There’s been a lot of chatter going back and forth on the Pros and Cons of signing Peyton Manning. What best way to get an honest opinion, but through the fans who have watched him as he grew up in the NFL.
There is an article written on Sports Illustrated by a Kerry Byrne titled "It's 'buyer beware' for the teams lining up to add Manning."
Here’s the link: >http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/kerry_byrne/03/07/peyton.manning/index.html?sct=nfl_bf3_a3
The article claims that Peyton performance has declined was his exact words, and that was a warning sign that teams should be aware of before signing him to a contract.
The careers of almost all quarterbacks follow a general pattern: They struggle when very young, hit their stride in their late 20s and early 30s, and then quickly hit a wall of production. Manning is clearly on a downslide in terms of production. His career peaked in 2004, with then-records in TD passes (49) and passer rating (121.1). Manning's performances have consistently declined, almost step by step, year after year since that signature 2004 season.
There are several other warning signs to observe some of which are obvious and others that seem more speculative than factual. Especially since human interaction its success and failures are not an exact science.
But what’s got my attention most on this article is this whole notion of QB’s after the age of 36 have shown a steady decline in production. The case study uses only Montana’s numbers when he was a Chief as an example. Far too little in my opinion to be a solid argument to prove a point. Montana also had a long history of injuries that had plagued him throughout his career as a Niner.
Peyton on the other had was an iron man compared to Joe in that he had played in 208 consecutive games before proving that he was human after all with his neck injury. Yes the Neck injury is significant, but even his doctors claim that he stands no greater risk of injury than any other player playing football. The concern is mostly on how the nerve regenerates.
Another argument used by the Nay Sayers is that Peyton chokes in big games. Now this is where I need the input most by Colts fans.
I’ve compiled some team stats over Peyton’s career as a Colt and found some interesting stuff. One of which shows that Peyton and the aerial attack was the only consistent threat in Indianapolis. Ranking high like in the top 5 every year in the passing category.
Here’s a listing of Defensive rankings. It shows the year, the defensive rushing ranking, the defensive ranking against pass, and the total defense compared to all the 31 other teams.
1999 Rush 18th Pass 19th Overall 15th
'00 Rush 25th Pass 18th Overall 21st
‘01 Rush 25th Pass 28th Overall 29th
‘02 Rush 20th Pass 2nd Overall 8th
‘03 Rush 20th Pass 4th Overall 11th
‘04 Rush 24th Pass 28th Overall 29th
‘05 Rush 16th Pass 15th Overall 11th
‘06 Rush 32nd Pass 2nd Overall 21st
‘07 Rush 15th Pass 1st Overall 3rd
‘08 Rush 24th Pass 4th Overall 11th
‘09 Rush 24th Pass 13th Overall 18th
‘10 Run 25th Pass 11th Overall 20th
From looking at the Defensive rankings of the Colts throughout Peyton’s career you can see the team was built around stopping their opponents from passing the ball. That’s how they got away with having undersized DE’s in Freeney and Mathis who are more for rushing the passer than playing the run. Would that be a correct assessment?
Also the Colts Defense needed Peyton to build a sizeable lead quickly so as to force teams into obvious passing situations just to catch up. Which would be playing into the Colts defensive strengths. Since the Colts pass defense ranked in the top 5 five of the twelve years Peyton played. ( For those wondering why I did not include years ‘98 and ‘11 was because ’98 was his rookie year and ’11 he did not play) Would it be correct to assume that if Peyton struggled to get an early lead the defense would have a tougher time to dominate the opponents offense? Since it played out of its strengths of rushing the passer.
I also looked at the lack of a rushing threat that could have led to the pressure for Peyton to have to put the game on his shoulders just to win the game.
In ‘99 the Colts ranked as 19th total rushing
‘00 it was 16th
In short if Peyton had a more balance defense along with a better rushing attack he would not have been forced to make all the plays. Which leads IMO to a higher probability of making more costly mistakes. In the Playoffs team weaknesses will be exposed since your are now only playing against the best. Which I think led to more of the post season failures than Peyton chocking in big games.
So the question is...
1). Do you think Peyton Chokes in big games?
2). Do you think Peyton is washed up now being that he's turning 36 this year?