Part Three: Peyton Manning’s Four-Stage Playoff Career

Stage One
Adjective: Bad
Years: 1998-2002
Stats: 50-105 (47.6%) 558 yards (5.3/att) 1 TD 2 INT 59.1 rating
Team: 0-3
Notes: Manning was okay in the 2000-01 playoff game, but mostly just did not get it done in this time period.

Stage Two
Adjective: Inconsistent
Years: 2003-2005
Stats: 143-216 (66.2%) 1904 yards (8.8/att) 14 TD 6 INT 104.0 rating
Team: 3-3
Notes: Manning had three absolutely ridiculous games, two bad games that fit in better with the first stage above, and then an okay game in 2005-06 vs. Pittsburgh. In this period, the Colts only won when Manning was great, and lost when he was anything less. The standard deviation of his passer ratings in these six games was a quite high 49.

Stage Three
Adjective: Winning
Years: 2006
Stats: 97-153 (63.4%) 1034 yards (6.8/att) 3 TD 7 INT 70.5 rating
Team: 4-0, won Super Bowl
Notes: Other than the remarkable comeback vs. the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, Manning was mostly unremarkable. However, each of his performances in this postseason had something to them: he completed 30 of 38 vs. Kansas City, led 5 scoring drives and made a great third down throw to finish off Baltimore, led the frantic comeback culminating with an 80 yard drive that took one minute vs. New England, and won Super Bowl MVP in a downpour vs. Chicago.

Stage Four
Adjective: Unlucky
Years: 2007-present
Stats: 191-287 (66.6%) 2183 yards (7.6/att) 14 TD 6 INT 96.8 rating
Team: 2-5
Notes: See part two of this series. Whereas Manning’s good-looking stage two numbers came with a standard deviation of 49, these numbers come with a standard deviation of 14. Despite the infamous throw vs. the Saints, Manning has been consistently good since 2007, and yet has nothing to show for it.


Peyton Manning Playoffs Part 2

Part One:

Since the Colts won Super Bowl XLI, Peyton Manning’s teams are 2-5 in the playoffs. In that time here are Manning’s statistics:

191 of 287 (66.6%) 2183 yards (7.6/att) 14 TD 6 INT 96.8 rating

Over 16 games that would prorate to:

437 of 656 (66.6%) 4990 yards (7.6/att) 32 TD 14 INT 96.8 rating

Since 2007, there have been eight seasons of a quarterback with 4,500+ yards and a passer rating between 95 and 100:

Drew Brees, 2008 (Saints: 8-8)

Kurt Warner, 2008 (Cardinals: 9-7)
Peyton Manning, 2009 (Colts: 14-2)
Matt Schaub, 2009 (Texans: 9-7)
Matt Stafford, 2011 (Lions: 10-6)
Tom Brady, 2012 (Patriots: 12-4)
Drew Brees, 2012 (Saints: 7-9)
Matt Ryan, 2012 (Falcons: 13-3)

That is an average team record of 10.25 wins.

Playing at the same level over 7 games, Manning’s teams are 2-5. That is 5-11 over 16 games. He’s playing like a 10-6 quarterback and has a 5-11 record!

Postseason-Induced Quarterback Schizophrenia

It’s when a quarterback’s postseason career is clearly divided into two distinct periods–a streak of mediocrity and a streak of genius, in either order.
I have already identified this “illness” in three historical cases: Jake Delhomme, Troy Aikman, and Doug Williams.
I don’t think my term is wholly accurate. What I have identified indicates a quarterback who either “lost it” or “figured it out” in the postseason. Truer “schizophrenic” tendency would be a wild inconsistency.
Regardless, I am on the lookout for other diagnoses, and if you can make suggestions, they would be appreciated.

Peyton Manning Postseason Team Performances Minus 2006

Excluding his Super Bowl run in 2006-07, Peyton Manning has now played in 16 playoff games.

Manning’s numbers in those games: 384 of 608 (63.2%) 4645 yds (7.64/att) 29 TD 14 INT 92.9 rating
His team’s record in those games: 5-11
Since Manning entered the league in 1998, 21 quarterbacks have thrown for 4000+ yards with a rating between 90 and 95 in a season. 
Manning had four of them. Below, the W-L record of the teams in the other 17:
1999: Brad Johnson (Redskins 10-6), Steve Beuerlein (Panthers 8-8)
2003: Trent Green (Chiefs 13-3)
2004: Brett Favre (Packers 10-6)
2005: Tom Brady (Patriots 10-6), Trent Green (Chiefs 10-6)
2006: Marc Bulger (Rams 8-8), Carson Palmer (Bengals 8-8)
2008: Aaron Rodgers (Packers 6-10)
2009: Eli Manning (Giants 8-8)
2010: Matt Schaub (Texans 6-10), Drew Brees (Saints 11-5)
2011: Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers 12-4), Matt Ryan (Falcons 10-6), Eli Manning (Giants 9-7)
2012: Matt Schaub (Texans 12-4), Tony Romo (Cowboys 8-8)
The combined record in those 17 seasons is 159-113, or roughly 9.4 wins per 16 games. Manning’s teams are four wins short of where you might expect based on his performance.
In a tangential point, Manning has now lost four playoff games when his team led the game with 40 seconds left.
Meanwhile, in these 16 games, the opposition has rushed for 2,303 yards on 519 attempts (4.4 per attempt). Since 1998, 35 teams have allowed between 2000 and 2500 rushing yards and between 4.3 and 4.5 yards per rushing attempt. The average win total of those teams is 6.2.
At the same time, Manning’s teams have rushed 368 times for 1,302 yards, a measly 3.54 per attempt. There have been 49 teams since 1998 to average that few per attempt. The average win total for this category is 7.6.
While 6.2 and 7.6 are both higher than 5, they are obviously closer to 5 than 9.4.
But, now take the two rushing stats together. Since 1998 only eight teams have been out-rushed by at least 1,000 yards. The average win total of those teams is 4.1, vs. 11.9 losses. And that includes an outlier: the 2006 Colts, who went 12-4 in the regular season despite being outrushed 2768-1762. Without them, the other 7 teams averaged a record of 3-13.
Special teams is also a factor, but difficult to measure. While Manning benefited from it on Saturday, he was also victimized by it in 2008-09 by San Diego punter Mike Scrifres. But there are no core numbers available.

The Nixon Centennial

Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, was born on January 9, 1913. Yesterday was January 9, 2013. I did not even realize until this morning, January 10, that Nixon would have been celebrating his 100th birthday the day before. It was not in the news. It was not mentioned at any website I frequent. Heck, even the Nixon Library website doesn’t mention it. It went essentially unnoticed.

I did find that there was a celebration that took place in California, which included among its attendees Henry Kissinger, Pat Buchanan, and Ben Stein. Video from C-SPAN here.

While some might prefer not to remember Watergate ever happening (chief among them would be Nixon), Nixon’s presidency was much more than that. He normalized relations with mainland China. He brought the Vietnam War to a close, albeit controversially. In terms of foreign policy, his was a mostly successful administration.

The negatives came mostly on the domestic front. There was Watergate, of course. There were wage and price controls. The economy from Lyndon Johnson through Jimmy Carter was quite sluggish, and Nixon’s years were no exception.

Nixon is a polarizing figure, although there are probably many more who view his presidency as a total failure than those who even acknowledge its successes. Nevertheless, he is a memorable figure even by the standards of the American presidency. I would have expected more coverage of the centennial.

Baseball Hall of Fame 2012: My Would-be Ballot

In no discernible order. I can offer explanations if asked.

Jeff Bagwell
Craig Biggio
Mike Piazza
Tim Raines
Edgar Martinez
Larry Walker
Kenny Lofton
Curt Schilling
Alan Trammell
Dale Murphy

I always waffle back and forth on the steroids issue. I think I’m probably leaning towards the view that if a player was good enough before the recognized “steroid age” that he should be in. But I’d like a year to think about it. (This would apply to Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens and probably few others.) In the mean time, it allows support for two additional players with less time remaining on the ballot.