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In 5 years, one of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees will be the all-time leader in passing touchdowns. Currently, Manning is the passing touchdown king with 539 touchdowns, but will Brees or Brady catch him?

A year ago, I wrote about the fascinating touchdown race between Brady and Brees: at the end of the 2015 season, both had thrown 428 career touchdown passes. Last year, Brees threw 37 while Brady threw 28 in 12 games, so Brees is currently up 9 on Brady, 465-456.

But when I measured Brees and Brady last year, I measured them by calendar year. Both threw their first touchdown pass in 2001, so I thought a calendar year-by-year chart would be cool. But it probably makes more sense to compare the passers year-by-year by age, as I did yesterday with Brees and Manning for passing yards. That’s because Brees is about a year and a half younger than Brady (in turn, Brady is about a year and a third younger than Manning, but we haven’t compared them by calendar year).

So if we plot their passing touchdowns by age, Brees appears to have a huge leg up on Brady. That is, unless Brady plays until he’s 45:

Through age 31, Manning has an enormous edge on both players: he’s up 71 touchdowns on Brees, and 109 on Brady (2008, the year Brady missed, came during his age 31 season.

For their careers, Manning averaged 2.02 passing touchdowns per game, while Brees is at 1.996 and Brady at 1.92. For Brady, he and Manning both missed a season, but Brady didn’t throw any touchdown passes until he was 24 years old. Manning, meanwhile, had 52 through then (although it’s worth noting that Manning is “old” for his age-year, given that he was born in March, and Brady is “young” for his age-year, since he was born in August.) Given that Manning averages more touchdown passes per game *and* he started with a 52-TD head start, the odds of Brady catching him hinge entirely on Brady lasting a lot longer than Manning did. Brady is 83 touchdown passes behind Manning, and turns 40 years old in August. Manning, of course, never played a game in his 40s. Even if 40-year-old and 41-year-old Tom Brady are as good as in-his-prime Brady, the odds of him getting 83 touchdowns over the next two years are very long: Brady has only thrown 40+ touchdowns once in his career. So Brady would need 3 years of really good play — averaging 28 touchdown passes per year — to break the record. That seems pretty unlikely, too.

Brees, on the other hand, is in a different boat. He didn’t miss a season in his prime, like Brady or Manning. He did have a slower start, but that extra year really helped. Here is Manning’s lead over Brees in touchdown passes by age: he was up by 82 through age 28, though Brees chopped that down to +36 through age 34. At age 35 — the year Manning missed — Brees threw 33 touchdowns, bringing the margin down to just +3. Manning’s first two years in Denver helped bump that lead, tho:

The real question is how will Brees age. If he ages like Manning, he’s in trouble, since he’s already 26 touchdown passes behind Manning through age 37. Brees is also two months “older” than Manning by calendar year, since he was born in January. But even if Brees can defy age for a little bit longer, he’s no lock: he threw 69 touchdowns the last two years, and doing that over the next two years would still leave him needing to throw touchdown passes at age 40. Only two (Brady will almost certainly make three) have thrown 75+ touchdowns at age 40, and Manning showed us that the dropoff is usually pretty steep with older quarterbacks. I’d probably call this one a coin flip. What do you think?

  • I’d probably give an edge to Brady over Brees and Manning at their respective ages. Bellichick, being the GOAT that he is, went with the dink and dunk passing game years ago to compensate for Brady’s weaknesses and probably a desire to not invest a ton in the Oline. Whereas Brees’ offense asks him to use his instincts and athleticism to avoid pressure in the pocket. He’s very good at it. But that seems like something more likely to decline than Brady’s ability to read a defense and get rid of the ball quickly.

    And unlike Manning and Brees, Brady hasn’t had any neck or shoulder problems that could limit his velocity. If anything, Brady’s velocity has gotten better over his career. So physically Brady seems most likely to keep aging well. And playing for the GOAT I’m sure the quality of his teammates, play calling, etc. will keep giving him TD opportunities even if he starts to decline.

    • Adam

      I pretty much agree with this. If Brady stays healthy, I imagine he’ll toss ~30 TD’s in each of the next two seasons. After that, his career will come full circle and he’ll be utilized as a game manager like he was from 2001-03. Belichick knows how to cover his players’ weaknesses, and I think his scheme is ideal for Brady continuing to throw 22-25 TD’s per year into his mid-40’s.

      • Albert Heisenberg

        The Brady hater comes out 😉

        Does Brady get First round picks Demarius, 4.3 forty, 6’4, Thomas too? And Eric Decker? Or Prob Bowler Emmanuel Sanders? “Belichick knows how to cover his players’ weaknesses” Lol yes, that’s why Belichick seems to get out-manuevered in every Super Bowl for the exception of his first. Tom Coughlin outcoached him TWICE lol…He’s lucky the GOAT keeps taking below market money and leaving him tons of cap space to pay his defense otherwise he’d be in trouble. He basically threw 30 tds in 12 games, the majority of which he didn’t have Gronk. If you prorate his season, he throws ~40tds.

        • WR

          Albert, you’re wasting your time. People like Adam aren’t interested in looking at the evidence you’re talking about. He’ll never acknowledge the superior talent that Manning has played with, or the fact that Belichick had a losing record before Brady showed up.

    • WR

      It’s amazing to me that I come to this site and still see comments like this one from DKDAVE, suggesting that Brady cannot throw downfield. Maybe he doesn’t watch as many games as I do, but I don’t see how you can look at Brady’s performance in 2016 and claim he failed to throw downfield effectively. Never mind previous seasons like 2007, when Brady led the league in air yards, and was just as effective throwing deep to guys like Stallworth and Gaffney as he was throwing to Moss.

      There’s a guy at another site who studies deep passing, and claims that Brady cannot throw downfield. I showed him the splits that when throwing to Edelman, Brady completed 30% of his deep pass attempts in 2016. But when throwing to anyone else, he completed 60%, which would have been 2nd in the league to Matt Ryan. Do you know what the guy did? He deleted my comments from the site, and took the time to mock me on twitter, for the crime of disagreeing with him.

      This is what you get from the statheads who hate Brady. Show them the evidence suggesting they’re wrong, and they will just ignore you and mock what you have to say. I actually feel sorry for the Brady-haters. They’re stuck making outdated, easily defeated arguments over and over again, and as a result, they’re never going to figure out why they are wrong.

      It’s funny to me that DKDAVE says that Belichick went to the “dink and dunk passing game years ago to compensate for Brady’s weaknesses”. What’s funny is that if you look at the numbers and watch the video, it’s clear that the Patriots were running a much more vertical offense in 2003 and 2004, when Charlie Weis was the coordinator. So if Brady has a physical inability to throw downfield, how was he able to do it so early in his career? It’s just another example of how, when discussing Brady’s career, this guy has no idea what he is talking about.

      • I was actually suggesting that the dink and dunk was about protecting Brady from pressure, which is both a weakness regarding movement in the pocket (look at his struggles against the Jason Taylor Dolphins) and about protecting him from injury. I have no idea what his downfield passing numbers look like. I’d imagine they’re fine.

        • WR

          OK, sorry for jumping down your throat. When I first read what you said, I thought you were saying something else. One of the problems with internet communication is that it can be very easy to misinterpret what someone else has written. Now that I know that you meant the weakness of dealing with pressure, I agree with what you said.

          • That’s true about internet communication. And I mostly only see Brady play against the Dolphins. So thanks for affirming what I would see even against bad Dolphins teams who still tended to have good pass rushers who could make things difficult for him. When they changed schemes and he was throwing the ball before the Jason Taylors and Cam Wakes could get to him they typically beat the shit out of us.

        • Four Touchdowns

          It might not even be about protecting him from pressure — it might just be the system they have set up and what Brady’s good at. He’s one of the most efficient QBs ever in terms of metrics regardless.

          The numbers and success rate don’t lie. A touchdown pass thrown one yard or 99 yards is still worth 7 points.

          It’s like they say — I don’t care how you get it done, as long as you get it done!

          • That’s true. I am speculating on the pressure and injury thing. But just knowing anecdotally that Brady, like most QBs, struggle with pressure, I’d be willing to be it’s something Bellichick thought about. But the main driver could certainly be that without a Randy Moss it’s just more efficient to dink and dunk.

            • Albert Heisenberg

              It’s not that he hasnt had a Moss, he hasn’t had ANY deep threat. Moss is the Super Freak, a one of a kind. Brady doesn’t even need that, all Brady needs is an AJ Green or even a Martevius Bennet (Steelers) type of deep threat – a guy with speed and a big body. Brady is throwing to midgets who possess a SMALLER catch radius. Amendola would be out of the league if he wasn’t catching passes from Brady (he did get cut by 4 teams prior to coming to NE).

              How this has turned into an insult rather than a complement speaks to the depths with which people will try to diminish everything he does. I actually think Belichick, prior to this year, has done a mediocre job surrounding Brady with premier offensive weapons (remember Aaron Dobson, Chad Jackson,and Kembrel Thompkins – all no longer in the league). If Gronk didnt have an extensive injury history in history he would’ve NEVER gotten Gronk.

              • I think the whole “give him better WRs and he’ll produce better” applies to literally every QB ever, even the ones like Marino, Favre, Rodgers who are pretty system-proof. So my point was more about how much of a freak (or Super Freak, as you put it) Randy Moss is. For me, I know Jerry Rice has the insane production that no one will ever top, but gun to my head I’m not sure I take him over Randy Moss.

      • Joshua Highhouse

        Well the fact that u clearly dont c (or want to c) the facts laid out on ppr in blck and white suggest u either cznt read, r blind, or jst plain stupid. IF u actually watch znd study those games, u wld notice brady simply ISNT a dwnfield qb. Its not ho say he CANT get the ball thr, it is jst NOT bradys strong suit. Bellichick is drawing up dink and dunk offense because it wrks, its successful. He dsnt care HOW they win, so long as they WIN. i am a complete football nut, hv been all my life. Im 38 now. I study the game intensly, its my passion. Brady is certainly one of the greats but not because of the rings. That is actually due to bellichick not brady. Brady is the perfect soldier on field for his platoon commander bellichick. Brady is accurate, smart with the ball, great football iq, good footwrk etc. Those things he was taught by bellichick. Honestly brady ended up being picked by the dolphins, chiefs, bills etc he wouldnt hv evn 1 ring. Im not tryn to knock brady, cuz he is great in his own right but he is jst no peyton, he is not the general on the field, hes not the sheriff. IF u truly r a football fanatic, youd knw this to b tru. There is a reason peyton has 5 (should b 6) nfl mvps. There was a study done to include evry game brady, peyton, arrn rdgrs, and brees playd including pst seasons for their entire careers, to determine who is actually the greatest modern day qb. This study took a sickening amount of info and stats frm ech plyrs on evry game they played, to include their teamates, coaches, how many pro bowlers they benefited from, the betting lines (who was suppose to win but didnt, who wasnt suppose to win but did, including evry stat in game, their win to loss ratio, etc.) So manning finished #1, rodgers #2, brees#3 and brady #4. I wish u could read this study because it was actually compiled by a brady patriots fan, yet remained un biased, obviously. Brady is a great qb no doubt, but hes NO peyton, there can only b 1 goat, and he is peyton manning. If u really truly did your homewrk u wld knw tht, whether u choose to accept it is anthr stry..

        • WR

          Trolls gonna troll.

          • Tom

            I like where he says “if u really truly did your homewrk”…

            Leaving out the second “o” in “homework” gives you the standard shortened version of that word…

        • Albert Heisenberg

          You know Brady LED the league in passer rating on throws 20+ Yards downfield right? He was literally #1 in the league on the deep ball this year (and he didn’t even really have a certified deep threat other than Hogan , and Gronk for like 3 games). Trolls gonna troll.

          Funny thing is Manning is the biggest stat padder I’ve ever seen. Fun Fact: Peyton Manning has thrown MORE TD passes from the 1 yard line and goal-line than any other QB in history lol.

          • Richie

            I wouldn’t consider a 1-yard TD pass to be “padding”. The object of the game is to score TD’s.

            Manning has 38 career 1-yard TD’s and Brady has 35 career 1-yard TD’s. Both players attempted roughly 0.7% of their career attempts from the 1-yard line. (Brady was slightly lower at 0.69% and Manning was at 0.76%.)

            Brady has 36 career 2-yard TD’s, and Manning has 23.

    • Richie

      It’s funny to think that this guy is an elite athlete. His looks like the body of an accountant.

      https://media1.popsugar-assets.com/files/thumbor/GXH_bKrXIbz03vq6oK3-F_QSeKY/fit-in/2048xorig/filters:format_auto-!!-:strip_icc-!!-/2017/06/22/950/n/1922398/c3773f1d594c3b36a15624.14036790_edit_img_image_18019874_1498159255/i/Tom-Brady-Sumo-Wrestling-Tokyo-Video-June-2017.jpg

      • Tom

        That’s because CLUTCH is in the *mind* not the *body*…

        • Four Touchdowns

          You’re joking but you’re actually right — Brady isn’t half the athlete a Mike Vick or Terrell Pryor are but for the position he plays, he doesn’t need to be. You don’t need big muscles or ripped abs to read defenses or throw accurately.

          That said, it’s amazing that he can take the punishment he does and keep going. I think his toughness is under-appreciated because he’s a pretty boy.

          • Tom

            Hahaha…yeah, just messing around. And you’re right about his toughness. Maybe one of the best games I ever saw him play (on TV of course) was the 2015 AFC Championship game against Denver. He just took a beating from Von Miller and Company and he kept coming…

      • Yeah we generally have too narrow definition of what an athlete is, mainly running and jumping. That’s certainly a big part of it. But hand eye coordination and the ability to quickly process information are skills, if not athletic abilities if we broaden the definition, that are much more important to certain positions in sports, QB being one of them.

    • Albert Heisenberg

      The GOAT is Brady. Belichick…well, I have a Vegas bet ready that he doesn’t win another SB without TB12.

      And, btw, the “Dink and Dunk” passing game is a nice insult, but if it were so easy, why doesn’t every QB do it? Belichick is riding the genius of his QB who can adapt to ANY system and Belichick has gotten away with not surrounding NE with prime talent (hardly any first rounders a la Odell, or AJ Green, etc) than can really turn nothing into something. Charlie Weis and Eric Mangini, not to mention Bill O’Brien call him “IBM” because his mental processing capacity is unparalleled. Give Brady AJ Green or Odell and he breaks that 55td record. Hogan and Amendola would be trash without for Brady, but alas the Hoodie gets all the credit even though it was his idiotic play calling in the 2015 AFCCG (going for 4th down 4 times) that cost them that game instead of kicking FGS.

  • Stanko Lovrek

    Manning played a majority​ of games with a dome team and finished in the rarified air in Denver. Brees played his entire career with a dome team. Brady not only never played with a dome team he plays in New England. Put Manning or Brees in say Chicago for a home stadium and they wouldn’t even be in the equation

    • LightsOut85

      *75% of his starts in a dome. He wasn’t SB-winner Brees in San Diego, but he still played here or 58 starts 😀

      • Stanko Lovrek

        You are 100% correct. But San Diego might be just as good as playing for a dome team.

        • Richie

          An outdoor stadium can have wind effects. It does rain in San Diego on occasion. It can also get very hot. The grass can be less reliable than turf. And the Chargers sometimes had to deal with dirt fields when the stadium was shared with the Padres.

          Yeah, playing in an outdoor stadium in San Diego is nicer than an outdoor stadium in bad weather cities, but a dome is still much more reliable than an outdoor stadium.

          • Stanko Lovrek

            I concur, well said.

    • Algaer

      I agree.

      • Tom

        I don’t….this can never even remotely be shown to be true. The fact the Manning played his whole career in a dome tells us almost nothing about how he would play his entire career in an outdoor stadium.

        I understand that QBs probably play better in a dome, but we can’t just assume that Manning or any other QB wouldn’t learn how to play in any stadium that’s his home.

        • Ronnie raygun

          It’s just statistically speaking playing in could weather outside more does have an effect and we’re talking about .1 td game difference between them now.

          • Tom

            Agreed. Yes, playing in a dome most likely helps…but Manning and Brees are great regardless.

            • Ronnie raygun

              I’m not saying they’re bad at all lol just saying is playing indoors had a slight effect on performance.

              • Tom

                I understand, I’m in agreement with you. Playing in a dome probably helps. My “issue” is with the other poster, Stanko, who suggested that Brees and Manning “wouldn’t even be in the equation” when we talk about passing TD’s because they played in domes.

                • Ronnie raygun

                  Lol no it’s not like if they played outdoors they’d all of a sudden look like Trent dilfer

    • Tom

      Seriously? You really think that Manning or Brees played in Chicago or Green Bay or New England they “wouldn’t be in the equation?” Well where do they rank then? How far down the list are they? And are you saying that these guys wouldnt be able to adapt to their home stadium? Tom Brady grew up in NorCal…was he just naturally better at playing in the cold? I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that two of the greatest talents we’ve ever seen play QB “wouldn’t be in the equation” if they played outside of a dome.

      I don’t buy that. If you want to say that their stats take a hit, fine, but believe me, they’re​ in the equation if they played in Chicago.

      • Stanko Lovrek

        I’m I serious, well yes. Cultler is an example of a good qb having his game and stat line affected playing in cold weather. Nov and Dec. in Chicago, GB, New England, Buffalo and to a lesser extent Pittsburgh, Baltimore , NY is detrimental to piling up qb stats. Plus many of the aforementioned teams play in the same divisions​ that subject them to adverse cold and wind. A good passing day for Rodgers in GB in December is 280yds and a couple TDs. While Brees is in the dome slinging for 400yds and 5 TDs.

        • Tom

          But to say that Manning and Brees “wouldn’t even be in the equation?” You’re serious about that? Basically those guys automatically just become average QB’s? I agree playing in a dome is advantageous…we don’t need any more examples of that, or studies, etc., I’m fine with that. But I’ll never agree that Brees and Manning owe their success (which is what you’re suggesting by saying they wouldn’t be in the equation) to playing in a dome.

          • Stanko Lovrek

            Yes quite serious. The article references total career passing TDs . I didn’t say they are average or below average QBs. Many factors determine career passing TDs. Total games played is a advantage also. But if you are speaking strictly best QB barring simple stats Brees and Manning would not qualify as top 10 QBs to play the game.

            • Tom

              OK, we’ll probably just agree to disagree, but so that I have you correct – is the fact that Manning and Brees both played in domes a large part of why you feel that they don’t “qualify as top 10 QB’s to play the game”. I have to guess that a lot of folks would disagree with you…perhaps Brees may not be in the Top 10 for some lists, but I can’t imagine a list of Top 10 QB’s of all time and Manning isn’t in there. Is Roethlisberger ahead of him, since he plays in Pittsburgh? Maybe you’ve got Cutler ahead of Manning? Where would you put Manning? Top 20? Top 30?

              • Stanko Lovrek

                It is extremely difficult to rate current player’s and teams vs individuals and teams past in any sport. The QB position might be the most difficult considering the constant rule changes that have resulted in more protection for offensive player’s in the NFL. But since you ask Manning is in the conversation for top 30. I would put Big Ben in the same category. Cultler is a good QB but not on the same level as the other two you mentioned.
                Imagine Favre playing his entire career in a dome. I believe if he had everybody else would be in the chase position on the numbers/stat game today.

                • Tom

                  Of course it’s difficult to rate players of different era’s…that’s why websites like this exist, where we take the time to compare QB’s to other QB’s of the same era. Sheesh…yes, some say Marino is still the best, or Unitas, or Otto Graham…and there’s good arguments for each of those.

                  So, no, that’s not the issue. You’re basically saying that a QB that just about everyone sees as one of the most prolific, influential and long lasting to every play the game is only in the Top 30 QB’s of all time. You’re entitled to that opinion obviously, but there’s a lot more going on there than just era…unless (and you’ve never really answered this question) you feel that playing in the dome is some kind of deciding factor.

                  Anyway, I respectfully disagree with what you’re saying; the Favre thing as well. There’s just no way of us knowing how good he would have been playing in a dome…he *probably* would have better numbers, but I doubt that the rest would be chasing him (and yeah, that’s my opinion).

                  • Stanko Lovrek

                    I respect your opinion and the fact you are a Manning fan.

                    • Tom

                      Ah yes, you knew that was coming. Buddy, you don’t have to be Manning fan to think he’s a Top 10 QB…you learn that by watching football games in which Manning is playing as the QB.

                      And incidentally, I think Manning is great, but I don’t think he’s the GOAT, I think Brady is (and I’ve said so before).

                      Below is some light reading for you…these people have Manning in the Top 5…I found these articles literally by typing in “greatest QB of all time”

                      John Clayton has Manning at #3 (Brady #1, Montana #2)
                      http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/18581054/greatest-quarterbacks-all-ranking-john-clayton-picks-tom-brady-new-england-patriots-best-nfl-qb-ever

                      NFL.com has Manning #3, Brady #1a, Montana #1b, Brees #10 (wow, how did he get in there?)
                      http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000724524/article/tom-brady-joe-montana-head-top-10-quarterbacks-in-nfl-history

                      Brad Oremland has Manning at #1, but this was a few years ago:
                      http://www.footballperspective.com/guest-post-brad-oremlands-best-qbs-in-history-1-5/

                      So thanks for respecting my opinion that Manning is better than a Top 30 QB…it’s also the opinion of just about every other football fan I’ve ever met, from Brady lovers to Old School guys, Montana lovers…and about a million rankings on line.

                      (sheesh, it’s easy to troll me…)

                    • t.d.

                      Rodgers is coming for all these guys (at least by rate stats), though he’s the anti-Brady for postseason success (his teams have lost repeatedly in ridiculous ways where he rarely touched the ball at the end)

                    • Tom

                      Totally agree…Rodgers is phenomenal, and I think he’s got a shot at catching those guys. And yeah, I agree that he is somewhat the anti-Brady in the postseason…they both play great in the post-season, but the Packers have lost more games that they should have won…

                    • WR

                      Just FYI, Rodgers hasn’t been any better than Brady statistically since he took over for Favre. Since 2008, they’re in a dead heat for adjusted net yards per attempt. The reason why Rodgers has better career rate stats is because he didn’t play in the era when league-wide passing stats were less impressive. Don’t get me wrong, Rodgers is great. But it’s not clear that he has outperformed guys like Brady, Manning, and Young at their peaks.

                    • Tom

                      WR – I’m not sure what you mean by this:

                      “The reason why Rodgers has better career rate stats is because he didn’t play in the era when league-wide passing stats were less impressive”

                      I think I’m just not reading it right or something…

                    • WR

                      I’m saying that if Rodgers had played several years before 2008, like the other guys did, it’s likely that his career rate stats wouldn’t be quite as good. It’s not clear that Rodgers, in his 9 seasons, has been better than Brady and Manning in their best 9-year stretches. It’s the same effect we see when we compare Brady’s career rate stats to Marino. In absolute terms, Brady’s numbers are better. But once we adjust for era, Marino pulls slightly ahead.

                    • Tom

                      I thought’s what you were saying…just read it weird. And yeah, the change even from 2008 to now has been significant, at least as far as ANY/A goes:
                      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/38dbd5f9f4d95d741903c32b147a81a5ac7b463756af3b37c08cfce294e7ba46.png

                    • Stanko Lovrek

                      I don’t need to reference Clayton or Oremland or anyone else.. I’ve read pieces from various professional writers and I could sight them if it fits my narrative. But I can stand on my own 2 mangled feet. This will really sent you into convulsions:) I believe Eli is every bit and arguably better than Payton. And I’m not your buddy.

                    • Tom

                      I’m not citing anyone to fit any kind of narrative…it’s not a “narrative” to say that Manning is a Top 10 QB. The only reason cited those articles is to show you how easy it is to find rankings that put Manning near the top, the point being that it appears to be a consensus.

                      If you have articles that discuss why Manning shouldn’t be in the Top 10 (or 20?), I’ll read them, and I won’t accuse you of cherry picking. Can you show me any articles, posts, rankings, that explain why Manning shouldn’t be in the Top 10 or 20 greatest QB’s? Send it over…

                      I’m alright with you thinking Eli is better, you’re certainly not the only one who thinks that. I myself don’t think he’s better than Peyton (I don’t think it’s particularly close), but whatever, that doesn’t really bug me. Heck, Eli has two Super Bowl wins and he was clutch in both…at least there’s an argument to be made there.

                    • Stanko Lovrek

                      Rankings , articles, consensus? Like I said previously,I speak for myself. Come up with an original thought. Send it over? What da? Now who’s the troll?

                    • Tom

                      I was asking about articles, etc., just to see if you had anything interesting to add…to see if you could persuade me or give me some other reason, besides your opinion, to think that maybe Manning isn’t as good as I think he is. Ask other readers here, I’m pretty open…show me something, prove me wrong…there must be a reason you don’t think he’s that good, is it only the dome?

                      But let’s just leave it here, I’m tired…there’s really not much more to discuss once we’re in the land of “well, I just speak for myself”.

            • It’s enough.

        • Richie

          In their careers, at home in December:

          Rodgers averages 279 yards and 2.5 TDs.
          Brees averages 286 yards and 2.1 TDs. (For Brees I just used his career in New Orleans)
          Brady 271 yards and 2.1 TDs. (For Brady, I just used 2007-2016 – when he became a big time passer.)
          Manning 252 yards and 2.0 TDs in Indianapolis; 288 and 2.1 in Denver.

          • Stanko Lovrek

            Okay what is your point?

            • Richie

              That the cold weather guys weren’t being held back while the dome guys were rolling up stats in December.

              • Stanko Lovrek

                Okay, One might interpret those numbers as saying Brandy and Rodger are better under adverse conditions then Manning and Brees are in ideal conditions

                • Richie

                  Well, it’s also still a small sample size. 17 games for Rodgers.

                  • Stanko Lovrek

                    True.

          • Adam

            Thanks for the stats. The done effect is real but WAY overblown. Rodgers dominates at home in bad weather, partly because he’s used to it.

            • Albert Heisenberg

              Rodgers also sat behind Favre IN GB for 4 years, trust me that makes a huge difference in bio-mechanical acclimatization. Rodgers would put up even crazier numbers in a dome that would, imo, dwarf Manning. Brady would also dwarf’s Manning’s numbers if he played in a dome (and had all-pros Edgerrin, Faulk, Harrison, Wayne, and Clark) but that’s just me.

              Outdoor vs Dome is not an apples-to-oranges distinction. Playing in NE in Foxborough in December in the wind is more difficult than playing in Denver in December

      • Richie

        Just think of Brady’s stats if he played in a dome! He’d probably be over 100,000 yards and 700 TD’s by now!

        • Tom

          Dude…if only (insert your favorite QB here) didn’t have to play outdoors! He would be freaking awesome!!!

          • Four Touchdowns

            Dude…if only Mark Sanchez didn’t have to play outdoors! He would be freaking awesome!!!

      • Four Touchdowns

        Tom, it doesn’t make sense. Manning played with an outdoor team from 2012-2015 and outside of 2015, he beat his efficiency metrics from Indianapolis while playing the majority of his games outdoors.

      • Albert Heisenberg

        He went to college in Michigan, big difference. And these numbers dont even demarcate between games played in the snow, or in torrential snowfall, or high wind. Bradys dome numbers ARE better than Manning’s; and when Manning did play outdoors, it was typically in warm tropical weather. In cold weather outdoors Manning’s number’s don’t look nearly as good.

        Denver is, interestingly, an odd outlier. The higher altitude allows for KICKERS and QUARTERBACKS to throw farther: https://www.wired.com/2011/12/are-field-goals-easier-in-denver/

        Foxborough is an entirely different monster, especially given the fact that Manning had a weak arm.

    • Connor Molloy

      I agree that the dome is a factor, but come on now. They would still be two of the top 5 statistical QBs. I’ve seen mannings outdoor numbers, and while they aren’t as good as Brady’s, they’re still some of the best ever. The real question is how much better Brady’s numbers would be if he played in domes more often. His sample isn’t huge, but I believe he’s got something like a 105 rating in indoor games

      • Tom

        Agreed, it seems reasonable to assume that Brady’s numbers might be better if he played his entire career in a dome.

    • Adam

      Are you suggesting that playing at altitude inflates passing numbers? I don’t think there’s any evidence for that.

      • Stanko Lovrek

        Yes. And punting and kicking field goals. And for that matter hitting a baseball a long way. I believe the science is unmistakable at this point.

        • Adam

          Playing quarterback is not remotely comparable to kicking field goals or hitting a baseball. Those tasks primarily rely on making the ball fly as far as possible, so of course altitude will make them easier. But quarterbacking is not a contest to see who can throw the fall the farthest; it’s a primarily a test of accuracy, intelligence, awareness, and toughness, none of which are affected by altitude.

          • Tom

            Agreed…we’d see some kind of gathering near the top of rankings with a bunch of Denver QB’s. Just because you can throw the ball farther doesn’t mean that a guy can catch it any
            easier.

            • eag97a

              Or lofting the ball farther means a qb becomes more accurate… 🙂 I’m with you here.

          • Albert Heisenberg

            Yes, but it does help when you control for the weaknesses of the player: Manning has a weak arm. After the neck surgeries, playing in Denver, with weapons that allowed Tim Freaking Tebow to win a playoff game against a good Steelers team, would definitely Manning’s performances.

            Easy analysis: What are Peyton’s numbers Away v Home, Cold Weather Outdoors (control for the league average discrepancy between the two and you have your answer).

    • Adam

      Here is a nice study detailing the effects of weather on passing.:

      http://scholarship.claremont.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1982&context=cmc_theses

      • Stanko Lovrek

        Thank you for that reference. But what that study was about and concluded is the determental affect cold weather has on visiting teams not accustomed to cold conditions.

        • Adam

          You’re welcome.

          While playing in a cold and windy stadium hurts the road team a great deal, it appears that the home team (who is acclimated to the conditions) actually plays better than they do in fair conditions. There’s no reason to think that Manning or Brees wouldn’t acclimate to a cold stadium just like Brady and Rodgers have.

          • Tom

            Kind of what I’m getting at…

            You can make this statement:

            “Playing in a dome has probably helped Manning’s (or Brees’) numbers.”

            Or this statement:

            “Manning’s numbers might be lower if he played in Green Bay”.

            I haven’t seen any hard evidence to prove those statements, but they seem reasonable.

            This statement does not seem reasonable to me:

            “Manning would not be a Top 10 QB if he played in Green Bay”.

            • Richie

              I suppose it’s possible that there are some people who just wouldn’t be able to acclimate and function well in cold weather. Maybe Manning is one of those guys. Though I doubt it. Manning was insane about preparations. Most guys at that level are. It’s hard to imagine Manning (or Brees) wouldn’t have done the work needed to play well in those conditions.

              Beside, how many games to players really play in weather that is severely difficult? Even if the weather has a 25% effect on Manning (or Brees – who played college outdoors in Indiana), he is only going to play a couple extra games each year in cold weather.

              • Tom

                Agreed, it’s certainly *possible* that Manning would have been horrible in Green Bay, but there’s just no way to assume that…I mean, I don’t see what you could possibly base it on? His Baltimore playoff game in 2012? How many bad weather games does he have? And yeah, these guys are competitors beyond what most of us would see as normal…they are insane. Are we thinking Manning just wouldn’t be able to handle it?

              • sn0mm1s

                Sure, a couple windy/cold/rainy games per year… but that adds up over 200+ games. Also, people seem to be conflating outdoor w/ bad weather.

            • Stanko Lovrek

              Would it be reasonable to say Manning is simply not in the top 10? I believe at least 4 currently are better but that’s my opinion.

              • Tom

                For me, it is not completely unreasonable to say he isn’t in the Top 10 all time, but it’s close. There’s just too much there…too many MVP’s, too many film reels where we *see* him playing out of his mind.

          • sn0mm1s

            They don’t play better – they just don’t play as bad relatively.

  • Algaer

    In three years Drew Brees will own every regular season career passing record except QB Rating. Tom Brady will retire with six Super Bowl victories and own every postseason career passing record except QB Rating and fewest interceptions thrown in postseason play. Peyton Manning will retain his record five league MVP’s and the record for most regular TD passes thrown in a single season.

  • Ronnie raygun

    How crazy to think Joe Gibbs won 3 sb with 3 different QBs

    • Four Touchdowns

      Yeah, that’s pretty amazing to me. I know two of his seasons were shortened, but if you look at every other multiple-SB winning coach, they had an elite or HOF quarterback helping them along.

      Gibbs did it with three “just okay” QBs. Gotta love it.

  • Richie

    It’s hard to predict these things. At age 37, Manning threw 55 TD’s. At age 38 he threw 39 TD’s in a season where he struggled a bit at the end. Then he really struggled at age 39, and then retired.

    So he went from one of the best passing seasons ever (in 2013) to playing poorly enough (in 2015) that he surely would have been benched if he wasn’t PEYTON MANNING.

    These things can change really fast. At their current paces, Brady and Brees look like they should be able to catch Manning. But since age seems to strike fast and hard, and these guys are on the wrong end of the age stick, I think the smart bet is that they don’t catch Manning.

    • Four Touchdowns

      It should be noted that Manning’s drop-off wasn’t due solely to age, but to injuries sustained due to nerve damage from his neck surgery. Brees and Brady won’t have that issue.

      • Richie

        His neck surgery was in 2011. In 2013 he was as good as ever. Were there other neck injuries I forgot about?

        I know he had some foot problems in 2015. But that’s what aging does to you. It makes your body break down easier and recover slower.

        • Four Touchdowns

          The neck injury forced him to change his throwing motion, relying more on torque generated from his legs and torso for power. If you notice, he had leg injuries in his last three seasons, all of which were likely related to this. Here’s something I read during that time —

          “As an expert in body mechanics, I’m very sad to say that Manning is certainly dealing with an overuse injury. He reconfigured his throwing motion post-surgery to generate power from his base, and specifically rotation from his inner thighs. This is why he looked so dynamic and mobile at the beginning of last season.

          The problem is that this is a fundamentally unsound mechanic, and eventually leads to repetitive stress injuries of the overworked muscles (in this case his thighs). We saw the result last year as he lost strength and mobility as the year progressed.

          This year, the tipping point has been reached, and it seems that his thigh problem is getting worse every week no matter how much rest he gets. I’m sure we’ve all noticed how much less strength is in his throws recently, especially those quick outs to the sideline (when you need full rotational force). Also, look at his footwork- he is unable to push off his inner thighs and is much weaker stepping into the pocket.

          This hasn’t been terribly noticeable because it’s a slow onset type of injury. But if you need proof, fire up any game from early last season and compare it to the past few weeks- it’s rather obvious. This isn’t ‘age’ or ‘weather’ but simply his muscles weakening from overuse.

          The throws that have looked bad have mostly been to the sideline, where rotational force of the torso is critical. Overall, he has been compensating really well, but he is clearly losing strength and accuracy.

          If I were going to gameplan for Manning’s condition, I would come out throwing and then try to run later. With an RSI, strength and accuracy get worse as the game goes on, and the muscles tighten and weaken.

          It makes me very sad to say I think we’ve seen the last of Manning’s greatness. It’s possible he can rework his throwing motion again this offseason, but very unlikely. It was a tremendous project to rework his motion post-surgery, and this would require similar relearning.

          All I can say is that I really hope I’m wrong.

          I’m a proprioceptive researcher, soon to publish works on the function of mammalian proprioception in muscle development and body mechanics (look up proprioception if you don’t already know it- it’s worth knowing). But it means I study and analyze human/animal movements all day, everyday (including sports, yay!)”

          http://www.itsalloverfatman.com/broncos/entry/peyton-mannings-injury-likely-from-overuse-will-be-hard-to-overcome

          • Richie

            Good stuff!

          • Tom

            This was cool…

          • Daniel Menezes

            Man, that was scarily accurate analysis of 2015 Manning, and also what happened to him at some point midway in 2014.

            • Four Touchdowns

              If memory serves, he first posted something along those lines in December of 2014. I didn’t want to believe it would happen but he was right on.

              • Daniel Menezes

                Makes sense. That was startlingly on point. These splits are staggering:

                Through 7 games in 2014, Manning was 174/252 (69.1%), for 2,134 yards (8.5 y/a), with 22 TDs and 3 INTs, with a passer rating of 119.0. This was by efficiency a better line than his 2013 season (less games of course). Projected out through 16 games, it is eerily similar to Brady’s 2007 season. He had had the greatest season by counting stats in NFL history in 2013 and through 7 games was playing better.

                From the very next game through the end of his career, (19 games), he was 419/676 (62.0%), for 4,842 yards (7.2 y/a), with 26 TDs and 29 INTs, for a rating of 78.5. If you look just at 2015 it is even worse.

                The end can come really, really quick.

                • Tom

                  Damn, you’re right…he just fell off a cliff.

                • sacramento gold miners

                  Good research, but it’s a credit to Manning he was still able to win a SB for Denver in his final season. A great player, even in a diminished capacity, can still deliver a key performance(s) at the end.

                  After Manning retired, some thought Denver would be just fine at the QB position with their strong defense, like a plug and play situation. But while Denver’s defense was still stingy, the league caught up with Trevor Sieman, and the Broncos failed to even make the postseason.

  • Four Touchdowns

    Man, all you ever need to do is add the words “Manning” and “Brady” to a post for it to be a firestorm, LOL.

    • Tom

      Hahahaha…I know it’s freaking hilarious…and fun.

  • Four Touchdowns

    I think we can all agree that if Manning played outdoors in normal altitude, he couldn’t even make it as a back-up and that if New England played in a dome, the Patriots would have won the Super Bowl 16 years in a row.

    I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

  • Mr. Dunwich

    Sorry, new to posting and a little late to the conversation. Just to post a rebuttal of sorts to the people going on about Dome play, here is a look at how Brady has done in Dome/Fair-Weather environments versus Brees:

    BRADY-AWAY-FAIR WEATHER/DOME
    GS Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Int% Sk Sk% Y/A AY/A Y/C
    45 998 1536 65.0% 11996 94 6.1% 39 2.5% 85 5.5% 7.8 7.9 12.0
    BREES-HOME+AWAY(FW/D)
    GS Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Int% Sk Sk% Y/A AY/A Y/C
    131 3563 5216 68.3% 41299 308 5.9% 128 2.4% 190 3.6% 7.9 8.0 11.6

    While it is true that Dome/Fair-Weather helps a little bit, it ultimately is more a matter of what the QB becomes accustomed to. If the contention is that Manning and Brees would be drastically less than what they were/are, had they been playing for a team in a cold weather environment like Brady, then you are smoking something strong. Is Brady the uber-mensch? What separates him from Manning and Brees in such a way that had the two QBs started out in a colder environment, they couldn’t have adapted like Brady? Absolutely nothing.

    Just to throw in a little more here:
    BREES-AWAY-COLD WEATHER ENVIRONMENTS
    GS Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Int% Sk Sk% Y/A AY/A Y/C
    45 1206 1819 66.3% 13038 78 4.3% 42 2.3% 82 4.5% 7.2 7.0 10.8

    While it is true that Brees takes a hit in the TD% and subsequently AY/A stats, the fact is he didn’t become markedly worse in Cmp%, Int%, Sk%, or Y/A, relative to his career numbers (in fact his Int% is better, which coupled with the lower TD% might suggest being more conservative). Going further, Brees still has a better Cmp%, Int%, and Sk% then Brady has in the Dome/Fair-Weather environments.

    Clearly Brees becomes a terrible player, far below that of great QBs like Jay Cutler…..Lol!

    • Richie

      I think some evidence that one can adapt to cold weather is that many of the successful QB’s in cold weather cities are guys who did not grow up in cold weather cities. Tom Brady, Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Terry Bradshaw come to mind. I think Jim McMahon grew up in California, but had success in cold weather in Chicago. Denver is not the same as Green Bay, but it does have some cold weather and John Elway is from Southern California.

      • Mr. Dunwich

        Exactly. These athletes by definition are pretty healthy and conditioned, especially in the current era, so the ability to adapt and become accustomed to the weather conditions of their home environment, should not present an issue.