Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Where oh where, will Peyton Go?

Now, I know that we all know very well who Peyton Manning is, how good he has been, and more details about his recent bout with a stubborn neck/nerve injury that we probably cared to know.  But, just to put in perspective what kind of player we are talking about hitting the free market, let me throw some stats and records out there out there.  It may seem gratuitous when you see the length of the list, but that is exactly the point I am trying to make.  His career has been that. damn. good.

Well, first things first, his career stats.

Regular Season


He is the picture of consistent excellence.  Once since his rookie year has a team he played on won less than 10 games.  Only in that rookie year did he complete less than 60% of his passes.  The Cotls have been one of the best teams in the league because of him.  Not only because he was on the team, he WAS  the team.

 Post Season



If you adjust his post-season play, which by it's nature has put him against better defenses than he saw in the regular season, and extrapolate it to a 16 game season played, you woul get these stats.
4528 YARDS
24 TD'S
16 INT'S

NFL RECORDS

Regular season
-Most seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards: 11 (1999–2004, 2006–2010)
-Most consecutive seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards: 6 (1999–2004; tied with Drew Brees) -Most games with 40+ pass attempts in a season: 10 (2010)
-Most consecutive seasons with at least 20 touchdown passes: 13 (1998–2010) -Most consecutive seasons with at least 25 touchdown passes: 13 (1998–2010)
-Most games with a perfect passer rating, career: 4 (includes 1 playoff game)
-Most consecutive games started to open a career: 208 [45]
-Most consecutive games with at least 2 touchdown passes: 13 (games 1–13, 2004)
-Most consecutive games with at least 4 touchdown passes: 5 (games 7–11, 2004)
-Most games with at least 4 touchdown passes, season: 6 (2004; tied with 1984 Marino)
-Most games with at least 4 touchdown passes, career: 24 (includes 2 playoff games; tied with Brett Favre)
-Most games with at least 5 touchdown passes, career: 7 (includes 1 playoff game)
-Most games with at least 5 touchdown passes and no interceptions, career: 4 (tied with Tom Brady)
-One of only seven QBs with at least 6 touchdown passes in two games (tied with Sammy Baugh, Y.A.  Tittle, Daryle Lamonica, Tom Brady, Charley Johnson and George Blanda)
-One of only two QBs with at least 6 touchdown passes and no interceptions in two games (tied with Tom Brady)
-Most regular games with at least 300 passing yards: 63 (tied with Dan Marino)
-Most regular and postseason games with at least 300 passing yards: 71
-Most games with at least 400 yards passing and no interceptions: 4
-Most career touchdown passes in Thursday games: 25
-Most touchdown passes on a Thursday game: 6 (tied with Bob Griese)
-Largest career TD-INT differential: 201
-Highest career passing TDs/game average (min. 150 TD passes): 1.91 TDs/game
-Highest career passing yards/game average: 263.6
-Second-Highest career completions/game average (min. 100 games played): 22.5
-Highest completion percentage by a QB in one month in NFL history (min. 75 attempts): 81.8% (December 2008)
-Most career games with a completion percentage of 70% or higher (min. 10 attempts): 66
-Most consecutive regular season wins as a starter: 23 (2008–2009)
-Most seasons with 10+ wins as a starter (regular season only): 11 (1999–2000, 2002–2010)
-Most seasons with 12+ wins as a starter (regular season only): 8 (1999, 2003–2009)
-Only QB with at least 12 wins as a starter in 7 consecutive seasons (2003–2009)
-Only QB with nine straight seasons of 10+ wins as a starter (2002–2010)
-Only QB to lead five consecutive 4th quarter comeback wins (games 7–11, 2009)
-Most fourth quarter comeback wins in one season: 7 (2009)
-First QB to defeat the other 31 teams in the regular season (Tom Brady did this later the same day, and Brett Favre did it the following week)
-Most wins as a starting QB in a decade, regular season only: 115 (2000s)
-Most wins as a starting QB in a decade, regular & postseason: 124 (2000s)
-Most AP NFL MVP Awards: 4 (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009)
-Most Touchdown Passes in a decade: 314 (2000–2009)
-Most Passing Yards in a decade: 42,254 (2000–2009)
-Most Completions in a decade: 3,575 (2000–2009)
-Playoff recordsMost 300+ yard passing games: 8
-Most 400+ yard passing games: 2 (tied with Dan Marino; surpassed by Drew Brees in 2011)
-Most yards passing, 1st half of game: 360 vs. Denver Broncos, 1/9/05
-Led the biggest comeback in conference championship game history (18 pts), 1/21/07 vs. New England
-One of only four QBs to post a perfect 158.3 passer rating in a game (Don Meredith, Terry Bradshaw, Dave Krieg)
-Most games with 20+ completions: 14
-Most games with 30+ completions: 4 (surpassed by Drew Brees in 2011)
-Most games with 30+ attempts: 17
-Most games with 40+ attempts: 8
-Most completions and attempts in a single postseason: 97/153 (2006)
-One of only 2 quarterbacks to complete 80% of his passes in two playoff games (tied with Kurt Warner)
-Most consecutive postseasons with at least one start: 9 (2002–2010)
-Rookie recordsMost pass attempts: 575 (surpassed by Sam Bradford in 2010)
-Most pass completions: 326 (surpassed by Sam Bradford in 2010)
-Most passing yards: 3,739 (surpassed by Cam Newton in 2011)
-Most touchdown passes: 26
-Most consecutive games with a touchdown pass (games 4–16): 13
-Most games with at least one touchdown pass: 15
-Most games with 300+ yards passing: 4

With Marvin Harrison

-Most completions/receptions (career): 953
-Most passing/receiving yards (career): 12,756
-Most passing/receiving touchdowns (career): 112
-Most completions/receptions in a season, QB-to-WR duo: 143 (2002)
-Most passing/receiving yards in a season, QB-to-WR duo: 1,722 (2002)

Pro Bowl records

-Most Pro Bowl selections for a QB: 11 (tied with Brett Favre)
-Most consecutive Pro Bowl selections for a QB: 9 (following the 2002-2010 seasons)
-Most passing attempts (career): 150
-Most passing attempts (game): 41 (2004)
-Most completions (career): 92
-Most completions (game): 22 (2004)
-Most passing yards (career): 1,278
-Most passing yards (game): 342 (2004)
-Most passing touchdowns (career): 13

Now that we have read through that exhaustive list of accomplishments, the question of the hours is.....WHERE WILL HE GO.

There have been a lot of opinions and a boatload of talk about this topic.  In fact, I feel like I might be a little late to the game here, but all the same.  I have some thoughts.

But.....per my normal process, let's work through this.  What logic can we use here?

1. What teams need a quarterback?
2. What teams would have a chance to win the title with Peyton in the next 3 years?
3. What teams have personnel that Peyton would want to play with, and is it true that Reggie Wayne will be coming with him?
4. What teams play in conditions which would be attractive to Peyton
5. Does it matter to Peyton which division he Plays in.

Ok, well as for point #1, here are the teams that scream at me that they either 1. Do not have a premier starter.  or 2. Would be willing to sit their starter for what Peyton could bring.  Here are the teams that I see that would be, or should be, willing to consider Peyton.

Buffalo: I know that they just signed Fitzpatrick, but Ryan is a smart guy.  As much as he would want to, he would not be able to argue the logic that Peyton is better than he ever will be.  Hell, 80% of Peyton is better than he ever will be. 

Miami: All due credit to Matt Moore who had a very nice season in Miami after taking over the helm of the Dolphins, Peyton is the kind of guy who could come in and pull the talent this team has together.  Brandon Marshall would work for a guy like Peyton, Davone Bess and Reggie Bush would be electric catching the ball from Peyton.  Oh, and he has to like the teams in the AFC East and having the chance to rain on Brady's parade twice a year.

Jets: Sanchez is not the guy, not yet.  For all the worries about Sanchez' fragile psyche, just think how much better he could be from learning how to work like a Manning.  Give Peyton a couple years, take a title, and plug Sanchez back in.  You might just have what you were hoping for then.  That said, Peyton would be an idiot to come to New York and mess with this..well....mess.

Ravens: Joe Flacco thinks he should be paid like the top 5.  I think the Ravens should cut him loose and get Peyton.  Flacco should be in his prime, but he plays like it's the 70's. 

Bengals: Andy Dalton is a fine young QB and I expect the Bengals to leave him be, especially with his relatively low contract.  That said, they are loaded at the skill positions with AJ Green leading the way and one of the better young Tight Ends with Jermaine Gresham.  Peyton will show Carson Palmer what he should be doing.

Chiefs: The debate in Kansas City is whether Orton or Cassel will start while Stanzi learns the ropes.  The problem is, neither of those guys is more than a journeyman.  They have talent on the skill positions that many teams would love to have, a young and talented defense, and a coach who would let Peyton have the reigns.  He could come in and walk his way into the Playoffs in KC.  And besides how much fun would Tebow time against Peyton's clutch 4th quarters be?

Seahawks: Seattle needs an answer at QB.  This would be a perfect situation for the Reggie Wayne package deal.  Seattle has some nice pieces, but don't have that stud outside receiver.  Give them Wayne with Golden Tate in the slot, Doug Baldwin as #2, and Zach Miller at Tight End and you just might have something.

San Francisco: Oh my goodness would this be a marriage made in Heaven.  A great running attack to play-action off of.  A strong defense to get him the ball back, and a spot open for Reggie to step into.  San Fran has said they won't, but they really should make a run at him.

Arizona: Think about this one for a bit.  Peyton gets to come into another dome, in Arizona.  He brings Reggie Wayne to be the #2 because Larry Fitzgerald, who he is friends with, is already here.  Oh, and Todd Heap for icing on the cake.

Vikings: Christian Ponder did some nice things, and Joe Webb has shown flashes of talent, but neither is as good as Peyton and both would be improved for having learned from him.  The best running back in the league to keep defenses honest lines up behind him?  What's not to like?   Oh yeah, this is a situation that would require Reggie because the Vikings are painfully short on Receivers.

Redskins: This is a popular choice.  They have the money, they need a starter, and he would get to play his brother twice a year.  There are few problems here though.  Even with Reggie, I would not be terribly high on this receiver corp.  No QB in his right mind would choose to face the pass rushes in the NFC East, especially not coming back from the injury the Peyton is...oh, and why would we think he would want to go to war against his baby brother twice a year.  These 2 guys LOVE each other.  Playing him twice a year will not be a selling point.

Eagles: I am really surprised that this one has not come up.  I know they are Vick's team blah blah blah.  Andy Reid has to win this year and can you imagine what Peyton would do with the weapons that the Eagles trot out there?  Even better if Reggie comes with him.  Let's put DeSean, Maclin, and Wayne on the field at the same time.  How much do you want to bet the Eagle put up 30 on you? 

Ok, so now we have our list.  On to point 2.  Who has the chance to win it all with Peyton in the near future

Buffalo: Do you remember how good they looked early in the year?  When Fitz lost his shine, so did they.
Miami: I would love to see him face up against Marino's ghost in Miami, but I just don't think they are close enough to winning.
Jets: Can you spell, D-I-S-F-U-N-C-T-I-O-N-A-L?  I can.
Ravens: They would be the immediate favorite if they upgraded to Peyton.
Bengals: They are young and loaded.  With Peyton, they would have a shot.
Chiefs: I know how bad they looked, but they are up and coming, and that defense is about to be wicked.  They have a better shot than people realize.
Seahawks: Pete Carroll has them on the right track.  Peyton and Reggie together would make them the a playoff regular.  And you know what they say, once you're in, you have a shot.
San Francisco: They have a real shot with Alex Smith.  So yeah, Peyton would give them a chance to win it all.
Arizona: This is a bit iffy, but they are only a couple years removed from the Super Bowl and the biggest change was Kurt Warner retiring.  They need another receiver, but that can be done.
Vikings: I just don't see it.
Redskins: They are missing more than a QB and are in a tough division. 
Eagles: They have a shot now, see 49ers comments and insert Vick.

Ok, so now we are down to 8.

On to point 3.  Who, with Reggie as an option, would give personnel that would be attractive for Peyton.

 We can trim out Arizona here, I think they might need too much to win right away at the level that Peyton will be looking for.  Otherwise, I think the rest can stay.

Point 4 will do some thinning however.  Peyton likes to throw it around the field and he is going to want his home field to favor the offense he wants to run.

Buffalo: uhm, no.
Ravens: hmmm, well it's not terrible
Bengals: The rumor is that their field is well....not great.  Oh, and the great lakes get a bit iffy come football season I hear.  Not the worst, but not the best.
Chiefs: I would tend to think no with the Kansas wind, but there have been some very successful passing offenses in KC.  We'll give it a maybe.
Seahawks: It rains in Seattle.....or maybe it's easier to say sometimes it doesn't rain in Seattle.  That said, they do have good artificial turf and a brand new stadium.
San Francisco: Candlestick has history, it also has bad turf and swirling winds.
Eagles: Lincoln Financial is a great field and they do a great job...but it is not exactly warm in the wintertime in Philly.

So, going in point 5, we have the Bengals, Chiefs, Seahawks, and Eagles.  We ask, does it matter which division he plays in, and I think it does.  I think he would want to be in the AFC East and will not want to be in the NFC East.  So, out go the Eagles.  I don't see him wanting to play for an owner who meddles and who isn't focused on winning.  So, how go the Bungles.  So, Chiefs or Seahawks?

The Seahawks need him more, but the Chiefs give him an immediate chance to start winning division titles.  They are more talented and they play in a worse division.  So, I am going to say:

PEYTON MANNING SHOULD PLAY FOR THE CHIEFS.



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