The Myth of Peyton Manning's Postseason Chokes Exposed as Fiction

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The Myth of Peyton Manning's Postseason Chokes Exposed as Fiction

If you have been a fan of the National Football League, no doubt you have heard the name Peyton Manning. The most productive quarterback in the history of the National Football League is often adored for his exploits both on and off the field.

Yet sometimes, you hear about the dark side of Manning's career.

Anyone who dislikes Manning or has a difficult time comprehending football is very quick to label him as a choke artist by putting the blame of his team's failures squarely on his shoulders.

After doing extensive research, I have come to the conclusion that the myth of Peyton Manning being a choker in the playoffs is an absolute work of fiction.

The opinions of many might disagree but the numbers tell a different story.

Prepare yourselves, both Manning lovers and haters alike to finally get a detailed look at the infamous postseason history of Peyton Manning.

I'll begin with the obvious.

Peyton Manning has a postseason record of 7-8. Not that a winning record close to .500 would be bad by most people's standards but you have to understand that Peyton Manning is held to a different standard than everyone else.

Since he has become the most productive quarterback in regular season history, people feel that he should easily be able to duplicate the same production during the postseason.

What people fail to recognise are the circumstances that change in that environment.

If you take a look at Manning's regular season winning record, no doubt you will notice that he has managed to accumulate an excessive amount of victories.

His regular season record is 117-59.

He also has more victories in a single decade than any quarterback in NFL history.

As a matter of fact, he's tied for sixth place one the All-Time wins list with Joe Montana, who accumulated the same amount of victories over a 16-year span.

These are Peyton Manning's career statistics in the postseason...

348 of 565 (61.5 percent) for 4,207 yards. 22 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions.

His quarterback rating: 84.8

Wait a second, if Manning has been so horrible during the postseason, his numbers have to be worse than that?

Actually no.

With the exception of a few really bad postseason games, Manning has otherwise remained quite effective during January.

To put his postseason quarterback rating in perspective, it's higher than the career quarterback rating of Roger Staubach, Jim Kelly, Len Dawson, Sonny Jurgensen, Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Bart Starr, Dan Fouts, and John Elway. All of them are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Now lets try to define exactly what one would consider a "choke-job" to be. I feel that the following would be a pretty good criteria.

  • A quarterback who posts a QB rating of less then 70.0.
  • A quarterback who throws more interceptions than touchdowns.

If the quarterback posts a rating above 70.0 he has not completely choked. For example, a quarterback rating of 75.0 is not great by any standards but it illustrates that the quarterback played well enough to not completely choke.

If a quarterback throws three touchdowns to two interceptions, he might not have played a great game but he produced more good than bad and at least didn't choke.

So now let's see how many times Peyton Manning fit the "choking" criteria posted above. Meaning that he had a quarterback rating lower then 70.0 and also threw more interceptions than touchdowns.

 

2002: Indianapolis Colts at. New York Jets (41-0 Loss)

Manning: 14 of 31 for 137 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. QB rating: 31.2.

But how much support did he get from his running game?

Colts Team Rushing Production: 50 yards and zero touchdowns.

So as you can see, a bad game by Manning but just as bad in terms of the support he was getting. The defense allowed the Jets to score 41 points and the running game produced only 50 yards and no scores.

 

2003: Indianapolis Colts at. New England Patriots (24-14 Loss)

Manning: 23 of 47 for 237 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. QB rating: 35.5.

But how much support did he get from his running game?

Colts Team Rushing Production: 98 yards and one touchdown.

So in this game, Manning played even worse then he did against New York. He had some support in the 98 rushing yards and one touchdown but that was far from a exceptional performance from his running game either. This is a game that could warrant the "choke" label.

 

2004: Indianapolis Colts at. New England Patriots (20-3 Loss)

Manning: 27 of 42 for 238 yards, zero touchdowns and one interceptions. QB rating: 69.3.

But how much support did he get from his running game?

Colts Team Rushing Production: 39 rushing yards and zero touchdowns.

In this game, Peyton played better then the previous two. He certainly didn't prove to be very effective but neither was his running game. This is a game the Colts might have won had the offense been more productive. I'm not sure it warrants the "choke" label but it was a poor performance none the less.

 

2006: Indianapolis Colts at. Baltimore Ravens (15-6 Win)

Manning: 15 of 30 for 170 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. QB rating: 39.5.

But how much support did he get from the running game?

Colts Team Rushing Production: 95 rushing yards and zero touchdowns.

This was a game that was won by the fantastic performance of the Colts defense (for once) and the heroics of Adam Vinatieri who scored all 15 of the Colts points.

This was a game where Peyton played poorly but his defense and special teams saved him from losing.

He didn't have too much support from the running game but it was a little better than usual. Despite that, this performance could certainly warrant the "choke" label.

By my count, that was only four games out of the 15 Manning has played during the postseason where you could legitimately say he choked. There have been a few average performances sure, but not choke jobs by any legitimate standard.

Now that we have discussed the bad, I'm going to give you a detailed overview of how Peyton has performed in the postseason and how much support he got along the way.

Here are some details that might prove to be very revealing.

  • In ten out of the 15 postseason games, Manning posted a quarterback rating above 70.0.
  • In seven out of the 15 postseason games, Manning has posted a quarterback rating above 80.0.
  • In six out of the 15 postseason games, Manning has posted a quarterback rating above 90.0.
  • In three out of the 15 postseason games, Manning has posted a quarterback rating above 100.0.

That shows us that Manning rarely played very poorly. He usually maintained a quarterback rating that was either average or exceptional.

Here are some more details.

  • In 12 out of the 15 postseason games, Manning threw for over 200 yards.
  • In eight of the 15 postseason games, Manning threw for over 250 yards.
  • In six out of the 15 postseason games, Manning threw for over 300 yards.
  • In three out of the 15 postseason games, Manning threw for over 350 yards.
  • In one out of the 150 postseason games, Manning threw for over 450 yards (that's not a typo, it's an NFL postseason record).

Essentially, Manning usually produced a fair if not impressive amount of passing yards during his postseason career.

Now lets take a look at some details about his quarterback rating during his postseason career.

  • In only five of the 15 postseason games, Manning had a quarterback rating below 70.0.
  • In six of the 15 postseason games, Manning had a quarterback rating above 90.0.
  • In three of the 15 postseason games, Manning had a quarterback rating above 100.0

Now lets take a look at the support Peyton Manning was getting from his running game during his postseason career.

  • In ten out of the 15 postseason games, The Colts failed to rush for over 100 yards.
  • In 13 out of the 15 postseason games, The Colts failed to rush for over 150 yards.
  • In seven out of the 15 postseason games, The Colts failed to score a single rushing touchdown (not including rushing touchdowns scored by Peyton).
  • In every season besides 2006, the Colts averaged only 79.4 rushing yards per game.
  • In 2006, the Colts averaged 149.5 rushing yards per game.

What we can tell from his is that during the majority of Manning's postseason career, he's had little to no backing from his running game.

The one year when his running game played a little bit impressive, he won the Super Bowl.

So as you can see, there have been many misconceptions about the postseason career of Peyton Manning.

The popular opinion seems to be that he has been a choke-artist despite the fact that you could only legitimately label him with that term in four out of the 15 games.

People also fail to consider the backing Manning had in those playoff contests.

Everyone will have their own opinion but I hope the information provided will help you gain a better understanding about Manning's postseason career.

That brings me to the conclusion that the label of "choke artist" that Peyton has received is patently absurd. People choose to focus in on the minority instead of appreciating the majority.

I say Peyton Manning's no choke artist, what do you think?

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