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Comparing Manning (2004), Brady (2007), Rodgers (2011) and Manning (2013)

Posted on August 5, 2014 at 2:00 PM

In the history of the NFL, there have only been four instances in which a quarterback has earned a single-season passer rating above 115.0.

 

  • Aaron Rodgers (2011): 122.5
  • Peyton Manning (2004): 121.1
  • Tom Brady (2007): 117.2
  • Peyton Manning (2013): 115.1

*Minimum of 400 passing attempts to qualify.

 

Manning (2004): 336 of 497 (67.6) for 4,557 yards, 49 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.


Brady (2007): 398 of 578 (68.9) for 4,806 yards, 50 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.


Rodgers (2011): 343 of 502 (68.3) for 4,643 yards, 45 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.


Manning (2013): 450 of 659 (68.3) for 5,477 yards, 55 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.


Of the four instances, Manning in 2013 had the most passing attempts (659).

  • Brady's 578 in 2007 were 81 fewer — 5.06 per-game
  • Rodgers' 502 in 2011 were 157 fewer — 9.81 per-game
  • Manning's 497 in 2004 were 162 fewer — 10.13 per-game

Manning in 2013 also had the greatest number of drives (187).

  • Brady's 155 in 2007 were 32 fewer — 2.0 per-game
  • Manning's 150 in 2004 were 37 fewer — 2.3 per-game
  • Rodgers' 148 in 2011 were 39 fewer — 2.4 per-game


Had all four quarterbacks attempted 659 passes, while maintaining the same degree of efficiency, the results would be as follows:


Passing Yards

  • Aaron Rodgers (2011): 6,095
  • Peyton Manning (2004): 6,042
  • Tom Brady (2007): 5,480
  • Peyton Manning (2013): 5,447

Adjusted Net Yards Per Pass Attempt

  • Peyton Manning (2004): 6,445
  • Aaron Rodgers (2011): 6,188
  • Tom Brady (2007): 5,852
  • Peyton Manning (2013): 5,845

Touchdown Passes

  • Peyton Manning (2004): 64.97
  • Aaron Rodgers (2011): 59.07
  • Tom Brady (2007): 57.01
  • Peyton Manning (2013): 55.00

Interceptions

  • Aaron Rodgers (2011): 7.88
  • Tom Brady (2007): 9.12
  • Peyton Manning (2013): 10.00
  • Peyton Manning (2004): 13.26


More passing attempts can equal greater production, but lower rates of yards per attempt, adjusted net yards per attempt and touchdown percentage.

In 2013, Manning threw for more yards (5,477) and more touchdowns (55) than any quarterback in NFL history. Statistically, Manning (2004), Brady (2007) and Rodgers (2011) would have all surpassed those totals had they thrown the ball 659 times. However, what is often overlooked is the difficulty in maintaining such astronomical levels of efficiency when defenses know to expect the pass more often.


Yards Per Attempt

  • Aaron Rodgers (2011): 9.25
  • Peyton Manning (2004): 9.17
  • Tom Brady (2007): 8.31
  • Peyton Manning (2013): 8.31

Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt

  • Peyton Manning (2004): 9.78
  • Aaron Rodgers (2011): 9.39
  • Tom Brady (2007): 8.88
  • Peyton Manning (2013): 8.87

Touchdown Percentage

  • Peyton Manning (2004): 9.9
  • Aaron Rodgers (2011): 9.0
  • Tom Brady (2007): 8.7
  • Peyton Manning (2013): 8.3


The correlation between fewer passing attempts and higher efficiency rates was evident across the board in these four instance.


Passing Attempts

  • Peyton Manning (2004): 497 — ranked 1st in-group in both adjusted net yards per attempt and touchdown percentage.
  • Aaron Rodgers (2011): 502 — ranked 2nd in-group in both adjusted net yards per attempt and touchdown percentage.
  • Tom Brady (2007): 578 — ranked 3rd in-group in both adjusted net yards per attempt and touchdown percentage.
  • Peyton Manning (2013): 659 — ranked 4th in-group in both adjusted net yards per attempt and touchdown percentage.


Another factor to consider is the number of points surrendered by each quarterback's defense.


Scoring Defense

  • 2007 New England Patriots: 4th
  • 2004 Indianapolis Colts: 19th
  • 2011 Green Bay Packers: 19th
  • 2013 Denver Broncos: 22nd


Broncos 22nd ranked scoring defense in 2013 was the worst in NFL history to ever support an MVP quarterback, and the worst to ever win 13 or more games.

Heading into Week 7, the Broncos had the worst passing defense in all of professional football (32nd). They gave up 506 yards and five touchdowns through the air alone to Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5—surrendering 48 points in the process. Manning completed five passes or more to five different receivers—scoring 51 points to close out the contest with a 129.6 passer rating. At that point, Manning had completed 150 of 198 passes for 1,884 yards, 20 touchdowns and one interception.

That pace would have left him completing 480 of 634 passes (75.8 percent) for 6,029 yards, 64 touchdowns and three interceptions. His passer rating was 136.4.

In Week 6 vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars, Manning suffered two ankle sprains which impacted his health for the remainder of the season. Prior to the 11/17/13 game vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, Manning was given a specialized brace to help stabalize his ankles and provide improved mobility.

During Week's 6-11, Manning completed 155 of 247 passes (62.8 percent) for 1,838 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. 96.9 passer rating.
During Week's 12-16, Manning completed 145 of 214 passes (67.8 percent) for 1,755 yards, 19 touchdowns and three interceptions. 116.5 passer rating.

Manning's performance prior to injury, and the subsequent improvement he displayed as he got healthier, makes his 2013 season all the more impressive. He may not have gone on to throw for the 6,029 yards and 64 touchdowns that he was on pace for, but his totals would have likely been considerably higher than the records he went on to establish playing at the age of 37, with nerve damage and two injured ankles.

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