I caught this interesting article on Sports Illustrated’s website, and it’s damned hard to argue with anything they have to say. Warner and Manning entered the league in the same year, they’ve both played the majority of their career in a dome, and they’ve both played with great running backs. The biggest difference between the two men is that Manning was anointed as great before he entered the NFL, and Warner has clawed for every chance he’s got. Here are a few facts:
- Warner’s teams are 8-2 in postseason play. Manning’s Colts are 7-8 in postseason play. Only Bart Starr and Tom Brady have a higher postseason winning percentage than Warner.
- When it comes to all-important postseason play, there is no comparison: Warner is better than Manning any which way you want to slice it or dice it.
Warner in the postseason (10 games):
230 of 360 (63.9 percent), 2,991 yards, 8.31 YPA, 299 yards per game, 23 TD, 12 INT, 97.3 passer rating.
Manning in the postseason (15 games):
348 of 565 (61.6 percent), 4,207 yards, 7.4 YPA, 280 yards per game, 22 TD, 17 INT, 84.9 passer rating.
You’ll notice Warner is better than Manning in almost every single efficiency stat and has actually thrown more postseason TD passes than Manning (23 to 22) — despite playing in five fewer games.
You’ll also notice Warner’s postseason passer rating (97.3) is higher than his regular-season passer rating (93.8), while Manning’s postseason passer rating (84.9) is significantly lower than his regular-season passer rating (94.7).
In other words, Warner’s play improves in the postseason pressure cooker. Manning’s performances plummet.
Manning has been to the Super Bowl once, Warner is making his 3rd trip next Sunday. Warner has also taken two bottom-feeding organizations to the promised land, and didn’t piggyback other great players to get there (like Rex Grossman and Trent Dilfer).
Peyton can put up all the gaudy regular season stats he wants, but the bottom line is… he hasn’t been very good when it’s mattered most.