Saturday, January 18, 2014

Manning vs. Brady - What Have You Done For Me Lately

Here we are less than 24 hours from Manning-Brady 15, and I'm super excited.  We always hear about Manning's record versus Brady and some even mention that Brady "owns" Manning.  We also hear how great Brady is in the postseason and how clutch he is compared to Peyton.  I heard an argument the other day that made me think about this even more.  The question: if both Brady and Manning's careers were played in reverse, would most people's opinion change?  Let's look at the numbers to see how it truly would.

2001- 2004:  Manning 0-6 vs Brady. Brady 3 Super Bowl rings, Manning none.

An amazing 4 year run by the Patriots here. Brady was young with a fantastic veteran defense of Vrabel, Bruschi, McGinest, Law, Harrison, and many more.  They won three Super Bowls by three points behind the leg of the most clutch kicker ever (Adam Vinatieri).  To his credit, Brady came through with some clutch drives to put them in a winning position in those games.  Brady beat Manning twice at home in the playoffs during this period.  There was also that Spygate scandal after the third title...but I'm gonna let that slide.

My biggest take away from this four year period as far as the Manning/Brady rivalry goes is this: Brady jumped out to a six game lead almost immediately.  I understand we can't pretend it didn't happen, but give me a six game lead on anyone, and I could manage to hold the lead for a long time.

2005-present: Manning 4-4 vs Brady. Manning 1 Super Bowl ring, Brady none.

Peyton is 7-6 in playoffs during this period while Brady is 9-7. Manning is 1-1 in the Super Bowl and Brady is 0-2. Manning beat Brady at home during their only playoff matchup during this period.  Brady led an undefeated team to the Super Bowl and suffered one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history to the Giants during the 2007 season. This nine year period doesn't really point out to me that Brady owns Peyton, and I would argue that Brady can't win the big game during this period losing the AFC Championship Game twice and the Super Bowl twice.

A couple of more numbers of note regarding their entire careers:

Peyton Manning career playoff passer rating: 88.6
Tom Brady career playoff passer rating: 87.2

Number of games played in Foxborough of the 14 total games played between the two: 9
And what do you know - the home team wins most of the time.

While no one can discount what the Patriots and Brady did from 01-04, I believe the perspective does change when you examine the last nine years (and the majority of these two QBs phenomenal careers) separately.