28 comments on “NFL Conference Championship Predictions: “Manning Is Better than Brady, But So What?” Edition

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  7. This should be gospel. And, the Brady luck fest continued this postseason:

    1. The last two times that Manning was hurt, Brady made the Super Bowl.
    2. Flacco and the Ravens had no right to throw that pass into the end zone.
    3. Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevell: WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!!!

    I can’t believe that people think he is GOAT. On Football’s Future (I don’t know if you have heard of it), there is a “Brady GOAT Now” thread, and a lot of people actually believe that he is just because he lucked into another SB ring.

  8. I just want to say that this is a great article. It’s a little outdated but this is a big enough sample to where it’s still very clear who the better Quarterback is. It’s just unfortunate that so much emphasis gets put on ringz otherwise everyone would consider Peyton the better player, which he is.

    The whole “Brady is GOAT” has to be prisoner of the moment. There is no good argument that he’s better than Peyton and Montana (the real postseason GOAT). I’m open to people thinking he’s better than anyone else but not those two.

    • This article is a load of garbage, and Kacsmar should be ashamed his name is on it. Scott has used genuine stats, but in a very misleading way, to promote the fallacy that Manning has outperformed Brady in the playoffs. For example, in the chart called Guess the Quarterback, he has cherry-picked Brady’s 7 first playoff games, because he knows those stats look mediocre. But he doesn’t mention that in Brady’s next 3 playoff games, he produced a rating over 100, or that Brady was unbeaten in his first 10 playoff games. Then, when discussing Manning’s career, he doesn’t include any games from before the 2007 season. Why? Because he knows that Manning’s worst playoff games all came before 2007.

      He also constantly focuses on Brady’s worst playoff games, even though there are very few truly bad playoff performances for Brady, but constantly sweeps Manning’s worst games under the rug. What bothers me about this article is that to someone who hasn’t studied their careers, it would be easy to fall for his argument. Clearly, this is why he has so carefully chosen the data he presents.

      Manning has not outperformed Brady in the playoffs, and that claim is just as bogus as the case Kacsmar makes for it here. The fact that people like Scott have to work so hard to fool people into believing the case for Manning is itself an argument that Brady has had the superior playoff career.

      • Scott talked about the 99, 00, and 03 Playoff losses. Those were before 07. He talked about how Marvin Harrison dropped a key pass in their 99 loss to Tennessee. And, I don’t know if Manning has had any truly bad playoff games except for 02 against the Jets and last year against Indy (which didn’t happen yet as of this writing).

  9. My point was that in the chart Guess the Quarterback, Kacsmar has compared Brady’s first 7 playoff starts to a sample that doesn’t include Manning’s career pre-2007. It’s intended to give the impression that Brady typically struggles in the playoffs, and that Manning always plays well, but those things aren’t true. If you compare Brady and Manning in their first 7 playoff games, or their first ten, Brady will come out ahead. That’s why he chose the splits he did. In other parts of the post, he mentions other losses for Manning from the early part of his career. But he always paints them in the best possible light, and makes every excuse he can think of for Manning’s losses. He always presents Brady’s achievements in the worst light. He’s hopelessly biased, and no one interested in serious analysis of the two players’ careers would take this stuff seriously.

    Kacsmar won’t post this anywhere outside his blog, like Football Outsiders, Football Perspective, or Cold Hard Football Facts. It’s because he knows it would get torn to shreds. As for your claim that Peyton has only two bad playoff games in his career, I don’t agree, though it would depend on your definition of “bad”. Do you really think he played well in the loss to Tennessee in 99, or the loss to Miami in 2000, or the losses to NE in 03-04? In the loss to the Steelers in 05, his rate stats were pretty good, but it was close at the end only because Indy caught a couple of huge breaks in the 4th. Through the third quarter, Indy had only 3 points. Is it unfair to call those examples bad peformances, for the QB who people like Kacsmar claim is the best ever? I don’t think it is.

    • I’ve written about every Manning playoff game, so you couldn’t be any more wrong there. Your assumptions are off base as well. I compared Manning’s last 7 playoff games (at the time of writing) because of the 2-5 record compared to Brady’s first 7, which included 5 pretty subpar performances where he still got the win every time because of his team. That’s the point. One QB isn’t outplaying the other. The record is because of the other elements of the team. Always has been.

      I can post this anywhere if I felt like it, but the topic is taboo at FO. Why do you think there’s a Irrational thread that’s been up for years on the subject?

      Your definition of bad doesn’t interest me. Your clear lack of knowledge on the games you’re calling bad drives me to get things right. Maybe try reading this stuff over again and you’ll see what you’re missing.

      • I stand by what I said above. This article has very carefully chosen statistics to leave the false impression that Manning outplays Brady in the playoffs. I dare you to post this same article, word for word, at a reputable analytics site. I know you won’t do it. You know that if you compare the start of Brady’s playoff career to the beginning of Manning’s, or the second half of Brady’s career to the second half of Manning’s, Brady will look stronger than Manning, or at least equally good. That’s why you’ve very carefully chosen the samples provided, to create a false impression that Brady is overrated, and also that Manning doesn’t have weak playoff games. That’s just one example of many in this post, of cherry-picked stats designed to make Manning look good.

        You keep calling Brady overrated, but the facts don’t back you up. You keep talking about the 2 bad losses to Baltimore by Brady, and present these results as though they are typical of his playoff career. Nothing could be further from the truth. I know I can’t convince you, Scott. You’ve devoted your career to misleading analysis like this, and like Tom Curran said, it’s equivalent to proving that the Earth is flat. Manning has NOT outperformed Brady in the playoffs.

        Average performances by Brady aren’t equivalent to below-average performances by Manning. Manning was 2-5 at the start of his career because he had a lot of subpar or awful performances in that time. Sure he wasn’t terrible against Miami, for example, but he wasn’t anything special, either. The idea that Manning loses in the playoffs because of consistent bad luck is not supported by evidence.

        If you think Manning played well in the examples I provided, than I guess we have different definitions of playing well. I’ll agree he wasn’t awful against the Titans, but he was nothing special, and had he played better, it’s likely the Colts would have won. Manning completed less than half his passes, had 5.4 ypa, and did not throw a TD. That’s not a bad peformance, for the “greatest QB ever”?

        You can dismiss my points if you like, but other people won’t. That’s why I know you won’t put this on FO or Chase’s site. If you’re not interested in what I have to say, that just proves you’re not interested in serious analysis. You have a style typical of some intellectuals, who constantly have to remind everyone how much expertise they possess. It’s a sign of insecurity, and it’s not your expertise I’m questioning here. It’s the way you’ve chosen to apply that knowledge, in a way that doesn’t reflect the facts. Anyone who has studied the playoff careers of the two QBs will be able to see through your argument here.

      • Scott, WR is typical of a Brady Bouquet thrower. He called you insecure, and said that you don’t have the guts to put your analysis on a site where they probably kiss Brady’s butt. I deal with these people on a website called Football’s Future. I try to make factual posts (like how Brady has benefitted from a weak division and pointing out the coaching and QB changes in said division the last 15 years), and they like to waive that away.

  10. I figured that when I came on here using facts to defend Tom Brady, there would be a backlash. jbsptfn, you it’s very telling that you haven’t tried to dispute any of the points I made in my last post. It’s much easier to attack my credibility and call me names.

    At sites like Football Perspective, they don’t kiss Brady’s butt. Most people who post there rate Manning ahead of Brady. I keep challenging Scott to post this somewhere else, because I know as well as he does that it’s a bogus article. He would risk real damage to his reputation if he posted this at a place like FP or FO.

    As for your claim about NE’s division, I agree with you that it hasn’t been very good. But is that really as significant as you say it is? Brady’s career record against teams in his division, the Bills, Jets, Dolphins, and 2001 Colts, is 64-17. Now I haven’t looked up the record of those teams against the rest of the league, but I”m pretty sure it’s better than 17-64. So a big part of the reason why the AFC east has looked so bad, is because they play Brady and the Pats more often than anyone else.

    Also, you’re bringing up the weak division because you’re trying to show that Brady has benefitted from an easy schedule. Let’s test that by looking at the records for Manning and Brady against teams that finish above .500, and then teams that finish .500 or below.

    Against weak teams, Brady is 109-14, Manning 122-22, so there’s not much difference there. But when we look at W-L v. good teams, Brady is at 72-41, a .637 win percentage, and Manning is at 68-68, .500. I’m feeling charitable today, so I’m going to remove Manning’s weak 1998 season, which improves his record against winners to 67-59, still far below Brady’s numbers.

    So between Manning and Brady, it appears Manning is the one who has improved his W-L record more by playing weak opposition. Also, W-L against winning teams is one of the most reliable predictors of postseason success. So despite what Scott says, we shouldn’t be surprised that Brady has a better playoff W-L record than Manning.

    Thanks to Dan Marowni of Pats Pulpit, who provided the W-L splits I used here.

    • Since 2001, the other three teams in that division (I won’t count the 01 Colts since they left the next year) have had 17 coaching changes and about 40 different QB’s start for them. How can you get any stability that way? That benefits the Patriots more than you like to admit. To win the war, you have to win the homefront first.

  11. I don’t think “WR” has a clue how any of this works. No “reputable” site is going to re-post something written from 1/19/2014 from another site at this point in time. And I put my name on this and everything else I write. I’m not worried about reputation. I know what I’m writing.

    And please get out of here with “serious analysis” when all you’re providing is proof you know how to read a box score and you can get someone else to provide you win-loss numbers that don’t take anything about said QB’s performance into context.

    Manning completed less than 50% of his passes against the 1999 Titans? He sure did. He also had seven dropped passes in that game, including three in the fourth quarter on third-and-10, third-and-22 and fourth-and-4. Think that might have limited his stats and scoring output? Think that might have contributed to the 19-16 loss?

    You bring up records vs. winning teams. Do you not see the very first table in this article? That’s against playoff teams, and it’s clear which QB’s performance declines more in the playoffs against quality teams.

    • Kacsmar has a very abrasive and dismissive style towards those who criticize his work, which comes across in his responses to me here. Just because I don’t study stats for a living doesn’t mean I can’t learn enough to critique an article like this. His work here, which is distinctly different from what he publishes at other sites, is clearly designed to mislead the reader into believing Manning is better than Brady in the playoffs, which is a ridiculous claim.

      He can continue to make excuses for Manning’s bad performances, but I’m confident even Manning himself would admit he did not play well in the playoff game against Tennessee. I don’t get why Kacsmar continues to argue against the obvious. Even if you don’t agree that the 99 game against Tennessee was poor, there are still plenty of other poor performances from the first few seasons of Manning’s career. Scott is trying to convince you that Manning never plays poorly in the postseason, but the only way he can do so is by hiding the statistics Manning compiled through 2006. That’s why the Guess the Quarterback chart contains only games from after 2006.

      Let’s take a look at one of the other things Scott talked about in that same chart. He includes the 4 games in Brady’s career where Brady won without throwing a TD pass. This is included in order to convince the reader that Brady plays poorly, and wins through the help of his teammates. So is that really a valid claim? Brady has now played 29 playoff games, and those are the only 4 in which he hasn’t thrown a TD pass. So a fair interpretation of this data would be this: In 25 of 29 playoff games, and 17 of 21 playoff wins, Brady has thrown at least one TD pass. When looked at like that, it doesn’t suggest that Brady typically wins while playing poorly.

      But Scott’s claim looks even worse when we take a detailed look at the 4 games in question. One was the 2001 AFC championship, in which Brady got hurt, and Bledsoe played most of the game. One was the 2001 divisional playoff, played in a blizzard, in which Brady had a rushing TD. One was the 2011 AFC championship, in which Brady again had a rushing TD. So what are we left with? The 2013 divisional playoff against the Colts, also played in bad weather. In that game, the Pats used a run-heavy gameplan because of the bad conditions, and the fact that the Colts had a terrible run defense. So in 27 of Brady’s 29 playoff games, he’s contributed at least one TD, the only exceptions being a game where he got hurt, and a game where his team hugely emphasized rushing offense. So the 4 games in which Brady has won while not throwing a TD don’t suggest that he leans heavily on his teammates at all.

      If Scott really believes the argument he makes in this article is legitimate, he should be willing to publish it at another site. He’s welcome to update the stats after Brady’s latest triumph, and Manning’s latest choke job, this past January.

      • Well said. Scott, and his legion of Peyton homers hate it when you have a good argument. They try to insult your intelligence rather than addressing your points. Scott is a true idiot.

  12. I’m sorry but the opening chart sticks out in a way that subverts the blog’s basic premise…

    So, the first thing I notice is that Tom Brady’s record against playoff-caliber-teams gets a little better in the actual postseason…despite the fact that his stats get a little worse. Hmm. But how? If the teams are the same…and it’s even in the same year….then what could possibly explain how the stats drop but the record still gets better? What could possibly inhibit a QBs statistical output..in a region like New England…in the playoffs…which are played in January…outdoors…

    …..Oh, wait.

    That’s right. One QB is playing the majority of his games outdoors, in the winter. The other gets the majority of playoffs games in a dome. So, one QBs stats *should* fall off, while the other’s should stay the same.

    Yet, despite this, Peyton’s post-season stats still fall off to a degree that’s only *slightly* less than Brady’s; which would explain why Peyton’s record falls off in the post-season, too.

    • “So, the first thing I notice is that Tom Brady’s record against playoff-caliber-teams gets a little better in the actual postseason…despite the fact that his stats get a little worse. Hmm. But how?”

      Enough good fortune and bounces going his way along with a stellar defense and ST performance. The regular season has a larger sample size, and you would expect more of a true mean in a situation that’s difficult (beating good teams). If Brady played closer to 100 playoff games, his record would likely regress back towards average (.500). Same for anyone. It’s really that simple. Plus you mention the fact that the games are often at home. Well, duh. Home-field advantage is big in the playoffs.

      Weather is not a good excuse here since most of Brady’s playoff games have been in fine conditions. Try explaining why he averages 6.5 YPA in six Super Bowls where weather is pristine, or just 6.94 YPA in 7 road playoff games where there was never any precipitation, significant wind or poor field conditions. That’s 13 games right there.

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