Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Have We Been Too Hard on Manning?
Gomer Manning made a great stride in removing his choker label by finally getting over on the Patriots on Sunday. Sure, it was like the third season of the White Shadow version of the Patriots, but hey, it was a win and Manning deserves credit. (Hey, THN is nothing if not fair.)
However, a lot of people, including our man, MJD, over at FanHouse have presented the case that maybe Manning should have never received the choker label at all. Manning has been ridiculed for three playoff losses in his career, against the Jets in 2002 and the Patriots in 2003 and 2004. Here are the numbers in those games:
Against NY Jets in 2002: 14-31, 137 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT, 32.1 passer rating.
Against New England in 2003: 24-34, 237 yards, 1 TD, 4 INT, 35.5 passer rating.
Against New England in 2004: 27-42 238 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 69.3 passer rating.
Not so good, eh? Now some of you have pointed out that the last two losses came against the best team of this generation. Maybe, you might reason, that it is not fair to hold those two games against Manning because the Patriots were so good. And you know what?
You can totally reason that Manning should not have been a called a choker because the Patriots were so good.
Manning also played the Patriots during the regular season during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. What where his numbers like then?
Against New England in 2003: 29-48, 278 yards, 4 TD, I INT, 95.7 passer rating.
Against New England in 2004: 16-29, 256 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 93.5 passer rating.
So in other words, Manning passed for 6 TD and 2 INT with a passer rating of around 94 against the dominant team in the NFL during the regular season. But during the playoffs, Manning tossed 5 INT and only 1 TD. Isn't that the very definition of choking? Even if you want to throw out the 2003 regular season game because it was at home (but you shouldn't), Manning had his way with the Patriots defense during the regular season, but somehow couldn’t get it done in the playoffs. So yeah, it seems very fair and accurate to label Manning a choker.
And that enduring image will be entrenched if the Colts lose in the Super Bowl.