Can Manning Top Montana’s Second Act?
Peyton Manning’s career has a lot in common with Joe Montana’s career through age 35.
The parallels between the two great quarterbacks at this stage of their careers are remarkable. Montana had the big edge in Super Bowls, playing in four and winning them all in his 12 seasons with the 49ers. Manning appeared in two for the Colts, winning one. Manning has the statistical edge, after getting an earlier chance to start and never relinquishing it: He’s started 208 regular-season games to Montana’s 139 through 1990. Manning has completed 64.9% of passes, throwing touchdowns on 5.5% of them and interceptions on 2.7%. Montana’s equivalent numbers at this stage: 63.6%, 5.3% and 2.7%. And, like Montana after his age-34 season, Manning suffered a serious injury that forced him to sit a year and eventually led to his leaving his team for the AFC West. Montana went to the Chiefs after missing 1991 with an elbow injury and backing up Steve Young in 1992. Montana played two seasons in Kansas City before retiring…
Overall, 22 quarterbacks have had a strong season past age 36 in the last 43 years. Warner and Brett Favre were the last two to do it, and Favre and Moon were the only ones to do it past 40. The list is an eclectic one, including nine Hall of Famers and two likely future inductees in Favre and Warner. Steve DeBerg, Craig Morton and Jim Plunkett are among the other 11 on the list.
The main reason to hope for more from Manning than most of his predecessors is that he’s already one of the best QBs in history. What held back others may not apply to him. His career adjusted net yards per attempt is 21% better than league average, higher than all but three of the QBs to have strong years after turning 36: Steve Young, at 22%, and two QBs with whom he’s tied at 21%: Roger Staubach, and Montana.
I love the smell of stats in the morning.
Hopefully, stats trump neck injuries for the Broncos.