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Checkdowns: Manning & Brady Nearly Tied in Lifetime Passer Rating

Posted by Neil Paine on December 9, 2010

Here's a checkdown sent to us by Eddy Elfenbein, who points out an interesting fact:

"Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are nearly tied in the NFL’s (mostly useless) Passer Rating.


[T]he Manning camp could always say that their guy had the better passing rating. This was true for most of the past few years.

But thanks to throwing 11 interceptions in the last three weeks, Manning’s Passer Rating has dropped 94.7567. Tom Brady’s is 94.6978. They’re now separated by less than 0.06 points. Just seven weeks ago, Manning was leading by over two full points. Four years ago, he was leading by more than six points."

Eddy goes on to show an incredible week-by-week graph, illustrating the two players' career passer ratings since 2002.

In Manning's defense (and like Eddy points out), passer rating is a flawed metric. Also, if you examine the graph, Manning's career rating is basically the same as it was in 2008 -- the real change has been almost entirely on the part of Brady, who's improved from 88 to 95 in just three full seasons. Besides, Manning is also a year older than Brady, so he could be hitting his decline phase while Brady is still at his peak (yes, this is grasping at straws, but I want to avoid the appearance of this being Patriots homer week).

Even so, after the 2006 season it was almost inconceivable that Brady and Manning's regular-season ratings would be even by 2010.