Peyton Manning is the Worst (to Start a Super Bowl)

If there’s one thing analysts and fans can agree on, it’s that Carolina quarterback Cam Newton is playing the best football of his career— which also happens to be some of the best football of all time. The Broncos, on the other hand, have essentially carried Peyton Manning to his fourth Super Bowl appearance; it’s no secret that the elder Manning hasn’t been playing at a top level this year.doug-macfaddin-Peyton_Manning_throwing

But what’s crazy isn’t that Manning is playing poorly by his standards. He’s playing poorly by NFL Standards. In fact, depending on how you work the statistics, he’s the worst quarterback to start a Super Bowl. Ever.

Neil Payne for FiveThirtyEight breaks it down nicely. Although Manning was out for six weeks, his backup, Brock Osweiler, didn’t terribly effect the offensive rankings for the Denver football club. When it was all said and done, the Broncos had the eighth-worst passing offense in the league.

In this system, Manning’s statistical efficiency is being calculated using the Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt (ANY/A). While the links in the piece explain it in good detail, all you need to know right know is that we aren’t just judging Peyton in the traditional vein of TD:INT ratio. This is factoring for other things too, like how many passes are on target (not very many, by the way).

When it comes down to raw numbers, Peyton Manning doesn’t have the lowest scores among quarterbacks starting in the Super Bowl. That honor goes to Vince Ferragamo of the LA Rams, who fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIV. So what makes Peyton worse?

The Sheriff is playing in a pass-happy league. Way back when, NFL teams employed more of a ground and pound offense. West-coast offense traditionally refers to a system that relies heavily on the passing game. Today, quarterback expectations are so high, and a vertical attack is so common, that “west-coast offense” has lost pretty much all of its meaning.

But do the Broncos have a chance? They sure do, or else they wouldn’t be here. They didn’t win because of terrible offense— they won because their defense has just been so prolific. In plain words, it was the best in football. It may have carried Manning this far, but can it take him past the number one offense in the league?

This Super Bowl Sunday is more about Manning going out with a bang or Cam cementing his spot as an elite QB. This Sunday, we finally get to learn if defenses truly win championships.


Published by: Doug MacFaddin

Douglas Willis MacFaddin was born June 16, 1961 in the Miamisburg Hospital to Patricia Ann MacFaddin and Richard Willis MacFaddin. My mother’s maiden name is Morrison and she is the youngest of seven children who were raised in Lycippus, PA. My father was the second of four children and was a twin. He was raised in the town of Viola, DE. At the time of my birth, my father worked at the Mound Laboratories in Miamisburg, Ohio in research. Mound was an Atomic Energy Commission facility for nuclear weapon research during the Cold War. My mother made a home for our family. My father passed away in 1991 and my mother is currently living in Avon, CT. Doug MacFaddin is the oldest of five children (Doug, R. Stuart, Anne Marie, Megan and Mary (Heather)). I lived in Ohio for two years, spent the next seven years in Murrysville, PA (outside of Pittsburgh), moved to Little Silver, NJ and relocated my senior year in high school to Avon, CT. My four siblings currently live with their families in Avon, CT and are members of St. Ann’s Church. I attended Mother of Sorrows School in Murrysville, PA. In NJ, I attended Little Silver Point Road School, Markham Place School and Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) in Lincroft, NJ for three years. My senior year, I attended Avon High School and I then spent the next four years at Union College, Schenectady, NY. I received a BS in Industrial Economics and graduated in June 1983. While at Salomon Brothers, I was asked to attend a two-week seminar for Public Finance at the University of Michigan in 1986. In Little Silver, I was involved in Troop 126 where I achieved the rank of Life Scout and was both a Patrol Leader and a Senior Patrol Leader. I also was an alter boy at St. James Catholic Church and spent summers a the Ship Ahoy Beach Club in Seabright, NJ and caddying at the Rumson Country Club. At Christian Brothers Academy, I wrestled for the varsity squad for three years. I took second in the districts my junior year and went on to the regionals. I also ran on their cross country team freshman year and was part of the CBA Colt team that hasn’t lost a duel meet since 1973. My senior year at Avon, I won the wrestling States (S). I went on to wrestle at Union College and qualified for the Div III nationals twice (1981, 1982) and was co-captain both years. My senior year at Avon, CT, I also won the States (S) in pole vaulting. It was the first time Avon High School had a state champ in two sports in the same year. During my four years, I earned nine varsity letters between wrestling, track and football. In 1979, I was accepted into The National Honor & Merit Scholars Society. Upon graduating from Union College, I accepted a position at Salomon Brothers Inc in August 1983. I was an analyst in their Public Finance department at One New York Plaza. I lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn and spent the next four years working at Salomon Brothers. As a result of Black Monday, October 19, 1987 the Public Finance Department of Salomon Brothers was jettisoned to conserve capital. By November 1, 1987, I was working at Dean Witter Reynolds in the new Public Finance Department made up of many of my former Salomon Brother’s colleagues. The new Department was located on the 57th floor of 2 World Trade Center.

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