Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Really Easy, Really Hard

Thanks to prompting of one of our loyal (re: obnoxious) readers, I undertook a massive endeavor. For too long, the ridiculous Cold Hard Football Facts article entitled The Complete & Unabridged Guide to Why Tom Brady is better than Peyton Manning has been allowed to stand unchallenged.

The article was crap. In fact, it was so poorly reasoned that it actually caused me pain to read it. So I took it apart. Piece by crappy piece. Doing so was easy on the one hand. The arguments were thin, the logic was inconsistent, and the facts wrong. On the other hand, there was so much wrong with the article, that by the time I was done, I had a 13 page document.

This is the final result. I want to thank Shake and Stan for their contributions. I intend to alert CHFF to the piece soon, but it would be best if some of you take a look at it when you have time. You all know my penchant for typos. I invest so much time in writing the articles, that my eyes glaze over when it comes time to proof them.

Let me be clear, this article doesn't set out to prove that Manning is better than Brady. I believe it to be so, but consider it impossible to prove one way or the other at this stage of their careers. The point of this article is to show that CHFF did a horrible job in comparing the two QBs. Their numbers were skewed, their arguments were weak.



jc said...

I don't have time to read that whole thing until tonight.

I got through the first few paragraphs and have this to concede.

Being fans of our repective teams, we see and remember certain things about certain games that box scores don't indicate.

I.e., the 9-9 EPIC 4th quarter drive in a blizzard that resulted in the Patriots only Touchdown of that game, a Brady rush from the 4ish yard line.

So no matter what argument you present to compare that performance to a Manning loss, you can't win me.

I'll read it later and I'm glad I goaded you into presenting something worth presentation.

Deshawn Zombie said...

that is fair enough, but remember that as a Colts fan, I remember epic things Manning did to try and win those games only to have other guys screw it up.

HE WAIVED THE PUNT UNIT OFF THE FIELD IN THE THIRD QUARTER. Think about that. He had the stones to say, "Screw it. I'm going to try and win this game". Yeah, Vandy shanked a kick and they lost, but that's the kind of thing Manning did routinely to TRY and win those games. Brady's great and all, but he had help in those games that Manning never got until they signed AV away and he nails 5 FGs in Baltimore.

All you did was goad me into dignifying something with a response that was so poorly done that it really didn't merit one.

Shake'n'bake said...

Great piece (and not just because my work is in it).

Anonymous said...

Prior to 2006, CHFF was correct in asserting that Manning didn't have a holy crap moment on his resume.

The AFC Championship and Super Bowl changed that.

Manning came back from 21-3 against the 2nd best defense in football and won in the final minute.

He became the first QB in modern Super Bowl history to win in adverse conditions, while beating the top three scoring defenses on the way there. It was literally not possible for the Colts to have beaten better competition on the way to the Super Bowl.

Brady won a home game in the snow on a call that is still controversial, if technically accurate. Moreover, he didn't even win that game. Adam Vinatieri did.

Brady's "big game resume" looks like a Vinatieri's greatest kicks highlight reel.

Brady is a good QB, but he's not as good as Manning. The enduring image of Brady will be him sitting on the turf in Arizona in the waning minutes of Super Bowl XLII, just like he did the year before against the Colts after tossing a late game back breaking interception.

jc said...

Good piece DZ.


Like I said.....his 9-9 drive in the snow was a "this guy is special" moment.

So was the insane 90 second end of Superbowl 36 when he dumped a couple balls off, hit a long cross, picked up another 6 and spiked the ball like it ain't no thing. When John Madden, for all his knuckleheadedness, said "what Tom Brady just did gives me goosebumps".

Guys just don't do that stuff and make it look that good. Kind of like the second half of the 06 AFC Champ game. That was legendary....for you guys.

Yea Brady lost in the Dome last year but wtf....we should have lost to S.D. the week before.

Manning was literally unbeatable that second half. I won't make excuses. He beat us. And Tom Still threw up around 30 points ( the pick-six) throwing to Troy Brown and Reche Caldwell and a CRAZY 4th quarter drive where he hit my boy Gaffney in the back of the endzone.

And Adam was/is the man but kickers don't throw touchdown passes and orchestrate late game drives. They finish (some of) them.

Manning is sick, Brady is sick. Manning is the senior of the two at 32. I would say their resumes aren't complete.

DZ: Brady threw a "meaningless pick" in the end of the Denver game in 2005-06. Hail Mary from our own endzone I think.

Deshawn Zombie said...

Thanks. I'll update it. It actually occured to me that he might have thrown a pick in that game, but I forgot to run it down.

Bob M. said...

I'll comment via direct email. Having edited for actual salary for years, I'm taking it pretty seriously, down to nitty gritty word choice.

In light of games turning on one play, I'd point out that while Edge did not win the first playoff game, he didn't lose it so much as Eddie George won it with one late 68-yd TD run. (Take away that run and EG didn't even hit 100! Compare that to the next year when Antowan Smith hit 200!) Colts were ahead at the time of EG's 68 yard run and things looked pretty even. Had the team won with Manning having ordinary stats, it would still be a win in his first playoff game. The kind of thing CHFF usually trumpets.

much more later. keep up the good fight.

Anonymous said...

You mean Lamar Smith

bd said...

Awesome job, guys.

Anonymous said...

Manning played better than Brady in the 2003 AFC title game. I know that seems an absurd thing to say in light of the stats, but I will gladly sit with anyone who can secure a copy of the coaches' tape of the game and break down the game. Any evaluation which factors in the quality of pass pro and the extent to which receivers were open will show that Brady was much worse.

Always start with pass protection. Boomer Esiason was doing the commentary on the national radio broadcast. He was literally laughing about how much time Brady had to throw. To paraphrase one quote in the 3d Q -- "Once again, Brady had all day to throw. Folks, when I say he had all day to throw, I'm not exaggerating. He's standing back there for 6, 7 seconds or longer until he finds someone to throw to. The Colts aren't getting close to him."

Manning was getting sacked and pressured by a 3 man pass rush as 8 Pats grabbed and held his receivers.

Yet, even with all day, Brady made all the worst throws of the game. Going left to right on your tv, he failed to read the zone blitz and threw the ball right at Dwight Freeney dropping under the slant. Ball hit Freeney in the head or shoulder bounced way up in the air and came down in the hands of the only Pat WR in the area. In the same area of the field, he misfired on a curl and hit a Colt DB right between the numbers (the pick was dropped). Going the same way, he lofted a pass from midfield down the right sideline right into the hands of the Colt safety -- who dropped it. None of 18's throws came close to being as bad as those 3.

Manning's picks came on a 4th and long at the end of the game, two great efforts by Law and a great break on the ball by Harrison (aided by Pollard's failure to come meet the ball). None of his picks were thrown directly at defenders or due to misreads.

Factor in how bad the NE defenders were grabbing and holding and it was amazing the Colts managed any completions.

Finally, Brady made the dumbest play of the game. His decision to run for it at the end was brain dead stupid. Rather than slide, he took the hit and fumbled. He was incredibly lucky his knee hit just before the ball came loose. Stupid. Despite the dominance of the Pats defense and the NE O-line the whole game, the Colts were still in the game at that point because Brady kept having to settle for FGs despite all day to throw. A fumble there could have been taken to the house and won the game for the Colts. Hard to overstate how stupid Brady was on that play.

Stats are for liars. Look at the tape. A DB making a great play doesn't mean the QB was bad. And a DB dropping an easy pick doesn't mean the QB made a good throw.


Deshawn Zombie said...

Manning's first pick in the endzone was terrible. He had no business throwing that ball, and it cost the Colts a field goal.

Bob M. said...

I always thought that about the first pick as well--but it's such a vintage Manning pick--drive the team down on the first possession, and either throw a pick or a near-pick in the EZ to lose either 4 or 7 pts. Seems like it happened in big games a lot back before 2005....

Part of that may have been that Edge was an actual threat over 95% of the field, but inside the 10, either the D thought they could stonewall him without extra help, or they knew Manning would pass. Or PM tried to do too much, which was a "flaw" in his first 3-4 seasons. Flaw is in quotes because when he DID too much and it worked, they won. Hard to call it a flaw--but when he tried to thread the needle in the end zone, or similar, it seemed glaring.

Yogi said...

Completely awesome article. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

If Manning's pick in the end zone was "terrible", then the 3 throws I described of Brady's would have to be described as the worst throws in the history of football.

Manning had Pollard open. If Pollard comes back to the ball as he is coached, it's a TD. Pollard fails to do his job and this gave Harrison the opening to slice in front and get the pick. Peyton didn't throw the ball directly at the defender. Brady threw those balls directly at Freeney and the two DBs. He hit one of the DBs right on the chest between the numbers.

What adjective would you use for two or three times worse than "terrible"?

Deshawn Zombie said...

manning made an off balance throw off his back foot with nothing on it. It was the classic "late over the middle" pick. There was no defense for that throw. He should have tucked it away or chucked it out of the endzone. He used to throw that pick reguarly, though from that day on rarely threw again.

Anonymous said...

I note you do not disagree with my assessment that the ball was not thrown directly at a defender as Brady's were. The post in question was directed at a comparison of Brady and Manning. My comment is about comparing Brady and Manning in one of the big games they played. Your statement, a description of one of Manning's passes, lacks any baseline for comparison to Brady.

You say the pass was "terrible". Perhaps, but it still should have resulted in a TD, if the receiver had simply done his job. Now let's compare it to passes which lack that saving grace. Specifically, the passes by Brady and we see that they were significantly worse.

You can find flaws in every one of the INTs. You can find flaws in a lot of plays (something about the imperfectability of man). As a matter of comparison, the Manning's throw which was picked by Harrison was not even close to the worst play made by a QB in the referenced game. It wasn't even in the top 5. For the worst plays by a QB in that game, see Brady, Tom #12 NE.