not perfect. No one is in the playoffs.

In a 20-game sample, things are not going to even out, and they certainly have not evened out for Manning just yet, and he is really running out of chances. If the playoffs are supposed to be so important, so micro-analyzed, why are we seeing more garbage analysis than ever before? Just saying “9-11” does not prove a thing.

You know why quarterbacks who win a lot of playoff games do so? It’s not because they statistically out-produce Manning, because few do in the postseason. It’s because their teammates don’t muff onside-kick recoveries like Hank Baskett in the Super Bowl, miss clutch field goals like Mike Vanderjagt, forget a snap count on 3rd-and-1 with a chance to clinch the game, or allow a back-breaking 70-yard touchdown bomb.

Winning playoff teams limit their mistakes and finish games in the playoffs. There is no magical playoff quarterback formula about it. Manning was just over 30 seconds away from clinching his 50th game-winning drive, moving onto next week’s AFC Championship, and then disaster struck. A disaster other quarterbacks simply don’t have to deal with, because games never end that way.

Stop writing your stories before the game even starts, and pay attention to what actually happens. Be a defensive writer; one who reacts to what they see. Otherwise, you end up with garbage that truly defines the word “offensive.”


67 thoughts on “Peyton Manning’s Eight One-And-Done NFL Playoffs: Learn What You Are Criticizing

  1. So you’re not going to focus on how Manning became a dink and dunk QB in the 2nd half? Nice cherry picking stats out there.

    1. What did I cherry pick?

      Did the dink and dunk lose the game? I’ve seen that strategy win Super Bowls for other quarterbacks. Of course it’s much harder when you’re not getting any YAC and your RBs carry it 40 times for just 126 yards.

      That was a very limited offense on Saturday, and I’m not surprised he forced a play under pressure to avoid another 3rd and medium. It was a terrible INT, but it demonstrates no pattern, and the overriding point is Denver had no business being in OT in this game.

  2. Don’t mention the Nick Harper play as “bad luck”. If the Colts had won, it would have been the luckiest win in NFL history. The Polamalu overturned INT should’ve ended the game.

  3. Lol, U mad bro. Give me a break. Here is the only thing you need to know about Manning which explains his performance yesterday, 0-4. As in 0-4 in playoff games when the temperature is below 40. Manning is a one man Tampa Bay Buccaneer,

  4. Typical SWILL from a guy who is always swinging from Mannings jock. He threw a pick in the drive where he only needed a FG to win…FAIL

  5. Wow, I am baffled at the bias in this article. If you were sniffing Manning’s jock strap any more you’d be wearing it on your head.

    Cherry-picked stats from a purported “stat man” is not a good look.

    6.87 YPA compared to a career 7.63 YPA.

    You’re going to talk about the dropped passes and INTs that went off receiver’s hands, but not talk about blown coverages on the TD passes? Like the first touchdown against the Chargers (this vide): If you’re counting the INT at 1:47 in that video as one of those INTs off a receiver’s hands, you’re an idiot, because that was a terribly aimed throw. Or the fact that Manning’s last-minute comeback attempt stalled out thanks to an incomplete pass to a wide-open Dallas Clark. I suppose back-breaking, game-ending incompletions rank lower on your case than back-breaking, game-ending interceptions, right?

    1. What bothers me most about this is the ridiculous rush to absolve him of all blame. You’d be rushing to the keyboard faster than Roadrunner to scream from a mountaintop about how awesome he is if the Broncos had won.

    2. Everyone’s YPA drops in the postseason. And Manning’s rating actually drops less than a lot of others, Brady included. The truth is while Manning wasn’t perfect, look at Brady in a lot of his wins. 1 TD in his entire first SB run. Two games in that run with less than 150 yards. In that Super Bowl his offense put up 10 points and won (pick 6 from D and another 3 from the D starting the Pats out in FG position). Rating of ~75 against the Titans and Colts in the 03 SB run. 3 picks, including what should have been the game ending pick that was forced into a fumble by a teammate in a win against the Chargers in 06. 3 INTs in a win against the Chargers in 07. Two picks and one fourth quarter completion (two if you count the completion to the other team) in a win against the Ravens. Peyton’s been picked up from bad performances exactly twice in his career. There’s not a lot of difference between Brady and Manning in the postseason except for luck and teammate performance.

      1. Peyton in his 12 opening round playoff games has gone one & done no less then 8 times (this is not a typo, the # is EIGHT). Brady has won 3 out of the 5 Super Bowls he has been in. This means Brady’s Super Bowl winning % & Peyton’s opening round playoff losing percentage are basically identical, so when you say there is not much difference between Brady & Peyton in the playoffs, your analysis is uncannily accurate.

      2. There are several points that you clearly have missed. First, that Manning is held to a standard no other QB is. Take last nights game for example. Imagine if Manning had butchered the first half ending drive the way Brady did, and then come out in the second half and scored exactly zero points and threw 2 interceptions in the process. Think all the talk would have been about Welker dropping a pass with 25 minutes left in the game? Secondly, Brady is a better QB now than he was in his three Super Bowl wins. I don’t think anyone will dispute that. Yet, he is a very Manning like 8-8 since those years. How do you explain it? I will do it for you. The TEAMS are not as good. Think those 2003 teams would have given up those drives to Eli? No chance. Brady scored 13 points last night. Yet today, on ESPN Radio and Mad Dog radio, the talk was generally of Welkers drop and Ridleys fumble. Brady for the most part was unscathedthed. I have said and will say it again, Brady is top 5 all time and so is Manning. But Brady is never, never held to the standard Manning is.

    3. That Y/A is just for these eight games. Brady, a playoff god with unparalleled clutchness for example, has a career playoff Y/A of 6.76 compared to a regular season Y/A of 7.52. I’m not sure what you’re getting at with that.

      Also, Manning hit the wide-open Dallas Clark in the palms with the ball on 4th and 5. That’s why it stalled out.

  6. A lot of truly intelligent comments on here. Let’s not blame John Fox and his play calling for the loss on Saturday, or the fact that Morris played safety like an asshole letting a receiver get behind him. Peyton Manning didn’t lose that game for the Broncos, and if you think he did then you obviously ride the short bus to school.

  7. “A memorable play where Nick Harper could have returned Jerome Bettis’ fumble for game-winning TD, but was tackled by Ben Roethlisberger.”

    Which doesn’t even happen if the ref’s called the Polamalu interception properly. The game would have been long over, and Manning’s QB rating goes down further. That’s another game that Manning lost for his team, which the ref’s gave him a mulligan on.

  8. I like Peyton. He is one of my favorite NFL players. But stop making excuses for the guy, and simply acknowledge the fact: Peyton is one of the greatest QBs of all-time – definitely one of the best regular seasons QBs ever – but he consistently fails to get the job done in the playoffs. He is much like Favre in that regard. If anyone is writing a story before the game even ends, it is you. Rather than performing an objective analysis of Peyton’s performances, you start with your conclusion (i.e., Peyton can do no wrong; failure is never his fault), and you find various statistics to support your argument. In the meantime, you overlook Peyton’s terrible decisions in key moments (e.g., pick-6 in Super Bowl against New Orleans and the interception in OT this past Saturday, etc.) and his failures in years where he wasn’t “one-and-done” (e.g., his offense putting up 3 pts in the AFC Championship the year he threw for 49 TDs). Heck, this past game, Peyton was given two touchdowns by his special teams, and he still wasn’t able to get the job done.

    I like the guy, but Peyton has consistently fallen short in the playoffs. Period. Until you recognize and accept that, your analysis will continue to have little value and persuasive effect.

    1. I analyze what happens in games. No one can do any rational analysis of his postseason performance and come away with him not getting the job done more often than not. People just want to look at the final score and put that all on him without looking at the actual game.

      I love your line about terrible decisions in key moments, as you list the only two you could possibly list, when we know damn well there’s been an anti-Manning playoff stigma long before XLIV. And even the Tracy Porter play is not a bad decision. Bread-and-butter play in the Colts’ offense, and watch Wayne’s route.

      I’m not talking about the 20-3 game this week, I’m talking about going one and done eight times. The fact that anyone would even bring up the 20-3 game as a knock on him tells me all I need to know about what they were watching.

      1. Tell me, how do you rank Manning’s performances in the eight one-and-done games? Would you characterize any of them as great? As you have suggested, one could categorize some of them as average-to-above-average, based upon statistics, but none of them were great performances. Consider that Manning threw for only one TD in four of those eights games and ZERO TDs in two of them. In other words, he only threw for multiple TDs in two of the eight. To make matters worse, FIVE of the eight were home games for Manning.

        Also, are you saying that Manning isn’t at all responsible for the 20-3 playoff loss to New England? I thought Manning played the QB position better in 2004 than I had ever seen, even better than Brady in 2007, until I saw Rodgers in 2011 (I view the Manning & Rodgers seasons as equals). So when I saw that Manning would be facing a Patriots team that had Troy Brown playing nickel corner, I remember thinking that there was no way Manning would lose. And then…20-3. No TDs, one pick, and a rating of 69. It wasn’t in the best conditions, but Manning just didn’t get the job done that day.

  9. I never said they were great, nor do they have to be. The point is does that look anything like the numbers of a QB who went 0-8? Could you ever apply those numbers to any QB in an eight-game sample and come away with an 0-8 record? That should tell you some really bizarre stuff had to happen to produce such a record. An extreme outlier.

    Again, I don’t want to focus on the 20-3 game, but it’s simple. Both QBs dinked and dunked in the weather, but Brady’s receivers didn’t drop six passes, his skill guys didn’t fumble twice, his OL protected better, and his running game greatly outgained Manning’s (running game easily outgained Brady too).

    Not to mention Dungy was outcoached. QB play didn’t decide that game, and most definitely an interception thrown in the final seconds with a 20-3 deficit didn’t lose the game. I guess Manning should have pulled a Rodgers and threw a garbage-time TD like Rodgers did Saturday night to impress more people with 10 points and the better stats, but it didn’t matter at that point.

  10. And I must laugh at your comment regarding the pick-6 in the Super Bowl “not being a bad play.” Why? Because the play was a “bread and butter play” for the Colts, therefore Peyton can make the pass, without making any read? Really? It was not a fluke play. It was a clean pick-6 that ended the game. The result speaks for itself. You’re not going to convince any knowledgeable fan that Peyton make a good play there.

    1. I said it wasn’t a bad decision, because it wasn’t. Saturday, that was a bad decision (and throw).

      Porter jumped the route, which wasn’t so hard to do when Wayne ran it so choppy. Just watch his feet. They run that play a lot.

  11. Again, I’m interested in seeing how you rank the eight one-and-done performances. If it is so clear that people are wrong to criticize the performances, surely you can easily rank them, and tell us when Manning actually played a good game.

    1. I’ll rank them in order of his performance relative to how much he did to give his team a chance to win that game, which isn’t easy. You have to weigh stats with quality of opponent and win probability.

      1. 12 Ravens
      2. 00 Dolphins
      3. 10 Jets
      4. 07 Chargers
      5. 08 Chargers
      6. 05 Steelers
      7. 99 Titans
      8. 02 Jets

      Have to go with the latest game first, just becaue it was the most absurd blown lead of any playoff game. That thing was in the bank, 88-yard GW TD drive, a pick 6 that wasn’t his fault, and just a fumble.

      I see a gap between the first 5 and last 3 games. The Steelers game was obviously a factor of rust and not playing well or extended time in a month. The Titans game, he just never put them ahead in nearly the last 30 minutes (though hard to do given what happened).

      The only game I would say out of the 8 that was a bad game was the 2002 Jets game, but that comes with the caveat that the entire Colts team just sucked that day.

      There’s that game, then there’s the 4 INT game in the 2003 AFC-C, where he sucked. I have always said those are his two worst playoff games, and the only two I would say he played poorly in all around.

      1. To me, it’s pretty simple. In the majority of his playoff losses, Peyton did not perform to the same standard he had in the regular season. That doesn’t mean that his performance was the reason for the loss – especially since it’s a team game. However, if the media narrative is “Peyton makes his whole team better” (4 MVPs, and strong consideration for a 5th this year) – then it makes it much easier to pin the loss on him when he doesn’t perform up to the expected standard – even if his performance is good enough for his team to win.

  12. Yes the Manning haters are always oblivious to anything other than the final score. No QB ever is held to the standard Manning is. Yesterday, despite 3 horrific calls early that all went against the Broncos, two TD’s over the top of an all pro DB, a botched 52 yard field goal, a fumble that wasn’t ( see Tom Brady for an explination) and little or no running game, Manning stood on the sidelines with 34 seconds left. His team led by 7. The Ravens were on their own 30 and had no time outs. Yep. Sure sounds like ole 18 dogged it again. What happened to Manning yesterday and the last playoff game against the Jets has NEVER happened to Tom Brady in the playoffs. Never has Brady given his team the lead with less than a minute to go and lost. It has happened to Manning two times in the last two playoff games. Never has Brady had a field goal kicker miss a game winning field goal in the playoffs. Has happened to Manning twice. Change three plays in Tom Brady’s carear, three field goals by Adam Venaturi, three plays where Brady was not even on the field, and Brady is Fran Tarkenton or Jim Kelly. He is the guy who can’t win the big one. It is a team sport. A great player like Manning or Brady can cover a lot of mistakes. But when all star refs blow multiple calls, all star DB’s blow multiple routes, and db’s let guys get behind them with 30 seconds left on the clock, that makes YOUR margin of error pretty thin.

  13. Ahem

    ” Never has Brady given his team the lead with less than a minute to go and lost. Never has Brady given his team the lead with less than a minute to go and lost.”

    Ummm well he was leading both his SuperBowls he lost until the final minute or soo….I guess we should just absolve Brady for these losses too…

    1. Who ever blamed him? The narrative in both games was the defense didn’t hold up long enough. Brady has arguably engineered the greatest collapses in the Super Bowl era. He led by 18 in the 2006 AFC championship game and lost. He threw a pic to end the game. No one ever said he lost the game or blamed him for the defeat. In the 2007 Super Bowl, he led an undefeated team, one everyone was ready to crown the greatest of all time, against a team he had scored 38 points against just 5 weeks earlier, and laid an egg the whole game and scored 14 points. Nobody ever says Brady chocked, or Brady lost the game. Brady benefited from the greatest coach of his era, some dominant defenses, and the greatest clutch kicker of all time. And quite frankly, since he has become the focal point of the team, they never have gotten back to that level of success. Brady is an all time great, probably in the top five, so is Manning. The point of the entire article was that Manning is criticized at a much higher level.

      1. And just a bit more food for thought. In his first 10 playoff games , all wins, Tom Brady benefited from 1 safety, 1 special team TD, 3 defensive TD’s , and an astounding 27 turnovers. Those are numbers from 10 games!!!! From that point forward Brady has gone 7-6. He has gotten 1 special team score, 2 defensive scores, and 17 turnovers in 13 games. Manning’s numbers mirror Brady. In 20 games Manning is 9-11. He has gotten 1 defensive score, 2 special team scores (Saturday) and 32 turnovers. What does it all mean? When NE was a dominant defensive team, with the best kicker in history, and a young QB who played great situational football, they were almost impossible to beat. When the NE defense began to decline and Brady was forced to carry more of the load, like Manning most of his years with Indy, his numbers and results mirror those of Manning, yet no one ever considers Brady a chocker, nor is it ever written.

  14. It would take me a major blog article myself to answer the “why’s” but but the nature of a QB ‘s traits does have something to do with how many balls are dropped at critical points compared to the number of balls receivers might drop at other times.

    Morale. a QB is the Field Commander – It’s not a debate over the centuries that soldiers fight better with good morale. When push comes to shove, when all is on the line great leader is one that inspires his troops. In football that can be the QB keeping his receivers loose. That doesn’t let a receiver off the hook but it does paint to the difference between legendary QB s and QB s that win by being accurate and following a game plan. The second might create better stats week to week but that special sauce of leadership is vital when the opponents have found a way to thwart your normal plays especially.

    Staying lose also has to do with the “touch” a QB puts on a ball … is he throwing an easier to catch pass or a harder to catch pass … either way, does a difference surprise a receiver in an un-telegraphed way?

    Special relationships and uncanny bonds between receiver and QB also define that higher higher level of execution under duress that distinguishes the legend from the statistically top QB.

    It also defines why playing with “what if” plays or key penalties are reversed. There is such thing as beeing “in the zone”… its the opposite of playing worse under stress. No one questions the notion that one’s abilities can deteriorate when stressed but many find the opposite engaging in mysticism. Its something like the super-human strength mother’s sometimes pull something far too heavy off their child. You can’t prove it perhaps but I gotta believe that where there is smoke there is fire. How often do you hear a player answer the question , “how did you guys pull it off?” with “We huddled up and looked at Joe and what he said made us know we can do it” ?

    Football is an emotional sport, a safe(r) abstraction of the units of war that has existed throughout humanity. The QB is the leader, and the leader inspires. In times of crisis, the leader shows a way through a helpless situation … mysticism ? Anecdotes of war make it a re-occurring theme. It may even rub off in an opposite way on the competition when they see a lose confidence they might be slightly shaken without a counter-party rallying them together on their side.

    A QB that can’t elevate his team to a level beyond their normal level of play at the moments of crisis just isn’t legendary. He can have better stats – just like the opposing army with better armaments. That “zone” can’t be called on at will or maintained…. its something that only comes at a time of crisis and can’t exist beyond the “just enough to get it done” stage like the flashes of clarity or strength in certain instances that allow the saving of a life.

    If you don’t believe in all that, go back to your stats and feel comfortable that a guy that had good enough teams to get to the brink of victory couldn’t finish things off is better than those that could when they had a chance because his numbers were better and he was more consistent day to day.

    1. Yeah, don’t forget about the players who just “wanted it more” or had “it.” I understand what you’re getting at, but I don’t agree to the level of impact. If you’re trying to sell that a perfectly chosen word by a QB to his team, or some sparkle in his eye as he scans the huddle has the power to prevent a WR from dropping a pass he has caught 200 times, then I simply can’t buy it.

      If we’re talking uncanny, special relationships between a QB and his WR allowing for supreme levels of execution you can’t get much better than 18 and 88. They’d change plays as Harrison motioned by or simply with a head nod. Harrison and Manning made many spectacular plays in dire situations. Suddenly it’s the postseason and Harrison is dropping key passes, fumbling, or diving a yard short of a first down. Was his QB not in the “zone” or exuding a legendary sense of “we will get this done”?

      Perhaps I’m just not ready to pick up what you’re putting down.

      1. Thanks for the courtesy of saying you get some parts instead of grabbing at one red herring and dismissing it all . Truly, too many people on the web take that wrong approach and its nice to see that you don’t.

        This is your blog so i’m not going to go too much further but here are a couple additional thoughts I had:

        – I also don’t personally like that “wanting it more” cliche applied to the pro level. I think it is a very true statement at the youth sports level but I trust that at the pro level we’ve weeded down to only competitors who always want it plenty on both sides of the ball
        – This “special sauce” type thing of some people having extraordinary abilities to ease people through barriers at critical points of stress isn’t some magic confined to sports. Certain business salesmen have that “closer” ability that tips a decision point… forget scam types.. many-times a deal makes sense but a special ability with people eases them into making that big leap of commitment into a large contract that even if it makes sense.
        – there are points of tension off playing fields we all experience – two people with history in a small room where some third parties can walk in and cut the tension with their personalities and others don’t.
        – I don’t think anyone who has played sports can argue that there isn’t a different sort of tension on the field in final minutes of critical games. That is human nature and no it isn’t about wanting it more. You can see that tension in overtime in your kids playoff games and you can see it in the eyes of pro athletes – that level of intensity can’t be maintained at the same level every play – although you occasionally hear athletes remark on the uniqueness some of players that seem to sustain it longer and more frequently. That might be a detriment at QB and be useful as a DB.. i’m not sure. My point is that a sudden increase in intensity across the board effects many reactions and maybe even leads to predictable types of mistakes in terms of overacting that a canny QB can exploit.

        -Some people panic if they fall off a boat and drown quickly while others can keep these senses to wait out the big waves and get the most out of the energies they have efficiently. If there are two people in the water and one panicked some can calm the other person and some can’t. This calming thing isn’t black or white either. Some might be degrees more calm and have degrees more influence.

        – It struck me that a no-huddle offense gives a QB less chance to calm or observe and make allowance for nerves running high with his team-mates

        – Joe Montana, legend both for his excellent abilities and response in the clutch (i’ll never argue that the second isn’t possible consistently without the first) was called joe cool – many ex teammates remarked on quirky ways he’d calm a huddle . Yes, whether you buyt it or not, I think this sort of thing does influence how many balls receivers drop under the stress of the pivotal final minutes:

        I’ll stop with a quote about Joe Montana .. the quintessential combination of superior skill as well as the special sauce. Excerpt from an biography of Joe:

        “There’s an old cartoon that shows everybody panicking, except for one guy, who is unruffled as he does his assigned task. In real life, that person is Joe Montana.

        Joe Montana was MVP in three of his four Super Bowls, and led his team on The Drive in the other.

        He possessed an almost mystical calmness in the midst of chaos, especially with the game on the line in the fourth quarter. While others saw turmoil and danger after the snap, Montana saw order and opportunity. He was Joe Cool, the unflappable king of the comeback.

        Take the 1989 Super Bowl against the Cincinnati Bengals. The San Francisco 49ers were down by three points with 3:20 left when Montana spotted — no, not an open receiver — but a personality. “There, in the stands, standing near the exit ramp,” Montana said to tackle Harris Barton. “Isn’t that John Candy?” And then he led the 49ers 92 yards, throwing for the winning touchdown with 34 seconds left.”

    2. Yeah I have to call BS on this stuff. Plays are either made or they’re not.

      For all the people that hype up Joe Montana, don’t forget he threw a pass right at Lewis Billups on the second play of the 4th quarter in the Super Bowl. Billups dropped it, Montana got lucky, and threw the game-tying TD to Rice on the next play.

      Did Billups drop it because he couldn’t “live up to the moment,” or did he simply just fail to make the play?

  15. Thought provoking. But how would you explain the same players leadership early in a career , driving his team to succes beyond their cumulative abilities, and that same player with legendary status later in his career being not much better than mediocre? When in fact his skills may have improved?

    1. Wilbur – i couldn’t explain how any skill set doesn’t persist year to year. Drew Bree’s spectacular Super bowl year stood out from his others. It wasn’t just the super-bowl . Drew’s release and touch passes that year were really on par with the best I’ve ever watched in the last 35 years of watching (i’m 48). For whatever reason Drew just doesn’t seem nearly so special since then. Even if I take the stats and wins out of it, when I watch the saints play I’ll see him throw a few good balls but miss too many other sideline passes that would have been touch his great year.

      Why did his skill talent go down ? I don’t have a clue. For the same reason (unknown) that skills can seem to vary , leadership would logically also vary – and that would also be something to hold against them. Maybe a single year outstanding leadership ability came down to a particular chemistry of that group on that team and wasn’t such a broad trait – maybe he himself lost an edge of interest in the game, or maybe he was having a distracting home-life or zillions of possible reasons for the change)

      By convention fans want to see career success One great year isn’t enough. The reason sort of speaks to your point. Many QB s or other players can have one stellar year but few can put in multiple years of legendary stature. Just to say it again here, I won’t knock Peyton too much. Getting his teams to the playoffs so consistently is worth something for sure even if he didn’t win nearly enough of those first rounds to think of him as rising to the occasion of the biggest games by nature. He certainly won a Superbowl which takes more than just athletic precision. I wouldn’t remotely argue that he doesn’t belong in the hall of fame. I would rank him below Elway and a number of other greats and only take issue with people calling him one of the very best two or three QBs to play the game. He is missing the ability to excel in a special way in a pinch that I think is a vital component to calling someone a legend. I do thing to earn the title of the very best it takes that extra stuff “of legend” but I suppose that is an opinion in itself.

    2. Not at all, because Joe Montatna took the Chiefs to the AFC Championship game and lost his final first round playoff game. The difference is no one has to explain WHY? Have you noticed that Brady has won three championships and been in 5 Superbowls, Montana won 4 championships and had it not been for Leonard Marshall in 1990 would probably have 2 or three more. Is it not evident that the reason Peyton has a playoff stigma is because we have to explain in long drawn out blogs why 66% of the time he had the opportunity to win one game but not the action to do what the “greats” do more often than not which is win their first playoff game. The greats on average lose about 30% of their first playoff games. Marino 30% Montana 36% Brady 20% Tarkenton 40%.Jim Kelly 25% Elway 33% Manning 66%, Its just very unusual. With that caliber quarterback you expect that most of the time the team will advance to the second GAME at least. Manning is not hated, but why do we have to explain. Because it keeps happening. At Age 37 Joe Montana had 2 game winning playoff drives in the same 1993 season. Brady has 6 in his career. Manning has one in his entire career 2006 12 playoff appearances and it was the year they won the Superbowl. No Surprise there. They used to call my organization the All Weather Attack variant and it appears that Peyton is the Fair Weather Attack variant. Even if it is not true it is what the numbers keep telling us, sometimes the numbers lie but no one really cares that you could not get the game one when other quarterbacks get it won The only argument is, no argument. Blame the refs the offensive line, the receivers and everybody else. Sounds more like a supermodel than a football fan.

      Thats why we have to explain. Peyton Aint no Joe Montana and He aint no Tom Brady and he does not have to be because he is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and THE greatest regular season quaterback of all time. He is not a better playoff quarterback than either of the aforementioned. Had he won 2 or 3 superbowls by now there would be no stigma, no blog necessary. The stigma is that if I had one game to win in the playoffs that 60 to 70% of the time peyton manning would be the losing quarterback And that really does not make any since to me as a football fan, but it is the flat out truth. Also Peyton Manning did not win his Superbowl early on causing people to compare him to Marino instead of Montana, thats the whole basis for the stigma. Every loss just fuels the crazy fire. Thats the explanation for the stigma. It has nothing to do with an interception here or there. And I remind you on that game winning Bengals drive there was a hold call that put the 49ers at 2nd and 20. No one cares because Montana went for more than 20 and all was well. No other great of all time has such a staggering number of one and outs. And please No Aaron Rodgers yet, get back to me when the guy gets a 1000 yards past Trent Dilfer on the all time list, we are talking all time here. The problem is not that peyton is not great, the problem is if I had one game to win as a fan I would choose a winner, such as Montana or Brady or Elway or Aikman. The percentages say to do anything else would be uncivilized.

      If I had to choose a fantasy player with really good stats for the regular season it would be Peyton Manning. It does not take away from Peyton Manning to highlight the success of other individuals. But how dare you down the success of other individuals in order to try and fit Peyton Manning higher on the greatest of all time list. I dont think Peyton Manning would do that. He would probably just say it is unusual but some times the cookie crumbles the way it does and let the numbers be the numbers and the stigma be the stigma much as Dan Marino did as he put on his hall of fame jacket with respect and pride, which is much more than I can say for this post. At this point for 19 million the broncos could have gotten to the same place for the 1.5 million they would have paid Tebow considering the AFC west is a debacle and they could have won 10 games even if they only showed up for 8.

      1. But you have to ask why those other QBs didn’t go one-and-done as often. Was it because they played better? I’d like to see evidence of that, because I sure don’t see it based on what I’ve looked at.

        Let’s stick with Joe Montana, because he is the playoff gold standard.

        Montana went one-and-done three years in a row (1985-87), and he led his offense to 9 points in those games. Not even close to winning any of them.

        And this comes after two seasons (1983-84) in which he flirted with two more one-and-dones.

        In 1983, despite 5 INT from Gary Danielson, the Lions had the lead. Montana threw a go-ahead TD, but it only produced a 24-23 lead. Detroit drove for the FG, but Eddie Murray missed the 43-yard kick with 0:05 left. Right there is a one-and-done at home for Montana if a kicker just makes a 43-yard FG. Hell, Tucker just made a 47-yard FG against Manning in bad weather last week.

        A year later, Montana had a good game outside of throwing 3 INT, including one for a TD and one in the red zone. QBs throwing 3 INT usually lose in the playoffs, but the 49ers defense only gave up 3 points total on the day, so Montana moves on with a 21-10 win and wins his 2nd Super Bowl. Note a tipped INT by Simms also set Montana up for a 12-yard TD drive, so it was just a matter of his defense making a lot more impactful plays on the day.

        It’s a stretch to say he should have lost the 84 NYG game, but clearly it is a game where his teammates had his back in a big way. The year before, a 43-yard FG is the difference between a win and a loss.

        At the very least we’re realistically talking about 4/5 one-and-done’s.

        Montana played outstanding in 1988-90, but keep in mind the 49ers allowed 32 points combined in the opening games those years. The Broncos allowed 38 last week, and even if you say 31 taking out the pick 6 (which clearly shouldn’t have counted), that’s still about as many points in one game as Montana had to overcome in three.

        Teams often move on in the playoffs because the defense steps up early, and if you’re talking about being home, then it’s usually a lesser opponent. I think Manning’s played better teams first than the average QB. 1999 Titans and 2005 Steelers are among the best Wild Card teams ever.

      2. And you’re right that Manning only has 1 GWD in the playoffs (06 AFC-C), which means he has the most in the regular season (48).

        But why is that?

        Because he’s the only QB to ever have two “lost comebacks” (and GWDs) in playoff history. These are games where he came back to take the lead, but still lost. That would be 07 SD and 10 NYJ. There were two possible GWDs.

        The missed FG in OT in Miami. That’s a GWD missed out on becasue a kicker choked on a FG he made in the previous quarter, or one that we’ve seen countless kickers make for their QB. That’s four possible GWDs for Manning.

        Five years later Vanderjagt missed the game-tying FG vs. Steelers, which would have forced OT. Maybe Manning wins it there considering Roethlisberger had 25 yards passing in the 2nd half. We’ll never know.

        Against SD they lost the lead so late, he had just 0:24 left to work with at his own 19. This is his failed GWD, as he would never get the ball in OT. 30 playoff games have gone to OT, and just six only saw one team touch the ball.

        Last week he leads an 88-yard go ahead TD drive that was no different from the GWDs he’s led for Denver in the regular season. The difference is the defense closed those games, picking off Roethlisberger, Rivers and Dalton. When given the chance to pick off Flacco to end the game, Rahim Moore happened. That was only the 4th time ever a QB threw a TD pass in the 4th quarter with the game tied and still lost.That’s a definite 5th GWD lost for Manning in the playoffs.

        Notice he made the plays for several more GWDs, but other factors on the team prevented these games from ending with a GWD for Manning.

        And again, no other QB has this many examples of such things happening to him in the playoffs.

      3. Well said and documented. Brady’s legend is built on those first three years. As I documented earlier, the best coach of his era, dominant defenses, the greatest clutch kicker in history, and most of all 27 turnovers in those first 10 games. I don’t think anyone doubts Tom Brady of 05 through today is a much better QB than he was in 01-04. Yet he is 8-7 since that 10 game winning streak with no Super Bowls. Teams win championships. A great QB like Manning or Brady can cover a lot of weaknesses, but it takes 53 guys all on the same page all playing at or near their best in the playoffs. Not absolving Manning of his share of the blame in any of those losses, but when you are on the sidelines and have given your team the lead, and taken the clock down to less than a minute, hard to accept that the QB hasn’t done his job.

  16. Scott, I appreciate your work and looking to find all the answers when it comes down to breaking down Peyton’s postseason record and all the circumstances that have come with it, but I’ve got a few points of my own.

    While Peyton has had more “circumstances” go against him that most great quarterbacks at playoff time, don’t ever forget this important point: No matter how bad it gets, there’s always a window in every game to change the momentum and give yourself a chance or in some cases when you’ve got the lead, to put the game away yourself. Problem is, he/his teams usually comes up small and for an all-time great I have a problem with that (feel the same way about Brett Favre too), cases in point.

    2000 vs Dolphins: Up 14-10 with 5:06 to go on Miami’s 32, facing a 3rd and 6, Peyton throws an incompletion for Marvin Harrison, Vanderjagt kicks a 50 yard field goal to extend the lead to 17-10, problem is that was Peyton’s window. You get a 1st down there and eventually a touchdown, you don’t have to worry about a leaky defense to seal the game or a kicker having to make a 49 yard field goal in OT for the win.

    2002 vs Jets: You say “This is the easiest way to sum this game up. Trailing 7-0 in the first quarter, Manning converted a few third downs and set up Vanderjagt for a 41-yard field goal. The next time Manning took the field, it was 17-0 Jets with 9:36 left in the second quarter” .

    I say, here was Peyton’s window of opportunity: The Colts went 3 and out on the next possession (Peyton 0-2) , the Colts defense holds the Jets and forces a punt, the Colts go 3 and out again the next possession (Peyton 1-1, a 5 yd completion to James on 1st down, back to back runs on 2nd/3rd down), then the Jets scored a TD with 45 seconds left in half to go up 24-0. Game over.

    Of course, the biggest moment of his career came in the 2006 AFC title game against New England after throwing the pick 6 to Asante Samuel to give the Pats a 21-3 lead with 9:34 left in the 2nd quarter. As was the case four years earlier against the Jets, same situation (down big, chance to stay in the game), although at home. Once again Peyton had his window and unlike 2000 against the Dolphins, 2002 against the Jets, 2003 against the Pats (remember, down 7 in the 4th they had the ball), where he had a window to either ice a game, keep a game competitive or tie a game and failed, he did no such thing against the Pats in that game………that’s what everybody is looking for from him and expects out him, yet outside of that moment and then AFC title game against the Jets in 2009 when the Colts trailed 17-3, it’s few and far between.

    1. Damon, I think you’ll find it rare for a team to get a TD in that situation the Colts had in Miami. Remember, the defense is out there to win too, and the trailing team knows they absolutely cannot allow a TD in such situations.

      Manning went deep to Harrison and it was just out of reach near the end zone. Still, a 7-point lead at that point against a Jay Fiedler offense is supposed to be safe, but the defense blew it. Still, they had the drive in OT to win the game, but Vanderjagt blew the kick.

      While you focus on that 3rd down, I looked at two earlier 3rd downs where the QB made the throw, but the receiver dropped them, losing out on 4 points, and perhaps another score in the 3rd quarter. It’s easier to make a play when the throw is there in the hands versus a play where it wasn’t (3rd and 6).

      2002 Jets – there was never a window of opportunity after Vanderjagt missed that FG. The Colts couldn’t do anything in that game, and I don’t see how Edge getting stuffed on 3rd and 1 is the QB’s fault.

      Actually against the 06 Patriots, after the pick 6, he had a 3rd and 23, threw a great pass under pressure, and Marvin Harrison watched it bounce off his hands. It would be the next drive, on a 3rd-and-10 to Wayne, that the comeback started.

      I think you’re being very unrealistic about these windows, when other QBs get away with wins despite not doing those things. How did Brady close in the AFC-C last year after taking the lead? He threw a pick, then threw incomplete on 3rd down. Flacco had his chances, but we know what Evans/Cundiff did at the end.

  17. THANK YOU for this!!! I can’t stand folks that seem to constantly throw out a QB’s individual win/loss record in general. To these folks, I guess special teams and the defense just don’t exist in football. I guess it’s a one man QB show. Your analysis belongs on ESPN!

  18. Yeah these things might have happened to him, and it sucks BUT those games weren’t high scroing enough to put the blame on the defense or other things. Colts were always loaded on offense, certainly much more than the pats have been every year. Peyton has NEVER thrown to as mediocre guys as what Brady has had and has right now lol.

    1. You can’t just point at the score and say that’s that. You have to look at it in context. The average NFL game has 12 possessions for each team to score points. What often has happened in the past is that the other team beats up the Colts’ D with long drives that bleed clock, leading to fewer possessions to score points, making the O look worse than it is and the D look better than it is. The Saints Super Bowl is a perfect example of that. The Colts scored 18 points with 8 possessions (one of which Caldwell threw away at the end of the half with 3 consecutive runs, giving it back to the Saints for another field goal). Sure, the Colts only scored 17, but if they had a normal amount of possessions they were on pace to score 26 on a playoff D, not phenomenal but in the Super Bowl against a good defense not something to point to as a major failing
      . Peyton also has the worst starting field position of any QB in playoff history because his defense and special teams almost never force turnovers to start him out at the other team’s 40 (which obviously makes it easier to score points and which Brady, among others, enjoys much more frequently). There are moments and performances Manning for which Peyton can be blamed to be sure, but overall his performances have been much better than what he’s generally given credit for.

  19. The thing is Peyton’s defense has them in position to win playoff games. They have allowed 21 points or less in regulation of 12 of his 19 playoff games. Peyton lost 6 of those 12 games. No other QB has more than 3. Manning’s winning % in those 11 games is .500; No other QB who has started more than 10 playoff games has a winning % below .600 when their D allows 21 or less in regulation. Most are well above .800.

    For reference:
    Marino 7-1
    Elway 10-1
    Brady 12-2
    Montana 12-2
    Young 4-1
    Favre 11-1
    Bart Starr 8-1
    John Unitas 6-2
    Terry Bradshaw 13-2
    Bob Griese 6-2
    Roger Staubach 11-3
    Fran Tarkenton 6-2
    Jim Kelly 6-2
    Troy Aikman 10-1
    Kerry Collins 3-1
    Len Dawson 5-1
    Jim Plunkett 7-2
    Phil Simms 6-3
    Donavan McNabb 9-2

    1. Your numbers are incorrect and all over the place. Manning has 24 playoff games, not 19.

      He’s 8-4 when his team allows 21 or less in regulation (which is kind of silly to look at, why not include OT?). Not 6-6.

      There’s also a huge difference between allowing single-digit points and 17-21 points.

  20. Below is what I wrote a few weeks ago on forum Couple good links related. I must admit Brady played pretty well yesterday although i don’t know why noone can stop the Pats short passing game or noone else can run it so effectively. I still believe Manning has been unfortunate and Brady has been fortunate and they have both been good. The difference is not much different.
    There are obviously many ways to look at this and argue. I would say that Brady likely has come through a bit more than Manning. However, analysis of data do not indicate that Brady has been greatly better than Manning. They do however indicate that more often Brady likely had a better overall team.

    Nate Silver (the guy who has predicted elections correctly lately) analyzed expected wins vs. actual wins in postseason and concluded that Patriots with Brady have slightly overachieved while Manning teams have underachieved in relation to expected wins. Before this last weekend Brady was 18-8 vs. expected 16.8-9.2 wins. Manning is 11-13 with expected 13.2-10.8. See http://fivethirtyeig…is-eli-manning/

    I would argue Brady has been a bit fortunate whereas Manning has been a bit unfortunate. Brady’s fortune includes having Belichick and vinateiri, the tuck rule game where they would have likely lost, the 2006 playoff game against Chargers where Brady threw interception down two scores in 4th quarter only for the Chargers guy have it stripped and go back to Patriots. More recently, Manning (88 yard td drive in 2012 playoffs) and Brady (this year) both led 4th quarter touchdown drives against Baltimore. Difference is Manning’s Bronco teammates gave up a 70 yard hail mary to Flacco while Patriots intercepted Flacco as they were driving for potential game winning tie. A bit of unfortunate for Manning included Vanderjagt missing two game winning or tying field goals in playoffs, Jim Caldwell calling Jets timeout in 2010 after Manning led a drive to take lead in game with about a minute left, worst starting field position avg. of any quarterback in history including 2009 super bowl (http://www.footballo…son-drive-stats – quote: ‘no one can take the crown for notoriously bad field position in the playoffs from Peyton Manning’)

    My argument is simply that the difference between Manning and Brady in playoffs is not as stark as people like to claim. It is a complex subject in which those who take the time to examine the data (and have the expertise – not me but people like those at 538 or Bill Barnwell at Grantland) come to a different conclusion than conventional wisdom would indicate.

  21. If you’re not reading Kerry Byrne on this topic you really should be. His analysis is cogent, easy to understand, & powerful:

    The difference btw Brady & Manning in the regular season is razor thin: they are basically on equal footing, statistically. In the playoffs, the difference is quite a bit greater, & in favor of Brady.

    I’m sure most people chiming in on this debate have long ago picked a winner in this one, so I know nothing is going to change anybody’s mind, but I thought some might find the article enlightening.

    Make of it what you will.

  22. Chris, that is a fairly biased presentation with mix of Brady getting all credit for team while manning gets a lot of blame individually. this guy has been arguing it for awhile – He, I believe, is a New England guy also –

    Although he at least supported his guy whereas Bob Kravitz – Indy Star guy even back in 2009 time was saying Brady was better than Manning.

    Heres a little less biased piece basically concluded both great

    1. You can call it biased if you like, John, that’s fine. I call it relevant.

      I have been following Mr. Byrne on cold hard football facts since he founded the site (it was only later he got the SI gig). He is a NE guy…from Quincy, MA (I am not a NE guy, just for the record). But…let it be said…he & his trolls at the CHFF are loyal ONLY to the data. They are not homers. When Brady or Belichick or the Pats stink (& they do from time to time), they will let you know it.

      E.g. when the Colts mounted that huge 2d half rally against the Pats in the AFC Championship game, I forget the year, 2006 maybe? Whenever it was, they had predicted a Patriots win & another Manning playoff implosion & lo & behold Manning & the Colts were awesome in the second half & beat the Pats clean. And the article that followed was titled “Crow-six-ways from Peking Garden”:

      That article sound like homerism to you? I sure don’t think so.

      A guy can think Brady the better QB & not be from NE; I’m not, as I said. But that aside, I agree w/Barnwell that both are great. Both will be in the Hall of Fame as soon as they are eligible. I just think Brady has helped his team be more successful overall (& that the statistical margin btw them outside the playoffs is way smaller than is popularly perceived), while Manning has had an annoying habit over his career (starting in college) of saving his worst games for his biggest moments.

      That’s all I was getting at.

      1. I still think when the guy has headings in his stories like ‘The Cold, Hard Reality: Peyton Manning shits the bed every year in the playoffs’ he might not always be coming from a completely objective viewpoint and has seriously investigated all of the ‘facts’. That article and that heading was written 9 months after Manning threw for 400 yards with a QBR of 88.8 and Rating of 118.8 vs. Patriots in Afc Champion game.

        Your view of Brady in the regular season is much what I argue (perception vs. reality) about Manning in the postseason which was my original post above. The difference in the playoffs between Brady and Manning is not nearly as stark as the common perception indicates. I think Mr. Byrne should truly analyze the playoff games that Manning (and Brady) have played and see if a truly objective view might come to a different conclusion than the disparaging Manning statement quoted above. That is what Barnwell and Silver did.

        In my opinion, Brady is a bit more of a cold-blooded killer than Manning but generally the difference has been better coaching and organization, a bit of luck in opposite directions (good for Brady and bad for Manning) leaving not much difference between the two. Career playoff Rating is 89.0 for Brady and 88.5 for manning.

        And although I am in the minority, I would argue that difference is too small overall to say Brady is better than Manning. Hard for me at this point to argue Manning is better than Brady given playoff record and this Super Bowl – although I guarantee if that were Manning’s team that guy wouldn’t have intercepted that pass:)!

  23. Mr. Byrne uses colorful titles for many of his articles, not just the ones about Peyton Manning. It’s one of the things that makes his website so much fun to read. I notice you stepped over my example of him personally eating crow when Manning spanked Brady & the Pats. He’s hardly a homer & he rated Peyton the 9th best QB of all time:


      Not too shabby. Brady’s also not #1, although the article was written in 2008.

      About the Eli article, I happen to be a fan of his & think that for whatever reason he was playing WAAAAY better in those postseason runs than he was during the season. And I saw every single Giants game, playoffs included, so you can take my word w/some degree of authority on that. But otherwise it tells us that Peyton is quite a bit better than a replacement-level QB, which nobody doubts. I also strongly disagree that Brady has been surrounded by more talent than Peyton. Brady has made his reputation throwing to largely forgettable receivers & handing off to largely forgettable running backs. Peyton literally had an organization scheduling its whole draft structure around maximizing his offensive talents for over a decade.

      But thank you for posting it, it was a good article.

      And the name of the article you cite is incorrect:

      That’s the one where Byrne claims Peyton shits the bed in the playoffs, & it’s only part of the presentation for his case. The article may have been written 9 months after all that but it was about 2 days before the Patriots beat the Broncos in a regular season matchup & then edited to include stuff about the game after the Patriots prevailed 43-21. Brady completed 62% of his passes for 333 yards & 4 TDs for a 97.5 passer rating. He wasn’t writing about a game that happened almost a year prior.

      When you say Byrne should “truly analyze” Brady & Manning’s playoff games to find a “truly objective view,” I take that to mean “his conclusions should agree w/mine,” which they obviously don’t. You haven’t pointed to anything specific about how Mr. Byrne’s article is biased in any way, other than him using some vulgar terminology to describe many of Peyton’s playoff performances. Barnwell & Silver came to different conclusions, but that does not mean that they are more “objective.” It just means it accords more w/what you believe is happening w/the perception btw Peyton & Brady. I just feel that Byrne’s analysis accords more w/what my eyeballs tell me is happening when the respective QBs play, that’s all.

      Brady does have a better organization, but a good part of the reason why it is better is b/c of Tom Brady. Say whatever you will about Cassel, that is a statistical outlier. If he did it for a decade or more, then we’d have something to talk about. Coaching? Sure, Belichick is the man. However, what people tend to forget is that BIll didn’t win a single playoff game as head coach until he had Tom Brady taking snaps for him. It’s perhaps a chicken & egg scenario, but the notion that somehow Belichick would have been as successful as he has been w/out Tom Brady playing as well as he has is simply ludicrous to me. In the NFL, your team’s fortunes, for better or worse, are linked to your QBs performance. Brady’s teams have done consistently (extremely) well. There is a connection there. It’s no coincidence.

      Peyton’s teams have also done consistently well. It just so happens, for whatever reason, that Peyton happens to have his worst games in his team’s biggest moments (a more polite, if less colorful, way of phrasing what Mr. Byrne wrote about certain football players defecating into linens). That’s just my opinion.

      It’s OK to be in the minority, that’s what makes a good debate. I have taken many minority opinions, that’s fine (& fun!). They are both great, as I said. No doubt about it. Peyton is a passing machine.

      “I guarantee if that were Manning’s team that guy wouldn’t have intercepted that pass:)!”

      Agreed! Helluva play, & all the earmarks of Patriots dominance: preparation, doing your job, & teamwork (Brandon Browner really made that play possible w/his ridiculous pin of whatever hapless Seattle WR right on the line of scrimmage so that Malcolm Butler could swoop in & make the pick).

      1. I insert a correction: Belichick was 1-1 in the playoffs as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, the win coming in the 1994 Wild Card round against the Patriots, ironically enough. I strive for accuracy, & that was my mistake.

  24. So, your first statistic is completely wrong. How do you expect people to take you seriously when you can’t even do simple math such as percentages? Completing 176/362 is a 48.6% completion percentage. To be at the 58.3% completion that you claim (prior to over 30 dropped passes) he would have had to complete at least 211 passes. Even with 30 drops entered as complete every time (which wouldn’t happen, receivers sometimes drop the ball even the best, it happens) he would have had 206 completions based on the stats you put out(which is still only a 56.9% completion percentage) This leads me to believe you’re either lazy or just plain stupid, which really makes me take your article and your website seriously. …

    1. Congratulations, it took nearly three years but you’re the only person to spot out a typo, and nothing more. I had 176/362 (58.3%) when it should have read 176/302 (58.3%). I typed one digit wrong, though I clearly had the data right or else I wouldn’t have had the percentage right.

      So sure, let’s pretend a one-number typo invalidates everything here.

  25. When Manning retires at the end of this year he will be able to say he went to three Super Bowls, winning one, has the most wins for a QB, the most yardage, and the most touchdowns. He will also be able to say he changed the game. When Manning came into the league no one was going to the line of scrimmage and calling plays based off of the defense the other team was in. Most teams called a play in the huddle, and handful of times a game a QB might change the play at the line of scrimmage. In addition to that all of Mannings accomplishments have come playing AGAINST the greatest coach of his generation, not for him. Jim Mora, Tony Dungy, Jim Caldwell, John Fox, and now Gary Kubiak are all, to lesser degrees or greater, a mismatch verses Bellichek. Yet, in the biggest games that two teams from the same conference can play against each other, AFC Championship Games, Manning is 2-1. To really judge Manning’s greatness, imagine if he played every snap of his entire career with Bellichek? I don’t generally knock Brady, but had the coahcing rolls been reversed, Manning would still be a all time great, and we probably never would had heard of Tom Brady.

    1. “When Manning came into the league no one was going to the line of scrimmage and calling plays based off of the defense the other team was in.”

      Actually, the no-huddle offense is a classic style of offense that’s a throwback to traditional Quarterback play-calling responsibilities; like that of, say, Johnny Unitas. In fact, you don’t even need to go that far back; Jim Kelly ran the same style of O in the K-Gun. You can it at the line of scrimmage because you stick to a limited number of key passing/run concepts, do it with the same personnel package, with very minor formation changes; and it really limits the defenses ability to communicate, substitute, or show you something different. It’s a matter of repetition; it forces the D to keep it simple and turns the game into a track meet. Here’s a good read on the offense:

      I specifically point to the 90s Bills because of the GM who put together that legendary offense: Bill Polian. If you want to dismiss Manning’s coaches (even Dungy, who put together the ’02 Bucs that Gruden won a SB with) for not being HOF-level-elite, like Belichick; then you can’t possibly deny that Polian is one of the greatest talent evaluators in NFL history. He’s in the HOF. He assembled the 1990’s Bills, built the expansion Carolina Panthers into a team that would play in a conference title game in two years, and assembled the key talent — Harrison, Wayne, Clark — that Manning enjoyed for the majority of his career (Elway’s assembled a damn good group in Denver too). So, let’s not pretend that Peyton got saddled by his franchise, or anything.

  26. Why is it that EVERY single Manning Brees or Rodgers article/video/forum is INFESTED with butt hurt Brady fans crying their argument? It’s truly pathetic that you guys hint these down just to comment and bash Manning. Manning changed the game forever with his talent and genius. Respect him. I’m not a colts or bronco fan but I still realize just how lucky we were to watch this man play.. god you guys are like cancer.

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