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Misusing statistics

A quick search of the site didn't show a response to this awful piece that I was directed to be 18 to 88's resident Pats fan (it did tell me the site it's from isn't well liked). Cold Hard Football Facts' "The Complete & Unabridged Guide to Why Tom Brady is Better than Peyton Manning vol II. I don't think I've ever seen so much misuse and misleading use of statistics. So I'm going to expand my 18 to 88 response in the style of my favorite baseball blog. (the bold text is from the article the normal text is me, because that's how FJM does it and because the quote boxes aren't working right)

The start off by attributing team accomplishments to Brady.

Brady boasts the seventh best passer rating in NFL history, better than Marino, Favre, McNabb and many of the other modern-era QBs mentioned among the all-time greats.

Guess who is second. The guy that they are saying isn't as good as Brady. Great start.

They go into a long rant on Manning's playoff failures and how they show he'll never win "the big one." How'd that work out? Then they go back to team accomplishments like there aren't 52 other players and a coaching staff involved.

Manning and Brady have faced each other six times. New England has won each game, outscoring Indy by an average score of 31.8-17.5 – nearly a 2-to-1 margin. Brady has clearly outshined the two-time regular-season MVP. In fact, it’s not even close. Here’s how their numbers stack up in those six contests:
* Brady: 121 for 180 (67.2%), 1,322 yards, 10 TDs, 4 INTs, 98.0 passer rating
* Manning: 137 for 234 (58.5%), 1,542 yards, 9 TDs, 10 INTs, 73.3 passer rating

They compare Brady vs the awful Colts Ds of 2001-2004 against Manning vs the very good Pats Ds. The Pats Ds ranked, 1st, 2nd, 17th and 6th in those years, compared to 19th 20th, 7th, 31st for the Colts. The Colts D was better one year, every other year the Pats D ranked at least 18 spots higher. Not to mention they are evaluating careers by one game a year or less.

More team accomplishments but this time in college. If Brady was better college player than Manning why did Manning go first overall and Brady in the 6th round? No one passed on Manning, every team in the league passed on Brady several times.

Brady certainly has the support of a better defense than Manning. But they have hardly been suffocating defenses like those that have carried certain other teams to Super Bowl championships. In fact, New England’s 2001 defensive unit ranked just 24th in total defense, making it the lowest rated defense ever to win a Super Bowl. The 2001 unit did rank sixth in scoring defense, surrendering 17.0 points per game. But 31 of the 39 teams to win a Super Bowl had a better scoring defense that the one Brady played with in 2001.

New England’s 2003 defense was markedly better. It ranked sixth in total defense and No. 1 in scoring defense, surrendering 14.9 points per game. That puts New England’s 2003 unit smack-dab in the middle of the championship pack: 18 Super Bowl winners boasted a better scoring defense than the 2003 Patriots.

 IT WAS THE BEST D IN THE LEAGUE. They don't play the other SB champs, it only matters how good you are relative to who you play. The average level of points scored may have changed somewhat in the last 40 years.

They beat up on Trent Dilfer a bit. Brady is the second best QB in the league, of course he's better than Dilfer.

in the 2001 draft, Manning lobbied the team to select wide receiver Reggie Wayne of Miami in the first round despite the fact that the Indy offense already featured a future Hall of Fame receiving talent in Harrison and despite the fact that the porous Indy defense surrendered 20.4 PPG in 2000.

Porous? The 2000 Colts D ranked 15th. That's almost exactly average. It's actually a bit above average. They twist the language and cite a stat that doesn't give as acurate picture of where the D was.

The only time Deion Branch is mentioned in the entire article is this:

Deion Branch (a second-round draft pick from Louisville)

You mean SB MVP Deion Branch who the Seahawks traded a first round pick for. Oh, yeah he sucks gloss right over him.

New England’s offensive line in 2004 featured a second-round draft pick (Matt Light), two fifth rounders (Dan Koppen and Russ Hochstein), a seventh-round pick (Brandon Gorin) and three undrafted free agents (Stephen Neal, Joe Andruzzi and Tom Ashworth)

Two of their undrafteds are backups who started a combined 8 games.
The Colts line is similarly constructed. Tarik Glenn first rounder, Ryan Lilja undrafted, Jeff Saturday undrafted, Jake Scott  5th round, Ryan Diem 4th round and backups Tupe Peko 7th round and Makoa Freitas 6th round.

the 2003 Patriots averaged just 3.4 yards per rushing attempt. Among all Super Bowl champions, only the 1970 Colts (3.3 yards per carry) had a more ineffective ground game.
Again comparing the Pats to past SB champs this time in run O. You don't play the past champs. The run O was bad, but comparing them the other SB champs means nothing and most teams aren't going to look good when their weakest attribute is compared to 30-some NFL championship teams.

They compare them through their first 5 years not mentioning that Manning was thrown onto a 3-13 team as the starter from day one where he struggled. While Brady learned on the bench.

Brady, meanwhile, throwing to castoffs like David Patten and Dedric Ward

Ward played only a partial season in NE (4 games with 7 receptions) not a very honest example of the talent Brady played with.

Manning's 92.3 passer rating is fourth best in history. Brady's is seventh.
Manning was only 4.8 points higher than Brady so it's not a big difference when 2.2 points is the difference between Dan Marino and Mark Brunell (through 2006 since that's the list they linked). 4.8 is about the difference between Steve Young and Marc Bulger on the list they cite.

and finally and most damning. They refer to themselves in the 3rd person through the full article.