The Peyton Manning Story

Lies, damn lies, statistics and other things
Share |

At some point in the next week or two, and for an unprecedented fifth time, Peyton Manning will likely win the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award. For more than a few, it’s tough to argue that he hasn’t earned it: after missing a year with a scary-sounding neck injury, Manning led his new team, the Denver Broncos, to a 13-3 season and the top seed in the AFC while essentially tying career highs in completion percentage (His 68.6 mark just trailed his previous best of 68.8), yards (4,659/4,700) and YPG (291.2/293.8). On Saturday, for a (coincidentally?) fourth time, Manning threw two or more interceptions in a playoff loss. It was (less coincidentally) the eighth time in his (record) 12 postseasons that Manning failed to win his first playoff game.

This matters, if that’s the right word for it, but in at least one meaningful way it almost certainly won’t. Manning, like Brett Favre if not quite like Brett Favre, is known not just for his greatness but for the degree to which and the volume at which that greatness is celebrated. He has lost 11 postseason games, which is as many as any quarterback in history, while throwing game-turning interceptions in several playoff games: against the Patriots in an AFC championship, the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV and now the Ravens in this year’s divisional playoffs. It has not really impacted the perception of his genius at all.

In some ways, this is a good thing: a rare instance of sports media holding two contradictory opinions -- Manning as consummate field general; Manning as player who, for whatever reason, has not excelled in big games -- at once without heads exploding. But it’s worth wondering, in the wake of Manning’s most recent defeat, why he’s above the law in this regard, and mostly beyond criticism.

Grantland’s Bill Barnwell, unequivocally the best football writer (on non-Andy Reid related topics) working, led the charge yesterday, explicitly blaming second-year Denver safety Rahim Moore for his mistake -- something Moore did himself in as upfront a way as can be imagined, while the verge of tears -- before acknowledging in passing that Manning’s interception played a role to the loss. 

“You can rightly blame Manning for that second interception, of course,” Barnwell writes. “But the game should never have even gotten to that point. Manning had performed well enough to put his team in an extremely advantageous position. His team promptly blew it. It seems worth separating the two.”

There’s a certain “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” thing at work here, though. Manning’s team explicitly and directly lost the game because they gave up the ball within their opponent’s field goal range, which happened explicitly because of a pass thrown by Manning which was -- by his own admittance -- a bad throw off a bad read. Barnwell essentially absolves Manning of the same thing for which he blames Moore. Whether or not Manning’s defense put him in a position to make a bad play -- and they did -- is irrelevant with regard to the actual very bad play that Manning made. Denver lost the game when their quarterback threw a bad pass at the worst possible time. That the quarterback happened to be Peyton Manning shouldn’t invert the narrative quite this much. If the quarterback hadn’t been Peyton Manning, it’s hard to believe it would.


Baseball’s statistics, advanced and un-, are uniquely valued in the sport, and unique in some other ways beside. They’re numbers and decimals on their own but, if taken together, they give us an understanding that’s surprisingly concrete, if not especially poetic. The clear distinction between “power” and “skill/speed” stats help provide a firm idea of the shape, size and style of the individual players that the numbers are supposed to represent; while they’re not there yet, it’s easy to imagine fielding stats like Ultimate Zone Rating eventually rounding out this understanding. The function that baseball statistics play as signals of value (current and predictive) in the noise of the sport -- even when the relative utility or relevance of the stats is being debated, or when curmudgeons fall back on “more like DORK, you blogger nerds” grumpiness -- suggest that we’re all more or less okay with statistics and in agreement on their import. It’s not like that in football.

Mostly, this is because football’s stats are not nearly as illuminating or intuitive as baseball’s. The counting stats are counting stats; the advanced stats are still opaque; quarterback ranking is impenetrable. More to the point, football statistics don’t tell you much about what a player looks like or plays like and -- because of the team-to-team and situational variations in terms of how different positions are used -- they really can’t offer anything other than a suggestion of how effective players are at the style of play that their team uses. Individual stats in football provide only marginally more insight than trying to determine the quality of a violin player using an individual piece of sheet music in an orchestra: you may get an idea, but that idea isn’t worth much without an understanding of role and context and conducting and a host of other obvious influences. Without that other understanding of the broader picture, it’s easy to misconstrue -- or completely misunderstand -- quality; it’s almost impossible to properly construe it. Football stats have some meaning, in other words, but they don’t mean much on their own.

So, what to make of Peyton Manning’s numbers, then? There’s his otherworldly consistency: the twelve 4000-yard seasons, 25-plus TDs in all fourteen of his NFL campaigns, the record twelve trips to the playoffs. These certainly suggest that Manning is the great player of his generation, and he has been rewarded with accolade after accolade -- at least four MVP’s so far, five first-team All-Pro selections, and hilariously high rankings on the type of lists that measure historical greatness to name a few -- that further shore up that impression. He has won passing titles and awards and honors and a great many football games, and so Manning is perceived as a winner.

And he is one, if not necessarily in the most important games of his career. In addition to those eight one-and-done postseasons and four multiple-interception postseason losses, Manning is just 9-11 in the playoffs. He has had supporting casts of varying quality during those seasons, but Manning’s sole successful Super Bowl run included some of his worst-ever playoff performances. His Super Bowl XLI postseason began with two legitimately putrid games -- a three-interception, one-touchdown stinker in a 23-8 victory over the Chiefs, followed by a 15-6 escape against the Ravens in the midst of a no-touchdown, two-pick shitstorm. He turned things around in the second half of an AFC Championship Game win against the Patriots, but neither his Championship Game nor Super Bowl stat-lines were especially inspiring.

Compare this, and even Manning’s regular season resume, to the work of Tom Brady. Brady, who is two years younger than Manning, has spent the second half of his career speaking the preferred language of the pundits in his cosmic argument against Manning. He has passed for more scores in a season; his 50 touchdowns in 2007 surpassed Manning’s old record by one. He has thrown for more yards in a season, 5235 to 4700. He has won three Super Bowls, yet still suffers a certain perception deficit relative to Manning. Brady has been on two fewer All-Pro teams and being chosen for three fewer Pro Bowls, already won 2 less MVP awards and is seen, in a way Manning never has been, as being a product of a coaching system and team culture. On the NFL Network’s list of the greatest players of all-time that I linked above, Brady is ranked 21st; Manning is eighth. He is also in many fewer television commercials, although that’s neither here nor there.

None of which is Manning’s fault, of course. But why are Brady’s achievements couched in the context of Bill Belichick’s genius and the Patriots’ “culture,” while Manning’s successes are seen as standing apart from the work done by coach Tony Dungy -- a significantly more successful coach before he joined forces with Manning than Belichick was when he brought Brady on board -- and Colts GM Bill Polian, who built four Super Bowl teams in Buffalo and won six NFL Executive of the Year Awards? Even by the standards of the NFL’s usual resistance to common sense, this is strange.


Narrative, in the free-range “____ is a warrior” and “___ doesn’t have the heart of a champion” sense, is still the language of the NFL broadcast booth. But, in other venues and for some very good reasons, it has eroded under a wave of numbers. Even those who prefer that old emo-soothsaying stuff -- the most hardcore of fans and the hackiest of writers who have begun to cling on for dear life -- use numbers to make their cases. Football stats are inert in a way that baseball stats aren’t, but both can be used selectively to shore up an argument, pro or con. I did it above, as you probably noticed.

There’s not quite a stats-versus-emotion dynamic at work here so much as it’s a debate between different types of stats. Miguel Cabrera’s counting stats win him a Triple Crown and a Most Valuable Player Award; Mike Trout’s superior WAR (and steal totals, and UZR) loses out. ESPN’s tumid choir of Tebow-worshippers focus on his won-loss record as a starter, and leave out the other metrics attesting to his manifest not-goodness. And Peyton Manning cruises towards another MVP because of some numbers, while Adrian Peterson -- another comeback story, another player who made a massive individual impact on a team, and a player who had one of the best seasons for a running back in history -- may see his own numbers fall short. Peyton Manning has numbers that make his case; even Tebow has some numbers that make his. But Manning’s great advantage is one that the NFL’s narrative junkies have constructed over years. His numbers are fine, except when they’re not. But his story is a winner.

This is unfair in a basic sense, but the schism isn’t as daunting as it seems. Stat geeks should be able to acknowledge the relative worth of an evaluation not driven entirely by stats, or by the right stats. Narrative proponents should acknowledge that Manning’s greatness, while buttressed by very-good-to-great regular season stats, owes much to the fact that he’s likable, and that they’re choosing to overlook his postseason performance because of that. And this is all fine: Peyton Manning may sell us shitty pizza and make some bad passes at even-worse moments in the postseason, but he represents what a quarterback is supposed to represent. He stays late after brutal losses to congratulate fellow greats on a career well done. He really does make his teammates better. And he throws for a lot of touchdowns and wins a lot of games, although those are secondary to his harder-to-define greatness.

If that’s why we talk about him the way we do, there are worse stories we could tell. If only to acknowledge that we’re trying to tell a story as much as we’re talking football.

Share |


Barnwell writes. “But the game should never have even gotten to that point. Manning had performed well enough to put his team in an extremely advantageous position. His team promptly blew it. It seems worth separating the two.
Ipad 2,3,4

Ultimate Zone Rating eventually rounding out this understanding.girlsdoporn

Pro basketball players, Adam Folker and Justin Darlington have collaborated tocreate this program to help rapidly develop the necessary skills to become a flawless baller. High jumps, dunks or and verts are notoriously complicated to master. They all require fastidious eyesight synchronization, lightning speed and great muscle power. check reviews

Ultimate Zone Rating eventually rounding out this understanding.singapore printing services

I feel really happy to have seen your webpage and look forward to so many more entertaining times reading here. Thanks once more for all the details.towel bales

Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and new initiatives in the same niche. Blog gave us useful information to work. You have done an amazing job!παπουτσια μποξερ

Once I thought about things like: why such information is for free here? Because when you write a book then at least on selling a book you get a percentage. Thank you and good luck on informing people more about it…Egyptian cotton sheets

I’m excited to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site. seo

Really nice and interesting post. I was looking for this kind of information and enjoyed reading this one. Keep posting. Thanks for sharing. kettlebell workout

Such a very useful article. Very interesting to read this article.I would like to thank you for the efforts you had made for writing this awesome article. fathers day pictures 2015

Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and new initiatives in the same niche. Blog gave us useful information to work. You have done an amazing job!top sellers

Very informative post ! There is a lot of information here that can help any business get started with a successful social networking campaign !amoxicillin 500

You actually make it look so easy with your performance but I find this matter to be actually something which I think I would never comprehend. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I'm looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!klick mich

It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it!revisione e l'anteprima del programma

The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought you have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.טיפול בבעיות זקפה

Once I thought about things like: why such information is for free here? Because when you write a book then at least on selling a book you get a percentage. Thank you and good luck on informing people more about it…furosemide 20 mg

Thanks for the nice blog. It was very useful for me. I m happy I found this blog. Thank you for sharing with us,I too always learn something new from your post.Labradoodles in Connecticut

After reading your article I was amazed. I know that you explain it very well. And I hope that other readers will also experience how I feel after reading your article. I feel very grateful that I read this. It is very helpful and very informative and I really learned a lot from it. quilted mattress protector

That's what makes you the best. You should keep publishing more articles and you will Such Become One of the best writers ever Satılık müzik seti kablosu

You have probably noticed that one out of every four or five Clog posts involves Paul Wall. Good for you, noticing that. That trend will continue indefinitely. recommended reading

Lesson 3: How To Build A Strong Revenue Share.

DEFINITION of 'Compound Interest'
Interest calculated on the initial principal and also on the accumulated interest of previous periods of a deposit or loan. Compound interest can be thought of as “interest on interest,” and will make a deposit or loan grow at a faster rate than simple interest, which is interest calculated only on the principal amount. The rate at which compound interest accrues depends on the frequency of compounding; the higher the number of compounding periods, the greater the compound interest. Thus, the amount of compound interest accrued on $100 compounded at 10% annually will be lower than that on $100 compounded at 5% semi-annually over the same time period. Compound interest is also known as compounding.

Now this works exactly like it sounds it does. To use Compound Interest in relation to revenue sharing is simple 100 % REPURCHASE for as long as possible, Yes its that easy the system is set up for you just buy as often as you can with as much as you have and you will make money.

Now i would like to discuss way's to help you build your referral chains to help you with your commissions. We will discuss Key forms of advertising and how to effectively use them to increase your wealth.

#1. Facebook Group Posting.
This is one of the best free methods to get active referrals. There is no science to this its simple join 25 advertising groups on Facebook every day, Create a text add with a picture ( You can all this from the files section of group ), Add your referral link to the end of the add, then copy and paste till your hands hurt. Answer anyone who likes or comments on your links. ( alternatively you can use an auto poster which will make your life easier but costs money )

#2. Other Revenue Share Sites.
The second best area to get active referrals is other revenue sharing sites where people are already familiar with the plat form. This is also easy you can use your banner credits to put up adds as well as using some of your profits to buy ad space.

#3. PTC PPC PTSU ( Pay to click, Pay per click, Pay to sign up )
These are not a bad alternative and usually lead to quick sign ups, however only about 30 % of them ever end up being active. These sites are often expensive and not as effective as some of the other methods but still not a horrible idea. Pay to sign up is often a waist of time entirely as the people just want the money there getting to sign up.

#4. Other Social Media Platforms .
If you have any of these social media platforms you could be using them to get referrals, Pinterest , Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram ANYTHING like this can be used to advertise your referral link.

#5. Create your own Landing page, Advertise your sites all at once.
Why advertise one link when you can advertise all your programs at once tongue emotico all the pros are doing this. easy money

Gangaur Realtech is a professionally managed organisation specializing in real estate services where integrated services are provided by professionals to its clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying or investing in real estate. I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject.internet marketing

I'm really happy to find this site and did enjoy reading useful articles posted here. The ideas of the author was awesome, thanks for the share. happy valley cider press

You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics, i will be always checking your blog thanks. click here

My super cool buddy outlined to my advice your blog, thus i notion I’d look over it all meant for average joe. Rather appealing ideas, shall be to come back meant for even more!
debt management tips

Hi there, I found your blog via Google while searching for such kinda informative post and your post looks very interesting for me.for more info

electronic cigarette I love seeing mesh positions which see the arraign of delivering the awesome handy stopgap unrestrained of charge. I very adored lesson your posting. Acknowledge you

First You got a great blog .here i found itI will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics, i will be always checking your blog thanks.

I wish to show thanks to you just for bailing me out of this particular trouble.As a result of checking through the the net and meeting techniques that were not productive, I was thinking my life was done. online betting

This site is excellent and so is how the subject matter was explained. I also like some of the comments More hints too. Waiting for next post.

This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for sharing this great article! That is very interesting Smile I love reading and I am always searching for informative information like this! SWMS VIC

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.μπαλαρινακια

I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work! dj songs

Really nice and interesting post. I was looking for this kind of information and enjoyed reading this one. Keep posting. Thanks for sharing. nutrafarms reviews

It is great to have the opportunity to read a good quality article with useful information on topics that plenty are interested on.I concur with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your future updates.Phentermine Online

Regular visits listed here are the easiest method to appreciate your energy, which is why why I am going to the website everyday, searching for new, interesting info. Many, thank you!Matt Lloyd

Really nice and interesting post. I was looking for this kind of information and enjoyed reading this one. Keep posting. Thanks for sharing. MOBE

You're in point of fact a just right webmaster. The website loading speed is amazing. It kind of feels that you're doing any distinctive trick. Moreover, The contents are masterpiece. you have done a fantastic activity on this subject!MOBE

I am really enjoying reading your well written articles. It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work. Celestron Telescopes

Vous chercher un Taxi en algérie ? le site et application vous permet de trouver un taxi ou une agence a proximité geolocalisé en Algérie proched de vous Taxi Mascara

What a really awesome post this is. Truly, one of the best posts I've ever witnessed to see in my whole life. Wow, just keep it up.brandon l jones photography

Going to graduate school was a positive decision for me. I enjoyed the coursework, the presentations, the fellow students, and the professors. And since my company reimbursed 100% of the tuition, the only cost that I had to pay on my own was for books and supplies. Otherwise, I received a free master’s degree. All that I had to invest was my time. awning mounting accessories

I am overwhelmed by your post with such a nice topic. Usually I visit your blogs and get updated through the information you include but today’s blog would be the most appreciable. Well done!Sash windows London

Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here.voyance telephone

I have express a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style of blogging. I added it to my favorite’s blog site list and will be checking back soon…Free Dating

This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the good work. I have been meaning to write something like this on my website and you have given me an idea.seyi shay

Writing with style and getting good compliments on the article is quite hard, to be honest.But you've done it so calmly and with so cool feeling and you've nailed the job. This article is possessed with style and I am giving good compliment. Best!diet

Through this post, I know that your good knowledge in playing with all the pieces was very helpful. I notify that this is the first place where I find issues I've been searching for. You have a clever yet attractive way of writing.

I am really enjoying reading your well written articles. It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work. rapid diet

I finally found great post here.I will get back here. I just added your blog to my bookmark sites. thanks.Quality posts is the crucial to invite the visitors to visit the web page, that's what this web page is providing.