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Today’s guest post comes from James “Four Touchdowns” Hanson, a relative new reader to the site. As always, we thank our guest posters for contributing.

[Editor’s note: There were a couple of minor bugs in the original data. This post has now been updated.]


There may be no two quarterbacks more often measured against each other than Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. One simply has to do a Google search of the topic to see that fans and sports writers have compared the two numerous times, using a vast array of criteria from the simple counting of championships to using advanced analytics to make their case.

So it’s surprising to me that I still haven’t come across a comparison of Manning and Brady against the same defenses. It’s an idea that occurred to me when Manning critics pointed out that much of his record-breaking 2013 season came against the mediocre teams of the 2013 NFC East and AFC South, while Tom Brady’s record-breaking 2007 was against a tougher strength-of-schedule.1 If we’re genuinely after the fairest assessment possible – which is why I assume fans of advanced analytics prefer to measure individual players by their own production rather than team results like wins and championships – what better way to measure each player than by how they performed against the same competition?

So I decided to take a look at the seasons in which Manning and Brady were both active and played against the same teams in the same season. Of course, like any statistical analysis, this one comes with its own set of flaws. When the two quarterbacks play each other’s divisions or one plays the same team in the regular season and the playoffs, one of them may have played the same team twice or even three times in a single season while the other has played them only once.

This can be good or bad for the player’s results – sometimes it allows the opposing defense to learn from the first encounter and make life difficult for the passer the second time around. One example is Peyton Manning’s encounters with the Steelers in 2005; he defeated Pittsburgh with a 102.9 rating and 8.67 ANY/A during the regular season, only to see his performance suffer the second time around during the post-season with a 90.9 rating and 6.21 ANY/A in a loss. Meanwhile, Tom Brady’s single game against the Steelers, where he won with a 92.7 rating and 6.84 ANY/A, stands alone – could he have done better or worse in a second encounter? We’ll never know.

Other times, it can allow the quarterback another opportunity to do well against that defense. When Brady played the Jets for the first time in 2010, he earned a mediocre 72.9 rating and 5.11 ANY/A in a loss. He bounced back to win with an extraordinary 148.9 rating and 12.00 ANY/A in their second meeting and then fell somewhere in between when they met in the playoffs, losing with an 89 passer rating and 5.08 ANY/A. Meanwhile, Manning met the Jets just once in the post-season, where he suffered a loss despite earning a 108.7 rating and 8.85 ANY/A in his last game wearing a Colts uniform. How would he have done if he played the Jets three times? Again, we’ll never know.

In fact, the sometimes vast difference in which each QB has performed against the same defense in the same season should encourage us to take these results with a grain of salt – in-game conditions, game plans from coaches, the play from supporting casts, how one team’s strengths and weaknesses match differently with an opponent, playing at home or away, key injuries on either side, etc. can all effect a player’s performance in any given game.

And there’s always the possibility that Brady or Manning just had a bad day and their performance isn’t indicative of their true abilities: the small sample size of a football season made even smaller by singling out common opponents isn’t ideal in determining a fair and scientific measurement for how good each player actually is. On the other hand, it’s the only evidence we have available, so we’ll have to roll with it.

I bring this up because I don’t intend this to be a definitive attempt at determining which player is better – most people already have made up their minds (and I personally tend to rate quarterback on tiers anyway). Some say Manning would have more championships if he had Belichick and the Patriots organization at his side, while others say Brady would have bigger numbers if he had the receiving talent Manning had during his career. I think both can be true.

I’d also like to mention that I pulled this list manually and despite several reviews, there still may be errors in the data – this is unintentional and I welcome any corrections.

So without further ado, here’s a list of the common opponents they faced in each season, with both 2008 (Brady played one game) and 2011 (Manning was inactive) removed as both players weren’t active during those seasons:

• 2001: Jets, Bills, Dolphins, Raiders, Saints, Falcons, Broncos, Rams
• 2002: Dolphins, Jets, Steelers, Titans, Broncos
• 2003: Dolphins, Jets, Bills, Browns, Broncos, Jags, Texans, Titans, Panthers
• 2004: Ravens, Chiefs
• 2005: Steelers, Jaguars, Chargers
• 2006: Bills, Jets, Dolphins, Titans, Jags, Texans, Broncos, Bengals, Bears
• 2007: Chargers, Ravens, Jaguars
• 2009: Bills, Jets, Dolphins, Titans, Jags, Texans, Ravens, Broncos, Saints
• 2010: Chargers, Jets, Bengals
• 2012: Texans, Ravens
• 2013: Colts, Ravens
• 2014: Bills, Jets, Dolphins, Raiders, Chiefs, Chargers, Colts, Bengals, Seahawks
• 2015: Colts, Steelers, Chiefs

And here are their career averages against common opponents from 189 total regular season and playoff games played (93 Manning, 96 Brady):

Except for interception percentage, Manning seems to have a slight advantage across the board. Most differences are so small that I personally consider them basically even in most categories. The biggest differences seem to be that Manning’s interception rate is substantially higher, while Brady’s sack numbers are substantially higher – and in Brad Oremland’s TSP and Career Value metrics, where Manning holds a commanding lead.

To delve a little further into the numbers, let’s look at the advanced stats of each player by season. The highlights indicate which player did better that year in each metric, while the bolded numbers indicate that season’s number marks a career best (against common opponents) –

The leader in both ANY/A and Passer Rating match in every season, with Manning’s rates beating Brady’s in 8 of the 13 seasons compared. QBR results are also is very similar, with the only difference being Brady having the edge in 2014, putting them even at 4-4.

Interestingly, it seems that for most seasons, one player clearly played better against common opponents by a substantial amount – in Passer Rating, the two only play at a similar level in 2001 and 2007, while the rest of the time the winner often beats the other by ten points or more! What’s really surprising to me is that Manning surpasses Brady in every metric for 2007, which was when Brady led perhaps the greatest offense of all time to a record-breaking season and an AFC Championship.

I also wanted to compare their performances against common opponents in each season by TSP but since it’s a raw sum instead of an average like the other advanced stats, I needed to take each season’s statistical averages and multiply them to get 16 games worth of production. The results were –

The first thing that jumps out at you is Manning’s preposterous 2013 prorated across 16 games – over 6,500 yards and 75 TDs with only 5 INTs. That alone tells us to take these results with a grain of salt.

But accepting the numbers for what they are, we see that the leader in TSP for each season matches the leader in Passer Rating and ANY/A. We also see that Manning’s highs and lows are quite extreme in comparison to Brady’s – Brady doesn’t have a season that matches Manning’s 2004 and 2013, but Brady’s TSP never dips into negative numbers as Manning’s does in 2002 and 2015.

And again, Manning’s 2007 results manage to top Brady’s numbers for his most legendary statistical season (though that probably means nothing since the sample size we’re working with is so small).

So what does this all prove? Well, nothing really. As said, I think the majority of people already have their opinions set for these players – this is just for fun. Hope you enjoyed!

  1. While I am a Peyton Manning fan, I feel the point is valid and logical. We compare stats so often but don’t always take into account that most of those numbers were earned against different teams of varying quality – after all, it’s not fair to compare passing numbers if one guy is going up against the 2002 Bucs while the other is playing the 2015 Saints, right? []
  • jimbotronic

    Haven’t yet re-run your stats to double-check, but your list of common opponents has a few errors:

    2001: listed Chiefs instead of Raiders
    2009: omitted Saints
    2014: omitted Seahawks

    • Four Touchdowns

      Thanks Jimbo — I actually made those corrections in my spreadsheet but forgot to make that edit to the draft for this article. Chase, can you make those edits? Thanks!

      • Thanks, and good catch jimbo. James — I made the change in the bullet list — the numbers are otherwise still correct, right?

        • Four Touchdowns

          Yep, you can check the most recent spreadsheet I sent you last week! 🙂

        • Four Touchdowns

          I don’t see the bullet list updated, FWIW. Not sure how long that takes.

          Apologies for the error!

      • jimbotronic

        Ok. So, got slightly-different numbers, but the differences aren’t big enough to flip Brady/Manning in any category. FWIW, will see if I can post a readable table in the comments…


        #player gm cmp% Yds TD INT Rate Sacks SkYds Y/A AY/A QBR ANY/A
        Manning 94 64.30% 268.03 1.83 0.99 92.21 1.23 8.09 7.45 7.23 72.08 6.77
        Brady 95 62.54% 235.93 1.65 0.68 91.3 1.85 11.76 7.01 7.08 71.01 6.38

        • Four Touchdowns

          I’m interested to know why your numbers are different, though. Is there a private message function here?

          Maybe we can exchange spread sheets? How difficult was it to post your table? Maybe I can do that.

          • jimbotronic

            Here’s an Excel file w/ per-game data. My game counts were different from yours, so that might be it.

            • Four Touchdowns

              Okay, I see the errors and they’re on my end.

              For some reason, I included two Brady games against Pittsburgh from 2004 and totally missed that they both played Houston in 2013.

          • Paul

            I’m confused as to why it includes QBR, isn’t that ESPN Total QBR, which only goes back to 2006? and is a proprietary stat only ESPN calculates?

  • Great stuff. I particularly like this analysis because is supports my preexisting beliefs!

    I think Manning was a small, but not totally negligible, amount better than Brady. The case for Brady relies on a difference in postseason performance, which, in my opinion, was mostly caused by Brady having better teams, a *much* better coach, and more opportunities, and also by fans having selective memories.

    With that said, Brady is still one of the best QBs in the league, while Manning is perfecting the art of being the utterly-annoying-but-still-kinda-likable-retired-athlete pitchman. If Brady plays a few more great seasons in his 40s, his GOAT claim will be very tough to deny.

    • sacramento gold miners

      I just don’t think Brady will be able to play at a high level in his 40s as long as many would hope. Overall, Brady’s edge in the postseason is just too much for Manning to overcome in my personal rankings. While I’ve gone on record crediting Peyton for the 2015 postseason, he just had too many duds like the 2005 playoff against the Steelers, and SB versus Seattle to compete with Brady. Number 3 for me, behind Montana and Brady.

      In terms of this article, it would be interested in seeing whether history shows the second time around helps the defense more than the offense. Edgerrin James rushed for over a hundred yards against the Steelers in their regular season win, but wasn’t a factor when Manning was struggling to move the ball in the playoff rematch.

      • Paul

        I don’t think he played very poor in the 05 game against the steelers, I mean Brady had some great deep balls against Houston in this years playoffs, but still played pretty poorly and they still won. Even tho the patriots as a team really haven’t played that great in the playoffs, they’ve had negative defensive EPA in 6 of the 7 Superbowls and 5 of the 8 playoff games from 2014-2016 (and most every playoff game since 07), they’ve usually played good as a team on Brady’s off days (2006 SDG, 2007 SDG, 2011 Bal, 2016 Hou) whereas Mannings teams haven’t. When He has struggled the team didn’t help him out. It might be luck, it might not, but if the Patriots didn’t play great as a team against Houston, then in the AFC Championship and Superbowl Brady doesn’t have the chance to carry the team as the defense plays poorly. in a single elimination tournament, you don’t get a lot of chances. Manning didn’t play well at all in the SB against Seattle, but that was a complete team implosion.

        • sacramento gold miners

          I’m struggling to think of games when the Pats easily defeated an opponent in the regular season at home, then Brady struggled in a playoff loss to that same team. The ’05 playoff was a dud, and another postseason game when Edgerrin James could have been of more help when Manning was off. The Seattle SB debacle was so disappointing, Manning became overly flustered early, and it was a disaster. It was still a game for much of the first half, then Manning’s pick near the end sealed the deal.

          Brady’s been more consistent, better outside, and while he’s had a great coach, the same can be said of many outstanding QBs. Fewer off games in the postseason, and more timely plays to lift his team in those key moments.

          • Richie

            2009 Ravens and 2010 Jets?

            • sacramento gold miners

              Pats edged the Ravens at home in the regular season, and NE split with the Jets. Manning also lost at home to the Chargers, I think in the postseason. Brady’s one of the all time great postseason QBs, better than Peyton, IMO

        • sacramento gold miners

          Oops, the Pats did easily beat the Jets at home in 2010, but it’s important to note the Jets also beat NE at their place that season.

        • Four Touchdowns

          I did this at the beginning of 2016 and it only uses passer rating, but it touches on how many wins each QB has when they play well and when they don’t:

          “Okay, I decided to use the info from Pro Football Focus to conduct my little experiment. When I Googled “average passer rating”, the top result was an excerpt from a Wikipedia article that stated the average rating in 2008 was 83.2. Since that’s roughly the middle of their careers thus far, I figured it was a good baseline.

          I’ve decided to use Tom Brady and Peyton Manning as the subjects of this experiment, as the original article was comparing the two and they’re the two most compared QBs I can think of.

          Now using a QB’s passer rating as a very simple way to determine whether he played well or played poorly, I am looking for two things. How many times has the QB played poorly and his team won? Conversely, how many times has the QB played well and his team lost? Both are indicators of the support he received to win games.

          So, I decided on two arbitrary but round numbers to determine whether the passer rating would be good or bad — that way, no one can really accuse me of choosing an overly specific passer rating that would skew the results either way. I decided to make a passer rating of 80.0 or below a “below average to poor” performance, since it’s right under the average passer rating as described above — it’s not necessarily bad, but since both QBs have career ratings above 95 or so, I think we can agree that 80 or below is well below their average as well. Essentially, they’re not the Tom Brady or Peyton Manning we think of when we think of both players.

          Conversely, I decided to make 90.0 or above my “good to great” performance. It’s still below both players’ career average, but it’s much higher than the 2008 NFL average of 83.2. And again, it’s a round number, so no one can accuse me of choosing, say, 88.5 to skew the results in either players’ direction.

          For the purposes of this casual and impromptu comparison, I’m happy with these being the criteria. So what did I find out?

          Manning has 29 wins (out of 200) with a rating below 80.0 and 29 losses (out of 92) with a rating above 90.0. (These numbers are skewed by the 2015 season, but I’m going to just let the record stand as it is.)

          Brady has 39 wins (out of 194) with a rating below 80.0 and 13 losses (out of 60) with a rating above 90.0.

          This means that 14.5% of Manning’s and 20.1% of Brady’s wins have been during below average performances, while 31.5% of Manning’s and 21.7% of Brady’s losses have come when they are playing well.

          Obviously, passer rating is an imperfect measure of QB performance, so take from that what you will — I don’t personally have a game log with DVOA, ESPN’s QB Rating, or PFF scores from their entire careers to drawn upon, so passer rating will have to do.”

        • Richie

          Are you suggesting that Brady is so great, that he can still will his team to victory even when he plays poorly?

          • Paul

            no, I said we Brady plays poorly in the playoffs the team typically plays good enough for them to get the win. whereas when Manning plays poorly his teams haven’t usually have not.

    • WR

      The case for Brady isn’t based on postseason performance. It’s based on the fact that Manning’s stat advantages are small, or the product of more playing time. Compared to Brady, Manning has played far more often in a dome, far less often in cold weather, has faced easier opposing defenses, and has gotten to play with an amazing array of All Star receivers every year. Those are the factors that have boosted Manning’s rate stats.

      One way to illustrate this is to look at the two players’ career rate stats in road games. They’re almost identical. I would submit that your claim that Brady has had better teams is itself an example of selective memory. You’re forgetting that Manning has had more talent around him on offense, and has often had great defenses, like the 2007 Colts, and 2012 and 2015 Broncos. And while I agree with you that Belichick is great, let’s not forget that Dungy is already in the Hall of Fame.

      I’m not saying that Brady is significantly better than Manning. But the narrative that Manning is somehow inherently superior is unconvincing. If you’re going to knock Brady for coaching and defense, you need to recognize what a great situation Peyton has had getting to play with loaded offenses.

      • Four Touchdowns

        I agree with your overall points but the one thing I’d quibble with is bringing up the dome. Manning played outdoors during his time with the Broncos in a Division where none of the other teams had a dome either and his numbers in Denver are actually superior to his numbers in Indy, weakened arm and horrible 2015 included — better TD rate (6.5% to 5.5%), better INT rate (2.4% to 2.7%), and nearly 6 points more passer rating (101.7 to 94.9).

        In fact, just skimming the opponents on PFR, only 6 of his 58 games with Denver were indoors. And if we were to skim away his horrible post-quad games from the back-half of 2014 and 2015, they’d likely skyrocket.

        And yes, Manning has better supporting casts — that said, going by the stats from SportingCharts.com that date back to 2009, more of Brady’s yardage has come from YAC than Manning’s (49.6% to Manning’s 44.5%) during that time period.

        https://www.sportingcharts.com/nfl/stats/quarterback-air-yards/2016/

        • WR

          I’ve studied the points you’ve raised. Manning had a historic stretch from 2012-2014 in Denver, which is great. But the fact that he put up strong numbers outdoors in those 3 seasons, does not impact the proposition that he puts up better numbers when indoors than when outdoors. Brady had a similarly strong stretch between 2007-2010, and did it playing in an outdoor stadium. This fact does not alter the proposition that when Brady plays indoors, we should expect his stats to get a boost.

          YAC isn’t a reflection of skill level or the strength of a supporting cast. When Manning ran the Erhart-Perkins offense in 2013, his YAC rate spiked, but that’s not a knock on Manning. It has nothing to do with skill. Brady runs an offense that utilizes YAC, but has put up deep passing numbers in the past that rival anything done by Manning or Rodgers. In 2013, Brady produced nearly half his passing yards through YAC, but did it with a weak receiving corps featuring guys like Dobson and Thompkins. YAC rates, at least for elite QBs like Manning, Rodgers, and Brady, reflect the type of offense and play calling, not skill.

          • Four Touchdowns

            You’re probably my favorite Brady person to talk to, you’re always so respectful and your points are always based on stats and logic. I really like these exchanges.

            I bring up Denver because I think it’s reasonable to counter the idea that Manning’s dome gives him an edge when the best stretch of his career was played outdoors and with limited arm strength and sensitivity. While his numbers suffered outside of the dome pre-Denver, how much of that can we chalk up to those games being exclusively “away” games, strength of opponents, etc.? I don’t know.

            “YAC isn’t a reflection of skill level or the strength of a supporting cast. When Manning ran the Erhart-Perkins offense that Brady runs in 2013, his YAC rate spiked, but that’s not a knock on Manning.”

            Outside of 2013, his Broncos YAC rates were similar to what he had in Indy, but I actually agree with your points for the most part.

            I brought it up because when I think of what a receiver can produce that isn’t reliant on a QB, that we can actually measure, the first thing that comes to mind is YAC. If your receiver gets open, catches the football, and then essentially doubles the yardage via YAC, he’s doing a lot to help your offense and passing numbers.

            Additionally, I’m assuming that a 25 yard back shoulder fade requires more skill and accuracy from the passer than a 5 yard drag route.

            I guess I’m trying to get my head around what qualifies as a “weak receiver” — if they get open in time, catch the ball, and produce YAC — aren’t they good? Yes, Manning has great numbers with Harrison and Thomas, but what about other guys?

            I happened to find this from 2010: “Peyton Manning to Austin Collie has yielded ridiculous numbers this season. On 32 targets, Manning’s connected with Collie on 27 passes for 11.2 yards per attempt with four touchdowns and a passer rating of 153.0.”

            I mean, Collie isn’t great or anything, right? I wonder if it’d be worth doing a study to see what each QB’s receiver has produced. Anyway…

            But your point is much appreciated, that the coaches and their systems have far more of an impact on the production of a QB than people seem to give them credit for. We’ve all seen Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers and Eli Manning enjoy a nice bump in their metrics when transitioning away from a deep passing system.

            • Adam

              “YAC isn’t a reflection of skill level or the strength of a supporting cast.”

              Don’t listen to this nonsense. There have been numerous studies on this topic, and the conclusion is almost always the same: the QB has more control over air yards, while receivers have more control over YAC. As you mentioned, hitting a 25 yard pass downfield takes more QB skill than dumping it off in the flat and letting the receiver do the work. The reason WR won’t acknowledge this is because it goes against his Brady agenda; if the roles were reversed and Brady was the air yards king, WR would be screaming from the rooftops about the importance of air yards in measuring QB skill.

              Here’s a nice study (old but still relevant):
              http://community.advancednflstats.com/2010/12/examining-qb-yards-after-catch.html

              • Four Touchdowns

                Interesting, thanks. I wish we had more complete YAC numbers for their entire careers. For what it’s worth, I figured drops would also be an indicator of general WR talent and here’s what I found from SportingCharts.com (if their numbers are good, I don’t know):

                https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8e42a6dfe19a0f6f9f67082e21c12a82abee80a011b60d22769b5236b702d41a.jpg

                https://www.sportingcharts.com/nfl/stats/dropped-passes-by-quarterback/2016/

                • Adam

                  I have complete YAC data going back to 1992. When I get home from work, I’ll dig through my spreadsheets and send you the career numbers for Manning and Brady.

                  I tend to be dubious of drop data, simply because the definition of a drop is open to interpretation. In the case of Manning and Brady, their drop numbers are close enough that I’d call it a wash.

                  • Four Touchdowns

                    That would be cool, I’d love to see that.

                    That said, I do agree with the idea that some offenses are built around YAC and it isn’t necessarily bad that a QB takes the WRs that are open as the system dictates. If the short dump-off to the RB is wide open, it makes sense that Brady would take him instead of forcing the ball downfield to a covered man.

                    • Adam

                      That’s true, and on one hand you can’t blame the QB for taking the checkdown if he knows it’ll gain a bunch of YAC. On the other hand, we can’t deny that a wide open short throw doesn’t require much skill (relatively speaking), and QB’s who play in a horizontal offense simply aren’t asked to carry the load as much. In my opinion, there are more QB’s who could execute Brady’s offense effectively than Manning’s.

                    • Paul

                      I think if it were easy, a lot of players would be replicating it. I mean most advanced analysis say Brady has had some of the best peaks of all time the last 10 years, if it was so easy for him wouldn’t everyone be doing it so well?

                    • Adam

                      “I think if it were easy, a lot of players would be replicating it.”

                      If every QB had the good fortune to play for Bill Belichick, a lot of them would be replicating it.

                    • Four Touchdowns

                      Ugh, I can’t believe you guys are forcing me to defend Brady!

                      Yes, Manning never had a coach as good as Belichick, but Brady has proven he’s an incredible QB on his own. If he were suddenly a free agent this year, he would boost up any team that doesn’t already have an elite QB. He’s not Troy Aikman or Terry Bradshaw, a good QB made to seem great — he’s like Joe Montana, a great player made even greater by being with a GOAT HC.

                    • Adam

                      I agree with everything you just said. Brady would elevate any team he joined. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t benefited immensely from playing for Belichick, and that the Pats’ offense is probably more QB friendly than most.

                    • Paul

                      I’m just not really sure how Bill Belichick has benefited Tom Brady on a performance level, he had really no offensive success in Cleveland or New England before Tom Brady became the starter, and is known as a Defensive Coach. I mean, hes had a team wide effect, but hes not the reason Tom Brady is one of the best statistical qbs of all time. Bill Walsh had a tangible effect on qb performance, Bill Belichick doesn’t create the plays or coach the offense, and hasn’t had any success with QBs not named Tom Brady, so I don’t think their is a lot of overlap in his effect on Tom Brady’s greatness.

                    • Four Touchdowns

                      Paul, I agree with you to some extent if the argument for Brady as GOAT was based solely on stats. But as you know, it’s mostly based on championships and wins, which must be shared with the HC and defense. Belichick also hires the coordinators and drafts the talent, so he gets a lot of credit for that.

                      I feel Belichick’s stint with the Browns was so long ago — 16 years! — that it’s like acting as if Brady’s 2001 and 2002 stats are representative of his current abilities. And if we do that, we also have to give Bill credit for shutting down the high-flying Buffalo Bills offense and helping win the Giants a Super Bowl.

                      We’ve seen what a more recent Belichick can do without Brady in 2008 and 2016 — he wins a lot of games with back up QBs.

                      I guess the bottom line for me is — where do you rate Belichick as a coach? A lot of Pats and NFL fans seem to rate him as the GOAT while none of Manning’s coaches are even in the conversation. How much help that gives Brady, I don’t know, but surely we can admit it’s easier for players to win with Bill Belichick than Jim Caldwell or John Fox.

                    • Tom

                      Exactly. We just can’t go down this road of Belichick not being the great coach that he is just to defend Brady. It’s absurd. Belichick *and* Brady are great, end of story. They have both benefited from each other in a way that we probably haven’t seen before. Was Bill great before Brady? Paul says “no”…was Brady great before Bill? We don’t know. Were the Patriots very good in a season when they didn’t have Brady? Yes. There’s a lot of back and forth, but the bottom line is, I think most of us agree, that they have been great together, more so than other coach/QB combos have.

                    • Adam

                      Does the play of Matt Cassel and Jimmy Garoppolo not give you pause? Cassel wasn’t as good as Brady (duh), but he played pretty well under Belichick considering he hadn’t started since high school. In 2016 Garoppolo’s efficiency stats were just as strong as Brady’s, and he had never started a game before. For some reason, I have a hunch that Garoppolo doesn’t play as well if he is on the Rams or 49ers.

                      Also, from a logical perspective, how can you say that there is little overlap between Brady and Belichick, when Brady has played his ENTIRE CAREER under The Hoodie. That is, by definition, a lot of overlap.

                    • eag97a

                      If Bill Belichick had the good fortune of having Tom Brady when he was coaching the Browns then Cleveland would have 5 rings by now. What ifs are fine but they remain in the realm of fantasy IMO.

                    • Adam

                      Clearly he was exactly the same in coach in Cleveland as he is in New England, and has learned nothing from his prior experience.

                    • eag97a

                      The reverse of Shula who worsened when he got the transcendent Marino and lost A SB and playoff games with him? Both BB and TB deserve the accolades they get but assigning weights to their contributions to the Pats success is IMO a hopeless endeavor. As I said before what-ifs are fun to play but has trivial relevance to reality.

                    • Four Touchdowns

                      One of the issues I have with my fellow Manning fans is feeling the need to denigrate Brady to promote Manning — two guys can be great at the same time!

                      And while no one except Aaron Rodgers is doing it at Brady’s level, a lot of players are actually replicating it. We’ve all seen the articles on how short passes and YAC is exploding like never before in the NFL over the last few years and a lot of that is from the EP / Brady offense.

                    • Adam

                      While I’m guilty of this, I want you to understand my motivation. I’m not trying to make Brady look bad because that would be wrong as well as impossible. I’m just trying to show people that he’s merely one of the greatest of all time, and not the undisputed GOAT as many seem to believe. For me, this isn’t about Brady vs. Manning as much as it is ringz vs. nuanced analysis. I have no issue whatsoever with people who think Brady is the best ever; that’s obviously a perfectly reasonable position. The issue I have is with people who use his TEAM success as their primary reason for naming Brady their GOAT.

                    • Four Touchdowns

                      Well, I’m with you on that one — as said, I rate them on tiers.

                    • Paul

                      I believe they’ve each accomplished amazing things, I don’t find a whole lot of difference between them in impact on a game, they’re both transcendent.

                    • eag97a

                      The reverse is true as well, using “individual” stats to crown somebody as the GOAT when the truth is in football there is no individual stats at all except for combine numbers like 40 time.

                    • Adam

                      That’s a bit of a red herring. Passing stats, while influenced by other players on the field, are at least measuring what happened during actual football. The combine measures things that often have little correlation with real football skill, especially with QB’s.

                      We have three options here:
                      1) Team wins and losses
                      2) Passing/rushing statistics
                      3) Non-football measurables

                      Each method has its flaws, but #2 is clearly the least flawed, is it not?

                    • eag97a

                      I was highlighting how ridiculous it is to emphasize “individual” stats in a very team based sport like football. That’s why I mentioned combine stats (most useless set of numbers in a football field IMO). In evaluation you have to consider everything so a model should include all 3. Regardless if #3 is nearly not quantifiable that aspect has to be considered as well. Disregarding data points like #1 is just cherrypicking and I really don’t get this artificial divide that people have with regards to “individual” and “team” stats in football. Really weird.

                    • Adam

                      Individual stats, while deeply flawed, are still less noisy than the other available options.

                      Individual passing stats are influenced by:
                      1) Quarterback
                      2) Offensive Line
                      3) Receivers
                      4) Running backs
                      5) Offensive Playcalling
                      6) Coaching
                      7) Opposing Defense
                      8) Officiating
                      9) Weather

                      A ton of distortion to sift through, no doubt. How about wins and losses?
                      1) Quarterback
                      2) Offensive Line
                      3) Receivers
                      4) Running backs
                      5) Playcalling
                      6) Coaching
                      7) Opposing Defense
                      8) Officiating
                      9) Weather
                      10) Defensive Lineman
                      11) Linebackers
                      12) Defensive Backs
                      13) Defensive Playcalling
                      14) Opposing Offense
                      15) Kicker
                      16) Punter
                      17) Kick Returner
                      18) Kick Coverage
                      19) Punt Returner
                      20) Punt Coverage
                      21) Special Teams Coaching
                      22) Opposing Kicker
                      23) Opposing Punter
                      24) Opposing Coverage Units

                      Much worse. If you’re concerned that individual passing stats are distorted by variables other than QB skill, why on Earth would you pile on a host of additional variables that also have nothing to do with QB skill?

                    • eag97a

                      Because I’m pretty sure disentangling those “pesky” variables is difficult if outright impossible. Passing stats variables while lesser in number than wins and losses doesn’t mean its much better to use alone evaluating QBs rather than including w-l as well. Once again I have to emphasize passing skills are just a subset of quarterbacking. To get a good perspective regarding QB evals Bill Parcells said; https://billyliggett.wordpress.com/2007/10/09/bill-parcells-11-quarterback-commandments/. Commandment # 9 is illustrative of how coaches evaluate qbs.

                    • Adam

                      Brock Osweiler had a better record than Drew Brees last year. Is this valuable information? If so, how?

                    • eag97a

                      Means Brock had a much better team than Drew and the Texans won despite his mediocre performance. Brock might not have performed very well but he did enough things to not derail some of the wins by the Texans. This info might not be valuable to you but it can help coaches and gms decide what Brocks’ true value is and the recent transactions reflect what legit NFL evaluators and the market think how valuable Brock… not very valuable but not completely valueless. That’s a lot of info to glean city comparing w-l records and I haven’t touched on Brees yet.

                    • Richie

                      Neither the Texans nor Browns gave a crap what his w-l record was before completing that trade.

                    • eag97a

                      If you are a member of the FO of either the Browns or the Texans you can explain to us the thinking behind the trade. If you have proof that Brocks’ w-l record did not factor in their evals please tell s.

                    • Tom

                      I don’t need proof, I have common sense. I can’t get over what you’re saying…you just made a big deal about how football is a team game, and it’s hard to disentangle variables, and all of that, and now, suddenly, you can use a team’s W/L record to evaluate a player.

                      What you’re doing is just arguing…any time someone says something, just to take the opposite side, you come up with some wacky argument: special teams scores are going down (oh sorry, during the 1940’s and 1950’s I guess they skyrocketed), short passes get intercepted more, and now, the best of all: “legit” talent evaluators actually look at a team’s W/L record when they decided whether or not to sign a guy.

                    • eag97a

                      Many thanks for your reasoned arguments concerning my motivations on commenting here. Just because somebody offers another viewpoint doesn’t necessarily mean your long held beliefs are true. I’ll stop here now but if you have proof then offer it.

                    • Tom

                      I just can’t go with this…I just can’t see “legit” evaluators using Brocks W/L record as any kind of way to evaluate his performance. He either played well on the field or he didn’t. Why a team would take Brock I don’t know, but it has absolutely nothing to do with his W/L record. You want to talk about clutch play, Win Probability, etc., fine, get all in to that stuff, but please…no sane GM or coach is looking at Brock and thinking “you know, the Texans did win 8 games”…

                    • eag97a

                      I have to ask if you have any FO experience in the NFL or even as a scout for major college football programs? Or if you have any direct proof that the Browns and Texans FO and coaches totally ignored Brocks’ w-l record on their due diligence before and during the trade? If you have proof that they categorically ignored w-l record then I’m happy to eat crow.

                    • Tom

                      Ay Carumba! Alright, I concede that I have no direct proof that the front offices of the Texans, the Browns or any other NFL team categorically do not use W/L records when evaluating QB’s. I have no proof that as part of their “due diligence” the GM didn’t turn and say to his assistant, “You know Frank, I’m a little concerned about Brock’s ability to read defenses…let’s bring up the Texans’ Win/Loss record and see what that can tell us”. Hahahahahaha.

                      Alright, joking aside, you’re right I don’t have proof, so it’s just my opinion and we’ll have to agree to disagree.

                    • eag97a

                      And besides what I have in mind is “individual” stats, w-l records, cost etc. are all part of the evaluation process. I never claimed that w-l record is the only consideration on that transaction.

                    • Tom

                      I know you never claimed it’s the only consideration, that was never part of the discussion and that’s not what’s being disputed here. The dispute is that it’s any consideration at all. You think it’s something they look at, I don’t (in Brock’s case specifically).

                      Alright, perhaps it’s the way you’re wording this. If you’re talking about the “intangibles”, as in “this guy is a winner” or “clutch”, etc., as it relates to W/L, like a Tebow kind of thing, fine. And if you still think talent evaluators and GM’s would specifically look at Brock’s W/L record as part of their evaluation (not the only part) that’s fine, but I disagree.

                    • Richie

                      Tom and I both claim that W-L is not even a consideration. Unfortunately, we have no proof.

                    • eag97a

                      Then we can agree to disagree.

                    • How dare you not provide proof to counter an argument for which I also have no proof!

                    • Tom

                      Agreed on this. Brady makes that dink-and-dunk thing look easy, and you have a point that if it *was* easy, everyone would be doing it. There’s a lot to chew on there, but I believe a lot of this has to do with scheme but also Brady’s amazing ability to make quick reads. Interesting…

                    • Adam

                      Career yardage breakdown

                      Totals:
                      Manning: 41891 air yards, 30049 YAC
                      Brady: 32049 air yards, 29533 YAC

                      Air yard percentage:
                      Manning – 58.2%
                      Brady – 52.0%

                      Air yards / completion:
                      Manning – 6.84
                      Brady – 6.11

                      YAC / completion:
                      Manning – 4.91
                      Brady – 5.63

                      Brady has five seasons with more YAC than air yards (2001, 2002, 2010, 2011, 2015), while Manning only has one (1998).

                    • Paul

                      6% doesn’t seem like a huge difference, do you have the data for other qbs, so it would be easier to see the range of performance?

                    • Adam

                      Among the great QB’s whom we have the data for, that 6% difference covers most of the range for career numbers. While 6% may not sound like much, think of it in a different context…the gap between a career completion percentage of 62% and 56% is huge, just as the chasm between 7.5 Y/A and 7.0 Y/A is quite significant over a full career. I feel confident in saying Tom Brady is the most YAC-dependent great QB to ever play up to this point.

                    • Four Touchdowns

                      Wow, thanks for these numbers! Pretty cool stuff, even if I don’t necessarily think air yards means Peyton is better.

                • LightsOut85

                  Sporting Charts actually has YAC/Air-Yards data back to 1992, you just have to look at their individual player pages (a pain for comparing lots of players – as it’s not in table form, you have to copy it year-by-year, but not bad in this situation).

                  ex: Here’s Brady’s https://www.sportingcharts.com/nfl/players/25347/tom-brady/#Air%20Yards$GameType=279588574&SeasonMax=9999&SeasonMin=1990

                  • Alternatively, you can just change the year in the URL to see everyone’s each year.

              • eag97a

                I don’t necessarily believe that it takes more QB skill to hit a 25 yard pass than hitting an intermediate or short pass or even a dump-off to the flat. Setting up those short passes by diagnosing the defense and manipulating it (eye-ing off the safeties, selling the PA etc.) and then choosing the right protections and communicating the right routes are all QB skills also.

                Long passes with air yards and short passes are different and requires different skills and one is not necessarily easier than the other. Long passes are only harder from a physical perspective (you need more power to drive the ball downfield) and physical considerations are the last things you need consider when evaluating players since the correct assumption is if they are in a NFL roster they qualify physically and can make all the throws necessary.

                • Adam

                  On a play by play basis, I agree with you – there are plenty of short throws that require more skill than some long throws. But I believe that, in the aggregate, over a full season or career, downfield throws require more skill than throws near the line of scrimmage.

                  • eag97a

                    Throws near the line of scrimmage might be recorded as 1 yard throws but could be considerably farther if they are slants to x receivers. My personal opinion is throws of different lengths require different skills by both qbs and skill position players. Aside from elementary physical reqs (power required to throw) the different throws are just different and neither is more difficult than the others.

                    • Four Touchdowns

                      What are you basing that on? Based on everything we’ve seen, they are demonstrably more difficult to throw — shorter passes are thrown more often with a much higher completion percentage than intermediate and deeper passes (why they’re thrown more often).

                      The numbers basically show that the deeper the pass, the less likely it will be completed.

                    • eag97a

                      They are more difficult because they are lower percentage. Shorter throws might be easier from a physical standpoint but its more difficult to sustain drives by stringing together short throws. It requires flawless execution throw after throw mixed in with short run gains. That requires focus and execution. Long throws make for highlight reels and looks good on tv but the reason its lower percentage is the distance travelled, the time required to set it up and it depends a lot on receivers with extraordinary gifts like height, speed and focus high pointing the ball etc.

                      A lot of times we confuse qb skills with passing skills. One is just a subset of the other but there is a lot more to being a qb than just passing.

                    • Four Touchdowns

                      What are you basing this on? Any stats or testimonials from QBs? Literally everything I’ve read says that deep passing is more difficult — requires more precise timing and WR chemistry, greater risk for interceptions, lower completion percentage, etc.

                      The longer the ball is in the air, the more time a defender has to read and react to it, thus the greater need for the precision to “drop it into the bucket” and the understanding on whether a defender is in position to make a play on the ball based on the distance he is from the receiver.

                      You’re probably the first person to ever tell me shorter passes take more talent than deeper ones.

                    • eag97a

                      Read again. I never said shorter throws are more difficult than long throws or require more talent, just different skill sets. Long throws might require better chemistry (I’m dubious about this) with receivers but precise timing is more important for short throws since receivers constantly adjust routes for long rows while short throws receivers have less time to react and must be precise in running routes. Short throws are more at risk to interceptions since its a lot more crowded in that area and interceptions during short throws can lead to more pick sixes.

                      As I have mentioned countless of times short throws require different skill sets from long throws and passing is just a subset of quarterbacking. Even Brett Favre said that throwing long is nice but that there are only so many long throws in a game. Will try my google-fu to retrieve that short Favre one liner.

                    • Richie

                      Either I don’t understand what you’re trying to say, or this is the craziest idea I’ve ever seen posted here.

                      Of course deep passes are more difficult. This is why interception rates were high and completion rates low before the 1980s. Because teams were throwing more deep passes. Then Bill Walsh popularized the West Coast offense which was based on safer, easier short throws.

                    • eag97a

                      See my answers above. INT% have been dropping not just because of short throws but rule changes in 1978 and rules re-emphasis 2004 has contributed as much if not more. Football has a lot of variables and we should take care to remember that.

                    • Adam

                      Those same rule changes have also aided the short passing game, which in turn lowers INT%. With receivers able to run free without fear of getting jacked up, the shallow crosses and other underneath routes have really opened up. Those routes tend to produce very few interceptions.

                    • eag97a

                      Except for the 5 yard rule which allows jamming within 5 yards. In any case the rule changes has opened up deep passing much more with the stringent rules on DPI specially after 2004.

                    • Richie

                      ” rule changes has opened up deep passing much more.”

                      Source?

                    • eag97a

                      Check the number of DPIs converted recently as opposed to DPIs during the 70s and earlier. Google is your friend.

                    • Richie

                      I don’t care about pass interference. I’m looking for proof that the deep passing game has opened up since 2004.

                    • eag97a

                      Isn’t completing deep passes via DPI not opening up the deep passing game? For reference read up on the Elite Dragon Flacco as one beneficiary of DPI passes.

                    • Adam

                      You know damn well that DPI is called more stringently now than it was in the old days. Besides, pass interference can be called on short passes, so I’m not sure what you’re trying to prove here.

                    • eag97a

                      Yes its more stringently called now thereby benefiting the passing game specially deep passes. It might be anecdotal but most DPI I see are on deep passes and has helped the deep passing game. And as you must know most NFL playbooks now aren’t just about Coryell deep passing playbooks or Erhardt-Perkins power running game or West Coast dink and dunk. Most playbooks incorporate all of them and the differences are more about terminology. Passing has exploded because of rule changes and not just because of the prevalence of short passing.

                    • Adam

                      Then why are offenses throwing deep less frequently now than at any point in history?

                    • eag97a

                      Because possession is now at a premium and increased risk of turnovers due to deep passes frowned upon. Thus short passing is in vogue to keep possession. Converting short passes to points however is more a difficult proposition since stringing successful short throws to convert drives to points is actually difficult. Most coaches are risk averse nowadays and will accept punts to give away possessions rather than sacks, fumbles, interceptions. Please refer to; https://billyliggett.wordpress.com/2007/10/09/bill-parcells-11-quarterback-commandments/. Rule # 7

                    • Adam

                      If the deep ball has become “much more” effective since 2004, why are teams so afraid of turnovers and concerned with keeping possession? If offenses knew they could reliably hit the deep ball, they wouldn’t care about possession nearly as much, since any mistake could theoretically be erased in one play. The reason possession has become so important is because offenses know they can’t count on hitting a long play, so their best option is to dink-and-dunk down the field with safe plays.

                    • eag97a

                      You can’t count on hitting the long bomb and you also can’t count on stringing along several short throws in succession to maintain possession. That’s why the long pass, short pass and runs are part of the playbook. Football is the art of deception and execution. Otherwise if all you needed to win were short passes and checkdowns then Alex Smith would have won multiple SBs and Chad Pennington with his noodle arm would have been king of the NFL before.

                    • Tom

                      Thanks for letting us know that you need to mix it up a bit with some runs because my argument was that teams should just throw bombs every play. Also, I wasn’t aware that football was the “art of deception and execution”…I thought both teams should just tell each other their plays before the ball is snapped.

                      C’mon, you’re messing around. You have to know that the readers of this site wouldn’t possibly suggest that a single type of play be used all time…

                      So if I’ve got you straight: you can’t count on the long bomb and you also can’t count on stringing a bunch of short passes together, so you mix them all up and throw in some runs. Alright, that sounds like football to me, thanks.

                    • Tom

                      So what in God’s name are you saying? Are you just messing with us? You just said that short passes are at a greater risk for interceptions, now you’re saying deep passes are frowned upon because of the “risk of turnovers”. Then you say the rule changes “opened up deep passing”, but teams actually don’t take advantage of this because of the risk of turnovers…how in the hell then can you say that the deep game opened up if there’s no evidence of that because no one’s doing it? C’mon, quit screwing around.

                    • eag97a

                      I said I phrased it awkwardly and I’m not screwing around. What I’m saying is you guys buy in to the artificial distinction between “individual” and “team” stats in football. Saying deeper throws are more difficult than short throws from a qb skills standpoint is just simplistic and ignores other variables that affect them. Passing isn’t in a vacuum and it requires team mates to execute successful passes in the NFL. We might as well as use combine numbers to evaluate and compare qbs if all we want to measure and compare are physical measurables.

                      Deep passing has always been part of football but it isn’t the majority of the game then or now. What happened is the short game has taken over the running game so as a whole the passing game has exploded. Chase has run some articles thru the years about this. What is inarguable is more DPI has been called and resulted to completed deep throws due to rule changes but then as it is now short passes individually are safer than long throws. But stringing together short throws is just as hard as long throws if not harder. My contention is twofold; short passes and long passes require different skill sets and one isn’t harder than the other except from a physical standpoint. Being harder physically doesn’t mean its harder overall. 2nd most people are hung up between the artificial dichotomy of individual and team stats in a team sport like football where no stat is “individual”. We have differing opinions and I might have a different way of looking at and defining what is harder from a qb skill standpoint but it isn’t necessarily wrong and characterizing my assertions as binary ignores the fact that football has many variables and AFAIK we haven’t reached the point of baseball sabermetrics when it comes to evaluation in football. Asserting that deep passes as simply harder than short throws while ignoring the team aspects of football is just simply naive IMO.

                    • Tom

                      No one here is arguing that the rest of the team isn’t important, not one person has said anything close to that. Yes, different skill sets for different kinds of passes and yes, the rest of the team is important, and yes there are certainly a lot of other variables that go into throwing a pass. I’m ready to leave this topic now, we have to agree to disagree. I think throwing long passes are “harder” and from what I can gather, you don’t think that that statement can be made with any kind of certainty, and I’m fine with that.

                    • Four Touchdowns

                      The numbers just don’t back you up on this. Take a look at the chart below with deep versus short passing numbers I found at 4for4.com.

                      The numbers show short passing as the easier and more efficient type of pass — short passes are attempted five times more often than deep passes, have a far better completion percentage of 67% to 40%, are intercepted only 1.87% of the time compared to deep passing’s 6.61%, and QBs had a 88.3 passer rating on short passes to a 79.6 rating on deep passes (nearly 10 points!).

                      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/661612e180fcb799973cda1191f6d2c91b20c83de614cc3b948ed6dd635e89d3.png

                      A quick Google search shows that teams are passing shorter more often than ever before. Here’s one from Grantland in 2013: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/pass-atlas-a-map-of-where-nfl-quarterbacks-throw-the-ball/

                      “If we look only at completed passes, we see similar patterns. Long “bomb” completions are rare and a vast majority of NFL completions occur within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. In fact, only about 31 percent of all passes are thrown beyond 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. We hear a lot that the NFL is a passing league, but it’s more accurate to say that it’s a short-passing league.”

                      Here’s another article about how teams are making things simple for new QBs entering the NFL — basically, run the ball more and call short passes more often.

                      “The most extreme example is in Denver, where Siemian has thrown only one pass that has traveled at least 20 yards or more in the air among 59 attempts. Siemian has thrown only eight passes that have traveled 15 or more yards downfield, and overall, he ranks No. 32 in the NFL with an average length of 5.76 air yards per throw.

                      Prescott (7.85 air yards/throw) and Wentz (7.70) rank No. 19 and No. 20, respectively. Garoppolo ranks No. 24 at 7.52. And after Garoppolo injured his shoulder in Week 2, replacement Jacoby Brissett didn’t throw a pass among nine attempts that traveled farther than 5 yards in the air.

                      Working the short passing game is hardly a novel concept in the NFL, where efficiency and post-catch yards have been on the rise for years. But there are a couple of important points to be made about the way these four teams have approached it.

                      First, they’re emphasizing short throws more heavily than most of the league. And second, the approach is, for the most part, a notable departure from the schemes they ran last season.”

                      http://www.espn.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/215212/new-quarterbacks-are-throwing-shorter-and-less-often

                      I’m just stunned anyone would argue this point, it seems obvious that deeper passing is more difficult for QBs — other wise, why would they be so rare considering they’re more likely to result in greater yardage and TDs?

                    • Tom

                      Hate to pile on, but yeah, I just don’t see this argument at all. The ball gets to the receiver quicker, has less “drop”, and is closer to the QB who can see things better. Unless you’re Rahim Moore in the biggest play of your life, then, OK, maybe the deep ball is hard to intercept (OK, that wasn’t cool).

                    • eag97a

                      Deeper passing is on average more difficult to convert to points because of increased risk of drive stoppage due to sacks, incompletes and yes picks. Its safer to make shorter throws against longer throws but completing drives using short throws versus long throws is just as hard if not harder as completing drives using longer throws. INT% have been dropping for decades but scoring has not risen as sharply as the data would suggest. Defensive and ST scoring has been dropping for decades which has offset the small rise in offensive scoring. In any case as I have repeatedly said deep passing makes for more difficult scoring not difficulty from a qb skills perspective. A string of short passes could be as difficult to complete or even more difficult than a single deep pass. Deep passes are just more difficult physically but thats it, those different throws just need different skill sets.

                    • Richie

                      Why do most teams keep using short pass offenses?

                      Are they just trying to increase degree of difficulty for their QB’s?

                      Why not switch to more long passes?

                      Come on, man. This is silly. You can’t possibly believe this.

                    • eag97a

                      Possession is key. Coaches nowadays hate sacks, interceptions, fumbles. Please refer to rule # 7 by Bill Parcells; https://billyliggett.wordpress.com/2007/10/09/bill-parcells-11-quarterback-commandments/

                    • Richie

                      But if short passing is more difficult, it would be less likely to result in longer possessions.

                    • eag97a

                      I never said short passing is more difficult. Read my comments. Short throws are different from long throws and require different skillsets. I hate to repeat myself but I have commented on this elsewhere on this thread.

                    • Tom

                      Scoring *is* rising as sharply as the data suggests, and Defensive and ST scoring *have not* been dropping for decades. I have no idea where you’re getting that info. I keep track of that stuff and have written a few posts on it. Check the chart below. Overall points per game is rising, about 0.07 points per year, offensive points per game has been rising almost in lock step at 0.06 points per year, and defensive and special teams points per game remains static, rising slightly at 0.01 points per year. Check the chart.
                      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/98824c29a76a45676d7ede8fbf3a539608dc8509f3c703ba2a383b33eec99f09.png

                    • eag97a

                      Why did you not include earlier decades? Your data is incomplete if this was just from 1970 onwards.

                    • Tom

                      Oh c’mon! OK, so what are you thinking? That pre-1970 there was just this huge explosion of special teams scores? OK, that’s it, I’m on to you, you’re messing around my man!

                    • eag97a

                      No it isn’t check it, highest scoring season was during the early 60’s if I’m not mistaken;http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1786937-is-this-the-most-explosive-era-of-offense-in-nfl-history

                    • Tom

                      OK, that’s some good stuff. But it doesn’t change the fact that scoring is rising. I didn’t say it’s the highest it’s every been, I’m just saying it’s rising and the numbers bear that out…for over 40 years the numbers are going up. So…scoring is rising, if you want to quibble about how “sharply” it is fine, but it’s rising and that’s indisputable. And your statement about return scores (defensive and special teams) “dropping for decades” and that this is somehow offsetting the rise in scoring is flat out wrong, just leave it at that and move on.

                    • eag97a

                      It might not be offsetting but Defensive and ST scores have dropped relative to the 50s, 60s and the early part of the NFL. Quibbling about semantics is well and good since we don’t what endpoints what we are talking about and using incomplete data is just making this argument messy. In any case we have wandered far from the article which is about common opponents of TB and PM. And for the life of me I don’t know why I wade into these debates knowing what the likely outcome will be.

                    • Tom

                      Look, we’re talking about two QB’s in the modern era, so to start back in 1970 is as far as we need to go; my data isn’t “incomplete” and the argument isn’t “messy”. You weren’t referring to the ’50’s and ’60’s when you made your statement and you know it, and if I showed you that data, you’d say that it’s incomplete because it’s not showing the ’30’s and ’40’s. Saying that special teams and defensive teams scores have been “dropping for decades” means the recent decades, and obviously not decades in which Brady and Manning weren’t playing. You know this and you’re having a hell of a time admitting you made an incorrect statement.

                      So, there’s no “semantics” or “quibbling” here, there’s just you saying something that wasn’t true. In the same way that you said that interceptions are more likely when throwing short passes, and a bunch of people had to correct you on that. Everyone is pretty civil here, and a lot of us actually don’t give a damn about Manning/Brady…but we do (at least I do) care when someone just starts saying stuff that isn’t true, especially when the truth is easily accessible.

                    • eag97a

                      No need to set off. I said I phrased it awkwardly and if I made I made a mistake, no need to force me to admit it, freely given. To start the data from the 1970s just because we are talking about TB and PM isn’t right since the focus of the discussion has shifted from them to short throws and deep passes. And marking arbitrary endpoints without highlighting it isn’t the right way to frame discussions. Look I get it I’m in the minority here when it comes to difficulty of long throws to short ones but that doesn’t mean its not a valid argument or me saying that something isn’t true. Interceptions are more likely for long vis a vis short throw for throw yes but a series of short ones versus 1 long one? And saying that your data is the Holy Grail when it just started from 1970 when I showed data starting much further. In any case the immediate discussion was about deep passes vs short throws and supporting data in form of interception rates, completion rates etc. can buttress support or negate arguments but telling me I’m basically lying when I just showed a more complete data set is just simply not true.

                      I’ll tone it down but let us agree to disagree. You basically said you still believe deep passes are still harder than short ones after all the arguments I put forth, that is ok while I contend the story is more nuanced than that and football is much richer than that even to just throwing the football long or short.

                    • Tom

                      Alright, sounds good. But to be clear, I didn’t mean to imply that you were lying (as in, you know the truth and you’re trying to mislead someone), I just thought you were saying stuff off the top of your head. Your statement about defensive/special teams TD’s jumped out at me because I’ve been studying that for a number of years, and I knew that it wasn’t declining at all…something isn’t declining if it’s been static for 40 years. And remember, your more “complete” data set didn’t show anything different – points per game are on the rise…if they’ve been rising for the last 40 years, we can safely say that they are “on the rise”, regardless of how high they were in the 1960’s.

                      Agreed, the game is far more nuanced than “long throw is hard, short is easy”, and having never played QB even in high school, there’s a lot about it that I can’t really speak intelligently about!

                    • WR

                      Just wanted to make a general response, wasn’t sure where to put it. I think when people disagree on the Brady-Manning question, a lot of it comes down to how you feel about Brady’s deep passing. If you think that Brady has a limitation that prevents him from throwing deep consistently, I can understand why you wouldn’t rate him as high as someone like Manning or Rodgers.

                      But I don’t think his lack of deep passing is because of a lack of skill. I think it’s because the Patriots choose to run a particular type of offense that focuses on short passing, partly because Brady is good at it, and partly because they can gain a competitive advantage. If you can create a high-scoring offense with cheaper receivers, that’s a huge advantage. But most of those guys won’t be deep threats. They’ll be TEs and slot receivers, Edelman, Welker, Bennett, etc. A QB running that type of offense, with that type of personnel, is unlikely to post impressive air yards totals. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a great player.

                      I guess Brady’s success at deep passing in years like 2004, 2007, 2012, and 2016, all with largely different sets of receivers, has convinced me that his weaker deep numbers in other years are just a product of not having any deep threats. I’m not 100% convinced of that, but it looks like a pretty solid conclusion. A lot of Brady’s success with YAC comes from a quick release, accuracy, and timing, so that he consistently puts his WRs in position to gain yards after the catch. I think that should be recognized, and that it would be a mistake to subtract credit from a QB for accumulating YAC.

                    • Four Touchdowns

                      As stated, I don’t feel there’s any one greatest QB — I rate Manning, Montana, Brady, Marino, etc. all on one tier because their skills all seem to be at the highest level and the main difference is in their supporting casts, offensive systems, eras, etc. from what I can tell.

                      I always say that I consider Muhammad Ali the GREATEST boxer but not the BEST boxer. What that means is that he had the most celebrated and legendary career among all boxers, making his “greatness” unquestioned, but that doesn’t mean he’s the most talented or skilled boxer.

                      That’s where I put Tom Brady right now — he’s the star player in the greatest dynasty of the post-merger era and has had the best career when you combine his stats, titles, etc. But like Ali, I don’t think that in a vacuum, he’s necessarily the most talented or skilled quarterback — just that he’s had the best career. That said, he very well may be the most talented and skilled, but there’s too much doubt in my mind about crowning any QB the most skilled/talented due to coaches, system, supporting casts, etc. And for the record, I would feel just as uncomfortable about crowning Peyton Manning or Joe Montana or Otto Graham or Dan Marino as the best quarterback.

                      So you see, for me this isn’t about YAC — we brought up YAC in comparing receiver talent because YAC is created by the receiver and the play design more than the passer. We tend to think of the air yards as what’s generated by the QB — but as said, I agree that that you can’t fault a passer for throwing to the guy who’s open. It’s not his job to create air yards, it’s his job to execute the play as designed. Aaron Rodgers has similar YAC rates but I don’t think anyone would ever accuse him of lacking a deep ball.

                      For me, the reason I can’t crown Brady isn’t solely because of air yards — in fact, it’s a very minor consideration that’s more interesting as a trivia bit.

                      The core reason I can’t crown him is because I regard titles and wins as much a team / coach stat as a QB stat — fine for naming someone the “greatest” for the general public but not as useful in the kind of scientific analysis done here at FP. I’ll again point to Chase’s observation that in the past two seasons, Brock Osweiler has enjoyed a winning record as a starter — meanwhile, Drew Brees has a losing one. But we both know Brock and Drew’s win/loss record don’t correlate to their actual skill levels.

                      So if we take away the titles, we have to prove Tom Brady is the best passer of all time using just passing stats and while his are truly elite, they don’t provide a clear cut case that he’s THE best passer of all time, just ONE OF THE best passers of all time. The stat that really stands out for him is his ridiculously low interception rate, which is only behind Aaron Rodgers. Others have better yardage rates, TD rates, passer ratings, ANY/A, etc.

                      All I can say is Brady may be the best. If he had elite WRs like Marino and Manning and played in the kind of vertical system that requires them, who knows — he might surpass their numbers. But he might not.

                      As said, your guy won the argument for the 75% of the general public in 2014 and then got up to 95% by beating the Falcons in the greatest comeback win of all time. Every friend I have, even those who hate Brady, now say he’s the greatest and don’t feel Peyton Manning is in the argument (none of them follow advanced analytics, but whatever). And he finally beat out Manning and Montana in this year’s “Wisdom of the Crowds” to be named GOAT on this site.

                      Surely you’re comfortable with just a few of us stat nerds having a little doubt, no? 😀

                    • WR

                      Sure, I’m comfortable with what you’ve said. I don’t think Brady is significantly better than Montana and Manning, and if you check my ballot from the wisdom of crowds vote, I had those guys as the top three. The disagreements in this thread aren’t based on your work, aside from minor quibbles. The debate about air yards was started by someone else’s comment.

                      To get to what you have presented here, it may be that defensive adjustments like the ones for DVOA and DYAR aren’t as meaningful as I previously thought. Your work here suggests that the career numbers for Manning and Brady are a pretty good approximation of how each guy will perform against common opponents in the same season. It would be interesting if someone could do a larger-scale study like this, including more players, to see if we get the same pattern.

                      I hope we’ll continue these discussions in the future. I appreciate your kind words about my previous comments.

                    • eag97a

                      I also agree and my top 3 are also the same. As always different ways of looking at things can always help us in our evals.

                    • Four Touchdowns

                      Thanks and the same back to you. I actually have a history of getting along well with Brady fans anyway — here’s a pic of one of my best friends and me from a few years ago.

                      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/67f0ef8c2e40b88b4bb9bac170a32a82ac0aeae99517117a020e226cdbccf129.jpg

                      (Funnily enough, earlier that night we had our coats on, so you couldn’t see our sleeves, and a vendor asked if we were Giants fans, LOL.)

                    • Four Touchdowns

                      BTW, regarding DVOA and DYAR, I posted some stuff earlier in this thread from a 2014 FO article about playoff performance:

                      http://disq.us/url?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.footballoutsiders.com%2Fstat-analysis%2F2014%2Fnfls-best-playoff-quarterbacks-dvoa-and-dyar%3AgQ3zMAPucrBjTJJoFk0kxwKUqZE&cuid=3444454

                      “That said, I did randomly find this one that shows that as of 2014, Peyton Manning had the 4th toughest strength of schedule by DVOA at 20.9% while Brady had the 24th hardest at 12.0%.

                      It also shows that Manning had the better passing DYAR per game at 114.8 while Brady averaged a 82.6 DYAR in playoff games. It also showed Manning with three of the top ten single game DYAR scores while Brady’s best came in at #11.

                      Manning also beats Brady’s playoff DVOA with 31.3% (ranked 4th) to 21.9% (ranked 11th).

                      It also shows that Manning has the better playoff 3rd down conversion rate, 42.86% to 40.98%.

                      Finally, it shows that Manning also has the better Playoff Win Probability Added and Expected Points numbers, with 4.80 / 145.8 to Brady’s 4.59 / 134.6.

                      So going by Football Outsiders, it looks like through 2014, Manning has been better in the playoffs by a whole host of metrics despite not having the rings to show for it.

                      I wasn’t looking for this info but I’m glad you led me to it, LOL.”

                    • Four Touchdowns

                      Not to beat a dead horse, but I finally got a moment to look at their DVOA and DYAR… below are their career averages. Manning holds a small advantage over Brady in every category except average league ranking for DYAR:

                      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c01fa15a1f8f6a6fb6a30527cf8aee35066ec81989f1977069499bb72c455aaf.png

                    • Four Touchdowns

                      If we exclude the 2015 season in which Manning wasn’t himself anymore, the numbers really jump for Manning.

                      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8c19b2c2d81583448f34053308990e5fcf7297a8663a9f4d2a33a2dcf2a1c1e3.png

                    • Robert Anasi

                      I think the general consensus among the boxing cognoscenti is that Sugar Ray Robinson was the greatest fighter of all time (and it’s not just the level of competition he faced during his 91 fight unbeaten streak, although, wow).
                      One thing I haven’t seen mentioned so far in your discussion of short vs. long passing are how YAC on short passes is more than a little dependent on the QB – in terms of timing, ball placement, etc. I’ve seen a few analytical pieces that noted the quality of Brady’s short throws.
                      It’s interesting to note the remarkable improvement last season on Brady’s deep ball, which speaks as much to a change in NE philosophy on offense, and the new talent at the position, as it does to Brady’s actual ability to throw a deep ball.

                    • Four Touchdowns

                      The QB plays a role, of course — he’s still throwing the ball.

                      But YAC still seems more dependent on the receiver than a typical deep pass. This is an extreme example but watch the play below. This should be a tackle for a loss but CJ Anderson takes it in for a TD.

                      This is 95% on the receiver, IMO.

                      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CBCSIgS4MjE

                    • Adam

                      “Short throws are more at risk to interceptions”

                      This is absolutely, inarguably false. Interception rate rises in lockstep with pass depth. On a macro level, why do you think INT% has been dropping for decades? It’s mostly because the average pass length has been getting shorter and shorter.

                    • eag97a

                      It was phrased awkwardly. Shorter throws can also be susceptible to interceptions since its more crowded in that area. A succession of short throws can be as equally susceptible to interceptions as a single long throw.

                      INT% has been dropping for decades not just because of shorter throws but also rule changes limiting DBs specially 1978 rule changes and the re-emphasis or Peyton Manning rule changes 2004. Changes in long term trends are never simple enough to warrant single explanations.

                    • Tom

                      I wish I’d played QB and had some inside knowledge of this…it just doesn’t make sense to me that short throws are more prone to interceptions. I just can’t see how the ball moving in a direct straight line, with little drop for 5 yards would be more prone to a ball thrown 30 yards down field. If you’ve got the numbers to back this up, then you’re right, but man, that doesn’t sound right to me at all.

                    • Tom

                      Well, of course that’s true, doing something over and over again and being successful at it is very hard. I can flip a coin 50 times and hope for heads, OK, I get that. But it doesn’t change the fact that throwing the long ball is harder to do…it just is.

                    • eag97a

                      Harder physically but not harder from a qb skills standpoint IMO.

                  • Tom

                    This just seems common sense to me…I can hit my kids in the back yard with a 5-yard short throw far more often than hitting them 30 yards away! OK, not a great example…but common sense tells me this is right.

                    • eag97a

                      It isn’t a great example you hit your kids in the back yard far better with a 5 yard throw than a 30 yard throw without blockers up front, directing multiple receivers, facing a complex defense etc.

                    • Tom

                      Pretty lame example, but my the point is that we don’t even need all the numbers the other guys are putting out there. Closer is easier…it’s something you can demonstrate in your own back yard. Those things you mention – blockers up front, multiple receivers, complex defense – those things don’t disappear when you throw a long pass, they’re still there…in fact, there’s a greater chance of getting a hand in your freaking face if you have to wait for a guy to “go long”. I won’t argue with you that it’s a different skill set…but to argue that it isn’t easier to throw a short pass, just doesn’t make sense to me. Unless someone here just hasn’t mentioned it, I don’t think any of us have played QB at the college/pro level, so until a QB comes in and tells us – no you have it backwards, 80-yard bombs are easy, it’s those 5-yarders that are killers – then we’ll just have to go with the numbers and our common sense.

                    • eag97a

                      First off nobody does 80 yard bombs except Rodgers… 🙂 IMO different throws require different skills thus point of comparison with regards to difficulty is almost non-existent except for the physical effort required. And you keep forgetting that for a pass to be completed it requires teamwork from linemen to skill position players and disentangling the contributions of the different players is almost impossible. Making it simple by analogy to backyard throws is at best simplistic and doesn’t really help the argument to or for.

                    • Tom

                      Right, I get what you’re saying…I guess what I’m saying is that all things being equal – a shorter throw is easier. It’s just common sense. Maybe stringing a bunch together is hard, OK, fine, doing anything a bunch of time in a row is hard so I’m fine with that, I agree with you. But whatever your argument is, I’m sticking by the fact that throwing a short pass is easier…not by the same amount, sure some short passes are harder than others, but over all, long passes are more difficult to pull off, and it looks like the data shows that.

                    • eag97a

                      That’s the problem asserting all things being equal when in fact they aren’t equal. If you say long passes are more difficult than short passes due to physical reasons then I agree but saying it flat out as simply more difficult full stop isn’t going to cut it since it isn’t apples to apples comparison. Now if you say longer throws are more difficult because completion rates are lower of course they are lower the distance traveled is farther but saying its more difficult relative to shorter throws because qbs find it harder no it isn’t since as a baseline most qbs entering and playing in the NFL cant throw the ball far enough and accurately enough.

                      That is the problem with these simplistic analyses to something as mundane as throwing length, everything else is not equal… 🙂

                    • Tom

                      Alright, well, we’ll just have to end it there then. I’ve always thought that longer throws are harder, and probably will continue to do so, but I don’t have anything left on this!

                    • Paul

                      Tom and eag97a, those comments are easy to take out of context if you don’t read it fully.

                    • Tom

                      Yeah…not really worded very well…

              • WR

                If you’re right, Adam, could you please explain why it is that guys like Young, Rodgers, and Brady have all seen their air yards and YAC rates go up and down throughout their careers, all while maintaining strong numbers overall? Because if it is a reflection of skill, this would suggest that for example, Rodgers “lost it” in 2009, then suddenly regained his skills for a couple years, and then lost it again in 2013. But if these results are the product of offensive scheme and who is catching the ball, those particular results wouldn’t surprise us.

                “The reason WR won’t acknowledge this is because it goes against his Brady agenda; if the roles were reversed and Brady was the air yards king, WR would be screaming from the rooftops about the importance of air yards in measuring QB skill”.

                This charge against me is blatantly false. Under the hypothetical you’ve presented, I would not argue that Brady’s case was stronger because of air yards. I don’t argue, for example, that Brady’s air yards went up in 2007 because he suddenly gained new skill. They went up because he had better weapons who could get downfield much more effectively, and was running a more vertical playbook than in previous and subsequent seasons. Otherwise, we have to argue that Brady magically transformed into a downfield passer for one season, and then the effect wore off. It just doesn’t make any sense.

                • Paul

                  according to articles I read this season from profootball focus, Brady was also the best downfield thrower this year when he played after the suspension, till he injured his leg against seattle and gimped the rest of the year till it was healed. hell, the first 5 games of the year he averaged 9.9 yds/att.

                  • Adam

                    You are correct about 2016. Brady was a beast on deep balls, similar to his magic of 2007. If he continues this deep ball prowess into his mid-40’s, I will certainly adjust my opinion on his playing style.

              • WR

                The first link you provided, the article by Adam Tarr, doesn’t do anything to establish that YAC is less valuable than air yards. It’s just a ranking of QBs by YAC produced, and then by a formula that subtracts for YAC. But it does nothing to establish WHY we should subtract for YAC. That’s the key question here.

                I’ll take a look at the 2nd link tomorrow.

            • Paul

              I’m not sure if we can quantify if Mannings arm lacked strength, I mean that seemed to be something that the talking heads said just to doubt manning and his age, I certainly didn’t see it. I mean his Yds/Att were still far above league average, even with a supposedly weak arm.

              I think the only bumps Eli sees is the potholes he lands in with his inconsistency.

              • Four Touchdowns

                He did lack arm strength due to the nerve damage in his throwing arm from spinal surgery — that’s not speculation, it’s pretty much what we know from various accounts of his rehab and comeback to football. He still says he has no feeling in his right hand.

                I’ve read that he had to change his throwing motion so that more of the torque for the throw came from his legs — that’s why his deep ball was so inaccurate when his legs never got right after the mid-point of the 2014 season. In fact, after reading that, I noticed that all of his significant injuries in Denver were to his legs — his high ankle sprains in 2013, his torn quads in 2014, and his torn plantar fascia in 2015.

                In fact, back in the second half of the 2014 season, a physical therapist popped into the now defunct “It’s All Over Fatman” blog and said that he believed we had seen the last of Manning’s greatness — his throwing motion was very unsound and would continue to create repetitive stress injuries to his legs, which would reduce his throwing power and accuracy. And dang if he wasn’t proven right.

                http://www.itsalloverfatman.com/broncos/entry/peyton-mannings-injury-likely-from-overuse-will-be-hard-to-overcome?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

                • Paul

                  I never read that, thanks

          • Paul

            Actually, Brady from 2007-2012 was an immensely strong stretch. His average season was 376 of 572, 65.7%, 4591 Yds, 37 TDs, 6.5 TD%, 9 INTs, 1.6 INT% 8.0 Yds/Att, 105.4 Qbr, 8.03 ANY/A. The Patriots went 66-15, scored 500 points 4 of the 5 seasons, and faced above average pass defense schedules every year.

            Brady in 12 dome games:
            234 of 346, 67.63% 3009 yds, 26 tds, 9 ints. 108.9 qbr. 8.7 yds/Att. 9.03 AY/A

            8 RetroRoof games:
            188 of 280, 67.14%, 2370 yds, 16 tds, 8 Ints, 100.4 qbr, 8.46 yds/Att, 8.32 AY/A

            That’s all the listed games at Pro-football-reference. obviously this doesn’t take into account quality of the defense, as a lot of terrible defensive teams play in domes, NO, Detriot, Colts many years, etc. Anyway, until a breakdown of defense adjusted performance in domes there is the stats, pretty impressive regardless.

        • Adam

          Not only does Manning have a significant advantage in air yards, but he also kills Brady in first down rate. Compared to league average, Manning has contributed 629 marginal first downs, while Brady has 322. That’s a major edge for Manning in a measure that doesn’t show up in the box score.

          • Paul

            that seems like terribly low numbers for careers spanning 17 and 15 years, what period of time is that from? can I ask for a link to the source, which I assume is on this website?

            • Adam

              That’s first downs above what we’d expect from an average QB. Manning has 3,654 passing first downs and Brady has 3,054.

        • Paul

          To be fair San Diego and Oakland are not bad weather outdoor Venues. But Denver Era Manning was amazingly dominant. But its a little unfair to “Skim away the back half of 2014 and 2015” since Brady played the second half of 2016 on the injury report and supposedly had a injury in the last few games of 2015 and that seasons playoffs.

          Manning played in 2 bad weather outdoor stadiums, but I’m not sure if anyone would consider them nearly as bad as Boston, Buffalo, and NYC in the winter.

      • Four Touchdowns

        Additionally, your comment that Manning has “has faced easier opposing defenses” is the inspiration for me finally running these numbers, as you made the same comment a few weeks ago. I figured this way, we can get rid of the differences in opposing defenses and see what the numbers looked like.

        • WR

          Check the numbers at Football Outsiders. Since the start of the 2004 season, by their metrics, it’s not close.

          • Four Touchdowns

            Thanks but doesn’t the study I just did help at all, LOL?

            These are against the exact same teams!

            • WR

              Thanks for doing the legwork on this. It’s good to see the numbers, and I appreciate your kind words about my previous comments. If I can offer a criticism, it’s that by looking exclusively at common opponents, you will miss instances where one guy faced a tough defense, and the other guy didn’t.

              • Four Touchdowns

                WR, can you explain? If they’re facing the same opponents, wouldn’t they be facing the same “tough defense” for the most part?

                • WR

                  Yes, I’ll provide an example. Look at 2010. Brady faced the five best defenses in the league, as measured by fewest adjusted net yards per attempt allowed. Manning faced only one of those teams, the Chargers. By looking exclusively at common opponents, your analysis misses that point. I think this exercise is a good one, but looking at the overall strength of opposing defenses for each guy will probably tell us more.

                  • Four Touchdowns

                    My only issue with that is the QBs don’t make the schedules and there’s no way to tell how each guy would have played against those same tough defenses in any given year. Would Manning have done better or worse than Brady in 2010? We’ll never know. I don’t think it’s fair to ding either guy for not playing a team when he had no opportunity to do so.

                    That’s why I focused on the teams they both actually played, because it’s more of a level playing field.

            • Paul

              only to a point. remember manning was in his 4th year starting when Brady took over in 01′. Also he entered his statistical peak before Brady even had a breakout season, how much are these numbers skewed by that. Brady’s first great season really was 2004, also Mannings best, what’s the comparison look like going from there, after Brady could become a more equal caliber player? It seems kinda unfair to include 3 seasons of beginner seasons for Brady and not for Manning, especially when a large percentage of the games are from 2001-2003, when Brady was first developing into a great statistical quarterback.

              • Four Touchdowns

                Paul, I appreciate what you’re saying and it’s a thought I’ve also had, but since this is a look at common opponents, I am only able to use what fate’s given me — Brady started 3 years after Manning and played common opponents right away.

                As a guy on the Manning side of the fence, I’d sure love to ditch those 2015 numbers, especially the 0 passer rating he earned against the Chiefs in their second game that year — I played with the numbers myself and Manning’s jump up significantly if you get rid of his post-quad tear games — but I knew that I had to let the numbers be what they are because you can get into all kinds of hypotheticals and change the numbers to make either guy look better.

                Again, this wasn’t an attempt to prove that Manning is better — I really feel the numbers are close enough to call the whole thing a wash, with Manning’s sack rate and Brady’s INT rate more or less cancelling each other out.

                Besides, Brady has already won that argument for 95% of the public, his rings and numbers are what people will remember for generations. I think we’re seeing another Joe Montana and Dan Marino situation here. Dan is the deep-throwing stat king that under-performed in terms of championships expected while Montana is the clutch guy with all the rings — it looks like Manning and Brady repeated the stories of their respective idols.

                Your side won — enjoy it, LOL!

                • Paul

                  well manning does have 2 superbowl rings, so its not like his teams weren’t successful.

          • Four Touchdowns

            I’m having a tough time finding an article on FO that collects it all but I feel like I once saw one.

            That said, I did randomly find this one that shows that as of 2014, Peyton Manning had the 4th toughest strength of schedule by DVOA at 20.9% while Brady had the 24th hardest at 12.0%.

            It also shows that Manning had the better passing DYAR per game at 114.8 while Brady averaged a 82.6 DYAR in playoff games. It also showed Manning with three of the top ten single game DYAR scores while Brady’s best came in at #11.

            Manning also beats Brady’s playoff DVOA with 31.3% (ranked 4th) to 21.9% (ranked 11th).

            It also shows that Manning has the better playoff 3rd down conversion rate, 42.86% to 40.98%.

            Finally, it shows that Manning also has the better Playoff Win Probability Added and Expected Points numbers, with 4.80 / 145.8 to Brady’s 4.59 / 134.6.

            So going by Football Outsiders, it looks like through 2014, Manning has been better in the playoffs by a whole host of metrics despite not having the rings to show for it.

            I wasn’t looking for this info but I’m glad you led me to it, LOL.

            http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2014/nfls-best-playoff-quarterbacks-dvoa-and-dyar

            • Paul

              This isn’t aimed at you, Four Touchdowns, just the general perception that Manning wasn’t a successful Playoff Qb, he’s had 5 of the best playoff games of all time, the 03 Kan and Den games, 04 Den, 09 Jets, and 13 Patriots AFC Championship. he went an amazing 17 tds to 1 pick and had over 9.00 AY/A all 5 of those games. Those are some of the best Playoff games ever, the 2009 Jets were a terrific defense, and the rest were above average. If he had strung together a streak of those type of games in a row and won a superbowl in a great passing performance, I’m sure his legacy would be different, the whole playoffs aspect of the argument ignores some great games from Manning.

              All though he did play in 27 playoff games, and those 5 terrific games account for 17 of his 40 career postseason tds, so in the other 22 games he threw 23 tds to 24 ints. he had some amazing highs but wasn’t very consistent as a playoff qb.

              • Tom

                Agreed, the best game has to be against the Jets in 2009. That defense was historic and he took them apart pretty handily.

          • Four Touchdowns

            Not to beat a dead horse, but I finally got a moment to look at their DVOA and DYAR… below are their career averages. Manning holds a small advantage over Brady in every category except average league ranking for DYAR looking at the stats straight up.

            If you go by Brady’s numbers post-2004, he does gain a small lead over Manning — but if we get rid of Manning’s 2015, which I think we can agree was not the same player as seasons prior, Manning’s numbers jump up quite a bit and overtake Brady’s post-2004 career averages.

            However, if you subtract Brady’s three worst seasons, I think it’s fair to look at Manning’s numbers without his three worst seasons and he beats Brady’s post-2004 numbers by quite a margin.

            And if you look at their single season best numbers in each category (Brady from 2007, Manning from 2004 and 2013), Manning wins across the board again in every category except DYAR.

            So I’m not sure why you thought it “wasn’t close” — even if you take Brady post-2004 and put them up against Manning’s, including his horrible 2015, the numbers are actually very close.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5c110e3fe140265d7f7d161132e648ed97946691acd2ca6819637090c48d8611.png

      • Richie

        “let’s not forget that Dungy is already in the Hall of Fame.”

        I wish we all could forget.

      • I didn’t say that Manning never had a great defense to help him. I said that the difference between Brady’s and Manning’s postseason success (by which I meant Ws and rings) was due, *in part*, to Brady being on better teams, and I stand by that. It’s not selective memory to say the Pats had much better D and special teams than the Colts in the early 2000s when Brady won his first three Super Bowl rings (which is the main difference between them in the postseason). Manning had something similar at the end of his career with the Broncos, but he got hurt/old half way through it, and so he *only* managed to win one more Super Bowl.

        As for the offenses, maybe you are right that Manning’s were more loaded than Brady’s. The truth is I’ve never found a satisfactory way to judge the supporting cast of a great quarterback, especially when that cast plays most their career with that quarterback, since one of the marks of a great quarterback is suppose to be the ability to make everybody around them better. How much of Marvin Harrison’s success can be attributed to Peyton Manning? I have no idea.

        Finally, Dungy might be in the Hall of Fame and he might have been a very good coach, but in my opinion,
        7 years of Dungy + 10 years of Other <<<<<<<< 16 years of Bill Belichick.

        • Adam
          • Of course! I remember reading this article now. It’s very good and puts to numbers something that anecdotally has rung true to me since the start of Brady’s career: “Brady’s teammates were clutch and Manning’s teammates were chokers.”

            If I knew how to make GIFs, I would illustrate this by showing Adam Vinatieri making the field goal in the snow against Oakland, followed by Mike Vanderjagt shanking the ball into the stands against Pittsburgh.

            • Adam

              Haha yes, those two GIFs side by side would be worth a thousand words!

        • Tom

          There’s a lot to discuss regarding Brady and Manning and everyone has their opinion, but there’s one thing that to me isn’t even up for discussion: Brady has had the advantage of having *one* coach his entire career, and that coach might be one of the greatest there ever was. It doesn’t mean Brady isn’t the GOAT I’m actually fine with that – he’s just proved himself over and over again in the biggest moments, it’s all on film and it’s a no-brainer. That dude has ice in his veins, can read defenses and go through progressions probably faster than any QB in history (Brad O. and Bryan F. would know more about this of course).

          But you’ll never convince me that that coach advantage he has/had somehow washes out when we look at Mora, Dungy and Caldwell, or that Manning was his own offensive coordinator. It’s not even close.

          Brady is not the GOAT without Belichick…there’s just no doubt in my mind. Think about it this way: do we even ask this question when we’re talking about Aaron Rodgers? Do we even think for a second that McCarthy has much of an impact on Rodgers? Yes, I know he has *some* impact, but would you say “a lot”? Don’t we just look at Rodgers and think “That guy would be lights out on any team, period”. Do we think that Johnny Unitas’ coaches made him great? Heck, didn’t Johnny say, “A quarterback does not come into his own, until he can tell the coach to go to hell.”?

          Sorry for the rant.

          • Adam

            Couldn’t have said it better myself.

          • Paul

            just to put this out there, but as of the end of the 2016 season, every coach Peyton Manning played with has a better winning percentage without manning then Bill Belichick has without Tom Brady:

            Gary Kubiak: 75-73 with a poor expansion Houston Texans and the 2015-2016 Broncos (excluding Manning’s injured games)

            John Fox: 82-94 with Carolina (which he coached to the Superbowl in 03) and Chicago

            Tony Dungy: 54-42 with Tampa Bay which was a laughingstock franchise before he came

            Jim Caldwell: 29-35: making the terrible lions franchise relevant is a pretty big accomplishment, plus he was the replacement OC for Baltimore in the 12′ playoffs when Joe Flacco had one of the greatest postseasons ever.

            Jim Mora: 93-74 with the terrible Saints Franchise

            Bill Belichick’s coaching record without Tom Brady: 55-63, 36-44 with the Browns and 19-19 with the Patriots. and I know people will say that he was rebuilding the bad browns organization, but its not true, he coached 5 years, the browns record the previous 5 years before he arrived, 44-34-1. The Patriots previous 5 years before he arrived, 54-42, with a Superbowl appearance. Bill Belichick took over two moderately successful organizations and simply wasn’t successful. 118 games is a hell of a big sample size to show if you’re a good coach or not. the Patriots were 5-13 in the 2000 season and the 2 games of the 01′ season before Brady started, averaging 16 points a game, the remainder of the season they went 11-3 and averaged 25 ppg. Since then Bill Belichick has a 183-52 record with Tom Brady as his Starting QB, and averages 29 ppg.

            Bill Belichick is famous as a defensive coach, but according to pro-football-reference, the patriots defense has contributed negative EPA in 6 of the Patriots 7 Superbowls (01 the only positive performance). Outside of fantastic defenses in 03 and 06, the Patriots have had great defenses in 04 and 07′, and largely good defenses since. even the 2016 unit that was 1st in points scored was only 16th according to football outsiders. but no team in NFL history has been as consistently excellent in offense as the Patriots from 2004-2016, and as Bill Belichick never had any reasonable success in points scored before Tom Brady, and has been historically amazing since he became the QB, its pretty clear who benefitted the most from their partnership. Bill Belichick has been a wildly successful coach, with Tom Brady, but has not been better than Tom Landry, Don Shula, or any of the other great coaches who had tremendous success with multiple qbs and situations. He simply had no appreciable accomplishments without Tom Brady, when those coaches did.

            As far as Manning and Brady are concerned, they are 1A and 1B as the best QBs of their generation, maybe all time, in whichever order you choose. I feel they are completely equal, but hey that’s just me, I’m just thankful I got to grow up watching them both play, wish I had watched them more really.

            • eag97a

              A very nuanced observation. My opinion is the 2 are very close as to not matter and probably not quantifiable. People do tend to gloss over and even forget BB’s Browns tenure. Had some success but not overly so with only 1 playoff win.

              • Tom

                My apologies, but for some reason, I can’t reply directly to Paul (no button for it?), so I’m doing it here.

                Paul, I can’t argue with your numbers, and you make a good case. I believe there are problems when we just say “Well, this coach had such-and-such a record over here, and now he’s got this, without this QB and with this QB, etc”, but, without any other numbers to look at, we have to start there. So you’ve got some good points.

                I can only say that, for me, things get kind of weird when we go down this road of Belichick not being *that great* of a coach, or that Mike McCarthy has had an equal influence on Aaron Rodgers, or that Shula and Ewbank deserve recognition for Johnny Unitas’ greatness. None of it is wrong, but it just doesn’t pass “my” eyeball test, or just my general knowledge of the history of the game (which, admittedly, is why we delve in to these numbers, that’s fair). Especially when it comes to Rodgers…we’ve seen him make plays, over and over again, that have nothing to do with coaching or scheme or even his receivers. These are amazing plays, from a guy who is absolutely gifted, and to think that somehow McCarthy has anything to do with that doesn’t make sense to me. Belichick, on the other hand, has complete control over that whole team, this isn’t disputed, and Brady has been with that guy his whole career. Do we really have to go down this road and talk about BB’s uncanny ability to get the right players? Is this all Brady?

                As far as the EPA thing goes, let’s forget about that. Heck, a single play can be worth 7 points (Delhomme’s bomb to Muhammad in ’03), so we’d have to get all wrapped up in single plays, etc. New England’s defenses in the Super Bowls haven’t been lights out, but they haven’t been horrible either. Holding the 2016 Falcons to +7.6 EPA is hardly a failure.

                Bottom line for me: Brady has been good for Belichick and Belichick has been good for Brady and these two things can coexist. Call it the perfect storm or whatever you want, but I don’t think I’ll ever be convinced that Brady having that HOF coach for the entirety of his career hasn’t been a BIG advantage for him, more so than A LOT of other coach/QB duos. Doesn’t mean he’s not the GOAT, though, that’s another argument.

                • Paul

                  What you’ve said is true, and I certainly believe the Patriots and Bill Belichick have benefitted Brady, I mean does anyone think he would be that successful if he was drafted by Detroit, I certainly don’t, and I’m a huge Brady Fan. But i simply want to add different angles to the argument, and I think Brady has had at least an equal, if not more, influence on the success of the Patriots and Bill Belichick. From my perspective, there is a greater amount of evidence of Tom Brady’s greatness than Bill Belichick, but again, its hard to be certain seeing as Brady has never started an NFL game without Belichick. Unless he plays for another 7 years like he says he will, and Belichick retires, we may never know.

                  Now on EPA, I realize it doesn’t tell the whole story, but that pass you mention was a touchdown bomb, so that single play did account for 24% of Carolinas points, that’s a pretty significant failure on the Patriots defense. Just trying to point out that the Patriots haven’t been great dominant defenses, like the 2013 Seahawks, 2015 Broncos, 2008 Steelers, and countless other great defensive performances. They’ve been largely good not great. But ill easily concede that they’ve still provided better support than Manning’s, or Rodgers outside of 2010s great defense, just not all time dominant as some people like to insinuate.

                  • eag97a

                    TB doesn’t need to Moss, Welker or Gronk to win; http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/tom-brady-doesnt-need-gronk-or-moss-or-welker-to-win/

                    TB has more influence on the success of the Pats than BB;https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/brady-vs-belichick-whos-to-blame-for-the-patriots-insufferable-success/

                    According to 538 at least…

                    • Tom

                      Just noticing these 538 articles…will jump in to them, might change my mindset on some things!

                    • Paul

                      I’ve read them, good articles but even though they support my hypothesis, the author doesn’t really explain his methodology.

                  • Tom

                    Agreed. It’s very hard to entangle these guys, there’s all kinds of angles to this as you noted. Of course, a case can be made that Brady has been more of a benefit to Belichick than the other way around, I’m alright with that. I was mainly pointing out that I’m convinced that Brady really thrived under that coach, and that perhaps he would not have had the same career had he been on a team with a less talented coach, or where the coaches changed, etc. But you’re right, that can be said of other QB’s, but, as I noted, I don’t put Rodgers or Unitas in that group, and that’s alright if we disagree on that. It’s impossible to measure this kind of thing, but I like attempting to do so anyway.

                    So the coach relationship doesn’t “lessen” the greatness of these guys, but I think it’s part of the story.

                    As far as Brady/Manning goes, hell I don’t know…Brad O. and Bryan Frye no more about this stuff. I’m pretty settled on Brady being the GOAT simply because he has played well in the big games too many times to be ignored. It’s not that he has the rings, it’s that he’s played well in those games…not perfect, and sure there’s some good fortune involved, but he’s always been able to take advantage of that good fortune. I’ve run Win Probability numbers on all his Super Bowls (and yes, it’s a funky stat especially if you’re using a formula, but I like it anyway) and in each of Brady’s Super Bowls, he has a positive WPA….his ANY/A stats might not look that great – he’s never had a game like Montana except for perhaps the Carolina game – but he makes those plays at the end, and he’s done this many times over. His “worst” SB in ’07 I still have him at +18% WPA, and yeah, this comes solely from that last scoring drive (which is typical of his games). So…the coach is part of his success, but he can still be the GOAT. Discussion for another time: while I think Brady is most likely the GOAT, I have Montana as the Super Bowl GOAT. Discussion for another time…

        • WR

          I think you need to do some more research. Brady and Manning’s offensive supporting casts have not been close overall. Brady has had 2 seasons of Moss, and 7 years of Gronkowski. But over the last 6 seasons, Gronk has missed 30% of NE’s regular season games to injury. He’s also missed 3 postseasons, and played hurt in the 2011 Super Bowl. So he’s missed a lot of time, and beyond those two guys, Brady’s best weapons have been guys like Welker, Edelman, Deion Branch, Aaron Hernandez, and Troy Brown. Now those guys are all decent players, and Welker made 2 all-pro teams, but he’s a glorified possession receiver, isn’t he? (And Welker was used the same way with Manning, too.)

          Compare that to Manning, who has had 11 years of Harrison, 10 years of Wayne, and 4 years of Demarius Thomas, a span that covers his entire career. And those guys have been supported, at various times, by guys like Clark, Pollard, Julius Thomas, Decker, Stokley, Emmanuel Sanders, Edgerrin James, and Pierre Garcon. Do you really think Manning would have traded the weapons on the 2004 Colts for the 2004 Patriots, or the 2006 Colts for the 2006 Patriots, or the 2013 Broncos for the 2013 Patriots? Come on. It’s not even a question.

          Brady’s had his advantages, as well, but I don’t see any rational way to deny that Peyton has enjoyed the luxury of playing with very talented receivers throughout his career. Brady has far more often been asked to win with unimpressive talent around him, in both the regular season and the playoffs.

          I’ve learned a lot from posting here, but I can now see that a lot of the arguments that are made by the other side are recycled and reused, over and over. People who defend Manning are arguing a static position, and I just don’t see at this point, how one can sustain the argument that there’s a significant gap between the two. Even Brady’s haters have to concede that he has the numbers. He has the best passing stats over the last 2 seasons, the best passing stats over the last 10 seasons, and has matched Manning statistically since at least 2005. And that post-2005 sample doesn’t include 3 Super Bowl wins. And there’s no way the Patriots win any of those 3 Super Bowls without Brady, especially the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

          Brady’s career amounts to Dan Marino in the regular season, and Montana in the postseason, or very close to it. And I just don’t see how someone with that resume doesn’t have a case to be the best ever. And I’ve learned a lot about this stuff over the last couple years, and eventually I figured out that the Brady skeptics don’t have the ability to let their position evolve. They end up with flawed answers, because they’re working in pursuit of a predetermined conclusion, and not a thorough examination of the evidence.

          When I see comments in this forum about kickers or Manning being his own coordinator, I know I’m dealing with someone who is engaged in myth making. The comments about Vanderjagt miss ignore the circumstances that led up to that play against the Steelers, and the similar comments about Vinatieri ignore the fact, for example, that before hitting the game-winner against Carolina, Vinatieri had missed two FG attempts earlier in the game. The idea that the Vanderjagt miss was the only reason the Colts lost that day, or that Vinatieri carried the Patriots to victory, are absurd propositions. They’re also examples of exactly the kind of reliance on small sample sizes that the stat heads are supposed to be against. Vanderjagt retired as the most accurate FG kicker in NFL history, so the proposition that playing with him was a disadvantage overall, because he missed one field goal in 2006, is another absurdity.

          The coordinator myth about Manning is never backed up with any substance. There’s no video, or interview, or testimony from anyone associated with those teams that proves that Manning was in charge of the playbook. If you think about it, by expecting Manning to be a coach as well as a players, the Colts would have put themselves at a huge disadvantage. But in the eyes of his advocates, Manning has to be more than just a mere quarterback. And claiming that he didn’t need a coach, or that Tony Dungy doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame, is a way of making him be that.

          I don’t see how anyone can argue, at this point, that there’s a big difference between Brady and Manning. I know for some people that won’t be a popular position, but the differences we see between them can be explained by looking at the different circumstances each guy has played in. But for many people, that’s not the answer they want.

          • Tom

            I like what you’ve written, but I’m a little confused by the last comment…I don’t think anyone here is saying there is a big difference between them; I don’t think anyone is arguing that. I’m thinking some people take Manning, others Brady, but certainly no one here thinks one of these guys is *significantly* better than the other? I sure don’t.

            • Adam

              Exactly. Even though I frequently argue for Manning over Brady, I still think Brady is 99% as a great as Manning. When we’re comparing two of the all time legends, it really comes down to splitting hairs.

            • Four Touchdowns

              I don’t think Peyton is definitely better and as admitted, I am a Peyton Manning guy.

              I think it’s certainly possible Brady is better and he will definitely go down in history as having the better career since his stats and number of championships are both considered elite. In my mind, the only way to truly know who is better is to go to an alternate dimension where Brady had to run the Moore offense in Indy and Manning had to run the EP offense in Boston, and then see who did better in each other’s shoes.

              As I wrote in the article, this was more of a “isn’t this interesting” rather than an attempt to make a case for Manning.

              My only arguments are against some of the reasoning used to “prove” Brady is better — rings, “clutch”, no weapons, etc. In my mind, his DYAR scores and PFF grades are far better cases in proving him the GOAT than any of that tired “sports radio” logic.

          • eag97a

            And just to add PM did not call the protections for the run game; http://www.patspulpit.com/2016/10/12/13254632/dan-koppen-tom-brady-makes-pre-snap-calls-that-peyton-manning-did-not-jerod-mayo-donta-hightower. So him controlling everything at the line of scrimmage is somewhat of a myth also.

            • Four Touchdowns

              Interesting, but we’ve actually seen and heard Manning make Mike calls and run game audibles. A key part of the Manning audible system is to look at how many guys are in the box and audible from a pass to a run if the numbers are favorable for pounding the rock.

              Not saying he’s wrong, but it flies in the face of some of the things we’ve seen and heard.

              • eag97a

                Manning makes the mike calls during pass plays and he calls the audibles to run plays but the center (saturday, koppen etc.) calls out the protection/blocking schemes for running plays. This is well documented and I have to point it out so people will know.

                • Four Touchdowns

                  Fair enough.

          • Paul

            You could argue that, if it was true, being his own coordinator wasn’t beneficial to the colts, seeing as the Patriots use a cooridinator to call plays, except that odd 2010-2011 era after Josh McDaniels left when they had no official OC, and have been the greatest offense dynasty in NFL history since 2004, that Manning calling his own plays with better offensive talent around him and couldn’t match the same success.

            Anyway, here is an article from Neil Paine at fivethirthyeight.com, who says from 2004-2013 Tom Brady had the best 10 year statistical peak of any QB in history, when taking into account opponent strength and weather. https://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/tom-bradys-statistical-place-in-the-pantheon-of-nfl-qbs/

          • Just a few more thoughts on this.

            1. “They end up with flawed answers, because they’re working in pursuit of a predetermined conclusion, and not a thorough examination of the evidence.”

            C’mon, that’s a really condescending thing to say, especially given that in my original comment I indicated that I would change my mind on Brady v. Manning *if* new evidence presents itself (e.g., Brady continuing to play like a top-level QB into his 40s). I have no predetermined conclusions on this subject. I have no rooting interest and couldn’t care less who’s better. Based on the analyses I’ve read on the subject (including this one) I go with Manning by very small, but not totally trivial margin.

            2. “Brady and Manning’s offensive supporting casts have not been close overall.”

            As I said before, I’m not going to argue this one way or the other until I see a convincing analysis that disaggregates a QB from his supporting cast. You might be right, though.

            3. “The comments about Vanderjagt miss…”

            My comments about Vanderjagt were mostly a joke. I wasn’t making an argument about specific kicks or kickers. My contention is that in the early 2000s Brady had better playoff support from his teammates than did Manning, and this is a factor in their disparity in postseason Ws and Super Bowl rings. This is backed up by Adam’s article to which he linked. I was saying that the Vanderjagt and Vinatieri kicks could *illustrate* the findings of that article (in a humorous way, IMO) — not that they should be used as standalone arguments for anything.

            4. “I don’t see how anyone can argue, at this point, that there’s a big difference between Brady and Manning. ”

            As others have pointed out, nobody is saying this. I think what makes this argument so compelling is that reasonable people can see either side. There isn’t a definitive *right* answer. I’m a Manning guy (barely and possible just for now). But I think Brady is undeniably great too. So we are on the same page here.

            • Adam

              1. “They end up with flawed answers, because they’re working in pursuit of a predetermined conclusion, and not a thorough examination of the evidence.”

              Hahahahahahahahaha. This is what we call a lack of self-awareness.

            • Paul

              I think the largest difference between them is Brady typically takes less money so the Patriots can spend more on other aspects of the team. The salary cap creates a limited capital a team has, and Brady taking less allows other aspects of the team to be better. So yes, I think Brady has gotten better support, but its also a outcome of him taking less money so the Patriots can be more competitive.

          • Four Touchdowns

            WR, I can appreciate what you’re saying but beware of being the pot calling the kettle black —

            “I’ve learned a lot from posting here, but I can now see that a lot of the arguments that are made by the other side are recycled and reused, over and over.”

            Your central points are the same ones I’ve read over and over again through the years as well, to be honest:

            1) Manning has better weapons (probably the number one thing cited to bypass the raw stats)
            2) Manning plays indoors, Brady plays in the cold (probably the number two thing cited to bypass the raw stats)
            3) Brady has more wins and rings (the biggest point people like to pound on)
            4) Manning is a choker in the playoffs, Brady is clutch (the second biggest point people like to pound on)
            5) Belichick’s not actually so good, he’s just a little better than Tony Dungy (not the words used, but it boils down to that — act like Belichick is bad by citing his losing record pre-Patriots and prop up Dungy as a HOF coach)

            I’ve been reading variations on those same points over and over for a long time now. Which is fine, those are fair points to argue if you feel you can prove them, but let’s not act like the Manning fans are the only ones making the same points over and over.

  • For a tiny bit of context, this should include 50 home games, 42 away games, and 2 neutral site games for Manning; and it should include 52 home games, 40 away games, and 3 neutral site games for Brady. I’d call that a wash. That’s about 32% of Manning’s career games and 35% of Brady’s — no small portion.

    It’s not hard to see Brady doing enough post-2015 to offset the value Manning contributed pre-2001.

  • Adam

    The sample size of common opponents is large enough that the results mirror the overall numbers – Manning slightly ahead in both samples. This tells us that Manning’s and Brady’s full career numbers are a valid comparison tool on their own, which is a relief to those of us who aren’t as dedicated as James 😉

  • Pat Farrar

    As a retired engineer, I’m fond of stats; but the bottom line for me is that Manning is just more likeable. I will grant that Brady is prettier. Guess I value humor over beauty. Everybody who met my late husband or old boyfriends knows that.

  • Mikkel Graff

    The fact that manning played in af dome for most of his career home games does in fact matter a lot. Not only does it reflect positive on his stats sheet, but it also reflects negative on his defenses over the years. This furthers the narrative that Manning has had overall bad defences, when you can attribute a lot of that to the fact, that defending under optimal conditions is way harder than defending in 30 degrees fahrenheit with winds blowing.
    As long as you have had two QB’s playing under such different conditions throughout their careers, comparing is pretty much impossible.
    And do to the fact that Manning has had a lot of 1st or 2nd seeds over the years, he has played indoors for many of those playoff games, whereas Brady has played outside in Jan. in Foxboro.

  • Adam

    WR said:

    1. “They end up with flawed answers, because they’re working in pursuit of a predetermined conclusion, and not a thorough examination of the evidence.”

    The irony of YOU making this comment is pure gold. In the hundreds of comments you’ve made over the years, both here and at FO, I’ve yet to see you make a single intellectually honest argument. Every philosophy / viewpoint you’ve espoused just happens to favor Tom Brady, without a single exception. It also just so happens that you’re a Patriots and Wolverines fan. Do you really expect us to believe that your arguments are 100% objective with no predetermined conclusion in mind? How stupid do you think we are? You have demonstrated, many times over, an overwhelming lack of self-awareness, and this comment is the crowning example.

    • WR

      Like I’ve said to Brad Oremland before, clearly my comments have touched a nerve with you. You accuse me of lacking intellectual honesty, but you don’t base that claim on anything more than the fact that I root for the Patriots. You should judge the merit of my arguments by what they contain, not which team I root for.

      Nothing I have said in this forum is inconsistent with my underlying point: Air yard and YAC rates are not a reliable basis upon which to judge a quarterback’s skill level. When Brady’s air yard rate goes up and then back down again, I don’t see this as a change in his inherent skill level. When Peyton’s air yard rate goes down and then back up again, I don’t see it as a change in skill level. When Aaron Rodgers sees his rate of air yards go up and down, it isn’t because he suddenly loses skill, and then regains it. All of those guys are very skilled, a fact attested to by their individual passing stats. We see too much variation in the rate at which these guys produce air yards and YAC from year to year, to be able to use them as reliable indicators of skill level.

      I’m potentially open to being convinced that I’m wrong about that, but your attempts to do so, so far, have not been convincing. The fact that you respond in such an angry and accusatory manner, when I have done nothing more than be a Patriots fan and be willing to speak my mind, says a lot more about you than it does about me.

      • Tom

        Well, to be fair WR, your statement “They end up with flawed answers, because they’re working in pursuit of a predetermined conclusion”, etc., was not cool; in the same way that it wouldn’t be cool if someone said it to you.

  • Four Touchdowns

    On a side note, where do you guys think the differences in offensive systems play in all this?

    I actually think a lot of the difference in stats is in the systems each guy runs. Peyton Manning started his career with the Tom Moore offense, which is traced back to the vertical Don Coryell offense, designing to attack the field vertically. Tom Brady uses a version of the Erhardt-Perkins system that relies on a lot of West Coast style short-passing concepts, designed to attack the field horizontally. You can actually see this in their career YAC totals — roughly 42% of Manning’s yards come from YAC while about 48% of Brady’s come from YAC, as Adam points out earlier in this thread.

    This bit from Wikipedia sums up the differences well —

    “The Coryell offense attacked vertically through seams, while the West Coast offense moved laterally as much as vertically through angles on curl and slant routes. The Coryell offense had lower completion percentages than the West Coast offense, but the returns were greater on a successful play. “The Coryell offense required more talented players, a passer who could get the ball there, and men who can really run—a lot of them,” said Walsh. He said the West Coast offense was developed out of necessity to operate with less talented players. He noted, “[Coryell] already had the talent and used it brilliantly.”

    Looking at 2015 deep versus short passing numbers also illustrates that idea, since these trends have always been there —

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/661612e180fcb799973cda1191f6d2c91b20c83de614cc3b948ed6dd635e89d3.png

    Deep passes carry more yards per attempt and more TDs per attempt — but also have more interceptions, incompletions, and thus a lower overall passer rating. So basically, a vertical passing system is more of a feast or famine system — you get more home runs but more strike outs as well.

    People bring up Manning’s better receivers but in order to run a Coryell / Moore system, you must have great WRs that can get open downfield or the system just won’t work.

    Now the real interesting thing is what happened when Adam Gase brought over some of the Patriots’ short-passing game to Denver when he took over in 2013 as OC. Despite not being 100% physically and having a disastrous 2015 season, Manning’s Denver numbers are superior to his Indy ones. Better completion rate (66.5% to 64.9%), better TD rate (6.5% to 5.5%), better INT percentage (2.7 to 2.4, but this was probably even greater pre-2015), more yards per game (295 to 264) and a better passer rating (101.7 to 94.9, even with a 67.9 rating for 2015).

    I’d be very curious to see what he could have done in the Moore / Gase hybrid if he had been 100% physically. Oh well.

    • Tom

      This is really good, very informative. Thanks for this! Yes…what would Manning have looked like in the other system and vice-versa? Fascinating…I’m assuming both QB’s would be just fine in either system, but the idea is really interesting…

      • James

        Tom Brady wouldn’t have succeeded in a Coryell offense. His deep passing abilities have been notoriously mediocre for his entire career.

    • Paul

      That some tremendous info. My only qualm is Manning had a terrific season in 2012 before Adam Gase was the OC, and I don’t think anyone would argue 2013 was better than Manning’s 2004, so I’m not sure if a change in offensive philosophy would have benefited Manning.

  • James

    This thread must have one of the lowest “top level comments” to “total comments” ratios on the internet. Before this post it was 8 out of 177!