I was just about to head to bed when right before my very eyes, I caught a glimpse of a very interesting article written by my good friends at Cold Hard Football Facts (an article featured on Sports Illustrated's website, no less).
While I have been told many times that they suffer from a severe case of personal bias, I never saw anything quite like this.
I've read many of their articles because they are often well-written and offer some intriguing takes on various forms of statistical analysis.
This article was supposed to illustrate the lost season of Tom Brady in 2008. The theme of which was simply, what might have happened had Tom Brady not had his knee torn to shreds in the opening game of the 2008 season.
Although some have told me that my theoretical scenarios that conclude in Peyton Manning's favor are unreasonable "what if's", I doubt many would take any issue with CHFF's latest work of fiction which can be found here...
Not that there is anything unreasonable about wondering what might have happened with a healthy Brady at the helm in 2008. It's only natural for people to wonder what might have happened.
But how exactly did they arrive at their conclusions?
For starters, they offered a very random set of statistics that they say Brady would have put up in this lost season. They even went as far as to calculate it into where he would stand on the all-time lists had he produced at their dictated level in 2008.
Keep in mind they offered absolutley nothing in terms of revealing any sort of criteria. It almost seemed as if the numbers...
Tom Brady (2008): 342 of 545 for 4,100 yards, 38 touchdowns and 12 interceptions
were posted simply because they seemed good. A logical step backwards from his amazing 2007 season (which seems to happen to every player following a record-breaking season) but they failed to establish any solid foundation in terms of a calculated method for why they arrived at those numbers specifically.
If the reader is supposed to take the article seriously, you have to provide a solid foundation. Why not 42 touchdowns or 34 touchdowns instead of their proposed 38?
I personally feel that Tom Brady would have had a very good year in 2008. It's not so much that the numbers they provided were unrealistic, it's the fact that there is absolutely nothing beyond logical guess-work to back them up.
Peyton Manning threw 49 touchdown passes in 2004 only to throw 28 the following season. Keep in mind that Manning led the Colts to a 14-2 record and had a very good year in 2005. Still, his touchdown total dropped off by a total of 21.
So why did they predict 38 for Tom Brady? Wouldn't it be just as logical to assume he'd throw 29?
That's the point.
They go on to compare his theoretical production with what Peyton Manning actually did do in 2008 and the point of this comparison was to dictate that Tom Brady (not Peyton Manning) would have been the league's MVP last year.
Could that have happened? Sure.
But why is it fair and logical to speculate that Tom Brady would have performed at an MVP level in 2008, but it's not fair and logical to wonder how much better Peyton Manning's production would have been with a healthy offensive line and a running-game that ranked higher than 31st?
If the media and CHFF in particular are treating the comparison between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in a fair and impartial manner, why haven't we seen any pro-Peyton theoreticals?
I'd ask you to find them and show me, but there's nothing to find.
Is it so outlandish to assume that Manning would have performed even higher with a healthy offensive line?
Is it so unreasonable to assume that he would have been more effective in the passing game had defenses had any reason to respect the run?
The purpose of this article isn't so much to bash CHFF's attempt to butter up Tom Brady, it's to point out the complete and utter lack of Peyton Manning receiving the same treatment.
Thus is usually the case although a great many people might not be willing to accept it.