I thought that it was about time to bring a close to the Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady debates but after doing extensive research when comparing Peyton Manning's 2004 season with Tom Brady's 2007 season, something just didn't sit right with me.
When taking a closer look at the details, the statistics revealed certain facts that many people would not want you to know.
That is, if even they were aware of these facts in the first place.
The following statistical analysis was done extensively, not to try to convince anyone to change their views, but to provide us with some cold hard football facts that might give us a more accurate comparison between the two quarterback's seasons.
As I stated in my prior article, Peyton Manning did not play during the Week 17 game against the Denver Broncos. He was active on the Colts' first drive but only completed one of two passes for six yards before spending the rest of the game on the bench.
On the other hand, Tom Brady played his entire Week 17 game against the New York Giants during the 2007 season. Despite the fact that the Patriots had clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs two weeks prior, Brady remained active 100 percent of the time.
I will leave it up to the readers to decide exactly why he might have remained active during the entirety of those games.
As a result, he managed to eclipse Peyton Manning's 2004 single season mark of 49 touchdown passes by throwing for 50 touchdown passes in 2007.
If you flash back to 2004, Peyton Manning faced the exact same Denver Broncos team in the Wild Card round of the playoffs the following week. Since he spent the Week 17 game on the bench, I felt it was logical to count his performance against Denver the following week, as his 16th game of action.
Many people felt for some reason, my assumption was an unreasonable "what if" and argued that Manning could have just as well played poorly during his Week 17 game against Denver.
Considering that his Wild Card performance was against the exact same team in the exact same location, I felt that it was both a fair and logical to credit that as being his final game.
In the end however, the majority opinion was that it would be somewhat unfair to just assume he would have played that well and that in the end "you never know what would have happened.".
That's fine with me.
If people do not want to accept "what if's", I will now provide everyone with detailed facts.
The following statistics will represent what each quarterback produced during various stages of the season. I will begin by comparing both quarterbacks production after playing their first 15 games.
Why 15 games?
Since Peyton Manning only played 15 games during the regular season, we will now get a look at how well Tom Brady played during that same amount of time.
Peyton Manning (15 games): 335 of 495 for 4,551 yards, 49 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and 1 lost fumble.
Quarterback Rating: 121.3
Tom Brady (15 games): 366 of 536 for 4,450 yards, 48 touchdowns, 8 interceptions and 4 lost fumbles.
Quarterback Rating: 117.2
So at that point in time, Peyton Manning had thrown for more yards and more touchdowns while committing less turnovers and posting a higher quarterback rating.
Obviously, Tom Brady played a full 16-game season. So, we will now take a look at both quarterback's levels of production throughout their first 16 games (Peyton Manning's 16 game being a playoff game).
Peyton Manning (16 games): 363 of 530 for 5,014 yards, 53 touchdowns, 11 interception and 1 lost fumble.
Quarterback Rating: 123.2
Tom Brady (16 games): 398 of 578 for 4,806 yards, 50 touchdowns, 8 interceptions and 4 lost fumbles.
Quarterback Rating: 117.2
So again, we see Peyton Manning producing more yards, more touchdowns and an equal amount of turnovers while posting a higher quarterback rating.
So to be fair, I'm not going to end the comparison just after Peyton Manning played a historic playoff game where he set the record for most passing yards in a post-season contest (457 passing yards).
Many people would be quick to mention that Manning played a poor game against New England the following week. On the other side, Tom Brady's 17th game was a fantastic post-season contest where he posted a perfect quarterback rating.
It would be only fair to track both quarterback's progress in the wake of a poor Manning game and a great Brady game.
Peyton Manning (17 Weeks): 390 of 572 for 5,252 yards, 53 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and one lost fumble.
Quarterback Rating: 119.3
Tom Brady (17 Weeks): 424 of 606 for 5,068 yards, 53 touchdowns, 8 interceptions and four lost fumbles.
Quarterback Rating: 118.8
So now, we see that Manning produced more yards, an equal amount of touchdowns while comiting one more turnover to post a higher quarterback rating.
Also give consideration that all of his production reached those heights despite having 34 fewer passing attempts (essentially a full games worth).
After Peyton Manning's 17th game in 2004, his Colts were eliminated in the divisional round of the playoffs by the New England Patriots by the score of 20-3.
Clearly, it would be impossible for Manning to continue to produce statistics if his team was not active. The fact that his Colts had their season ended at that time might prove to be a very valid point in defending Tom Brady's 2007 season as being superior. After all, Tom Brady got as far as the Super Bowl while Peyton Manning was eliminated from contention two weeks prior.
With that being said, we must of course take into consideration the backing that both quarterbacks had from the rest of their team. I will begin by taking a look at the pass protection that both quarterback received.
2004 Indianapolis Colts Pro Bowl Offensive Linemen: 0
2007 New England Patriots Pro Bowl Offensive Linemen: 3
I will admit that the Pro Bowl voting system has it flaws. The reason I used Pro Bowl selections was to illustrate the level of support both quarterbacks had from their offensive lines.
While the Pro Bowl voting system in and of itself is far from an exact science, it does display the fact that Tom Brady played with three high quality offensive linemen. That is not to say that Manning's offensive line was poor, so I will leave it up to the readers to determine which quarterback had received better protection.
As we all know, defense is 50 percent of the game. Obviously, the amount of support the quarterback has on defense will have an effect on his production. If the quarterback is having to play from behind in order to win, he's going to be playing under more pressure than the quarterback who has the luxury of falling back on a potent defense.
With that being said, let's take a look at the support that both quarterbacks got from their defense...
2004 Indianapolis Colts Defense (PPG Allowed): 19th
2007 New England Patriots Defense (PPG Allowed): Fourth
2004 Indianapolis Colts Defense (Yardage Allowed): 29th
2007 New England Patriots Defense (Yardage Allowed): Fourth
I will allow the readers to determine who they feel was getting better defensive backing according to the rankings.
Another vital aspect that can effect a quarterback's production is field position.
Obviously the better field position you have, the better chances you have at scoring. Now lets take a look at where both quarterback's teams ranked in terms of best field position attained by their Special Teams.
2004 Indianapolis Colts Field Position: 18th
2007 New England Patriots Field Position: Seventh
Again, I will allow the readers to determine which quarterback started with better field position.
I covered the fact that Peyton Manning's season ended after playing his 17th game. Tom Brady on the other hand made it to the Super Bowl and played two more games than Manning did in 2004.
Let's take a look at Tom Brady's statistics for his entire season throughout 19 games.
Tom Brady (19 games): 475 of 687 for 5,543 yards, 56 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and four lost fumbles.
Quarterback Rating: 113.8
Now obviously, it might prove to be rather difficult to compare Brady's statistics throughout the course of 19 games to Manning's over the course of 17 games.
So, we will now take a look at what each quarterback averaged per-game during the span of their fantastic seasons.
Peyton Manning (per-game): 22.9 of 33.6 for 308.9 yards, 3.1 touchdowns, .70 interceptions and .05 lost fumbles.
Quarterback Rating: 119.3
Tom Brady (per-game): 25 of 36.1 for 291.7 yards, 2.9 touchdowns, .57 interceptions and .21 lost fumbles.
Quarterback Rating: 113.8
What we can gather by looking at the seasonal averages for both quarterbacks is the fact that Peyton Manning averaged more yards and touchdowns per-game. He also committed less turnovers per-game and produced a higher quarterback rating.
Those are the facts.
I will leave it up to the readers to judge who have the more impressive season. By taking into account the support both players played with and the statistics they produced, I'm certain everyone will formulate their own opinions.