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Author Topic: Comparison of the Unitas, Montana, and Manning eras...  (Read 660 times)
Steelerdipwad
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« on: Nov 25, 2009 at 13:05 »

So, thanks to excel, cut and paste, and NFL.coms stats section, I added up the NFL passing statistics during Unitas' career ('56 to '73) Montana's era ('79 to '94) and Manning's era ('98 to '09), ben's stats added per Pnnsodyssey's request.

During Unitas' era:

Games: 5254
Pass attempts: 144929
Completions: 73079
Percentage: 50.4%
yards: 908,130
y/a: 6.3
TD's: 7127
TD%: 4.9%
Ints: 8285
Int %: 5.7%
Rating: 62.8

During Montana's era:

Games: 6944
Pass Attempts: 218365
Completions: 122370
Percentage: 56.0%
yards: 1,394,127
y/a: 6.4
TD's: 8930
TD%: 4.1
Int's: 8651
Int%: 4.0
Rating: 72.5

During the Manning era:

Games: 5872
Pass Attempts: 191987
Completions: 113760
Percentage 59.3%
yards: 1,224,416
y/a: 6.4
TD's: 7779
TD%: 4.1
Int's: 6078
INT%: 3.2
Rating 78.4

During Ben's era:
Games: 2880
Pass Attempts: 93450
Completions: 56379
Pct: 60.3%
yards: 604768
y/a: 6.5
TD's: 3839
TD%: 4.1
Int's: 2865
Int%: 3.1
Rating: 80.2

So, in the key statistics, comparing each QB's stats versus the stats of all QB in their era:

Completion percentage:

1. Montana 63.2 - 56.0 = +7.2
2. Manning 64.7 - 59.3 = +5.4
3. Ben 65.6 - 60.3 = +5.3
4. Unitas 54.6 - 50.4 = +4.2

Yards per attempt:

1. Unitas 7.8 - 6.3 = +1.5
2. Ben 7.9 - 6.5 = +1.4
3. Manning 7.7 - 6.4 = +1.3
4. Montana 7.5 - 6.4 = +1.1

TD percentage:

1. Manning 5.6 - 4.1 = +1.5
2. Ben 5.2 - 4.1 = +1.1
3. Montana 5.1 - 4.1 = +1.0
4. Unitas 5.6 - 4.9 = +0.7

Int Percentage:

1. Montana 2.6 - 4.0 = -1.4
2. Unitas 4.9 - 5.7 = -0.8
3. Manning 2.7 - 3.2 = -0.5
4. Ben 3.5 - 3.1 = +0.4

Rating:

1. Montana 92.3 - 72.5 = +19.8
2. Manning 95.2 - 78.4 = +16.8
3. Unitas 78.2 - 62.8 = +15.4
4. Ben 90.8 -80.2 = +10.6

So, relative to his era, Montana was the best. That means that if someone is going to make an argument that one of the other two QB's is better they'll have to use some other reason such as post season performance, played in worse conditions, or looks much more studious and flaps his arms more at the line than the others.

Ben looks pretty good in comparison until you get to the interceptions. I don't think you can be WORSE that the league average in a critical category like that and be considered one of the all-time greatest players. He'd really have to cut down in interceptions and keep up the other categories over the rest of his career to end his career and be considered in the same league as the other three.
« Last Edit: Nov 25, 2009 at 13:57 by Steelerdipwad » Logged

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pensodyssey
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« Reply #1 on: Nov 25, 2009 at 13:23 »

Ok, now do the same thing for Ben's career to date, please.
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Steelerdipwad
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« Reply #2 on: Nov 25, 2009 at 13:57 »

Done
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« Reply #3 on: Nov 25, 2009 at 14:53 »

Yeah, the INTs are troublesome but I wouldn't weigh those too heavily.  He was a large part of the Super Bowl formula last year with 17 TD and 15 INT.

For his career
17 11
17 09
18 23
32 11
17 15
17 10 this season

Two years really stand out there for me, 18-23 and 32-11.  But those two avg 20-17 which is in the ballpark of the other 3 complete seasons which avg 17-12 and the overall avg 20-14.

It looks like this season is trending to 30-17 which I would take year in and year out, you can work with that esp considering the off-the-charts 8.3 ypa.

So, it looks like he's progressing nicely and he certainly belongs in the discussion with those other QBs you mentioned.
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« Reply #4 on: Nov 26, 2009 at 09:08 »

So, relative to his era, Montana was the best. That means that if someone is going to make an argument that one of the other two QB's is better they'll have to use some other reason such as post season performance, played in worse conditions, or looks much more studious and flaps his arms more at the line than the others.

Ben looks pretty good in comparison until you get to the interceptions. I don't think you can be WORSE that the league average in a critical category like that and be considered one of the all-time greatest players. He'd really have to cut down in interceptions and keep up the other categories over the rest of his career to end his career and be considered in the same league as the other three.

Doesn't hurt that Montana was surrounded by HOFers.  How many was Marino?  Elway?  Or, even Favre for that matter?  When Brady and Manning retire, Montana won't be in my top 3.  Heck, he might not even be in it right now.
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« Reply #5 on: Nov 28, 2009 at 09:39 »

I've always contended that Montana was a good QB that benefited from otherwordly coaching and WR help. He go to throw to Jerry Rice a lot, in a system that featured short passing. Less chance for INT's and higher completion percentage as a result. 

Considering how often he passed to Rathman, Craig et al, I'm kind of surprised that he didn't have a higher TD % than Manning.

I can't put Montana above Manning or Brady. Might consider Marino better, too (nowhere near the team that Montana had); Elway was also amazing.

Aikman doesn't have the stats, but all he did was win. And the butthead was money against the Steelers in 1995.  We shut down his running game and were in his face all game, but he completed pass after pass to move the chains. Killed us in the end.
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« Reply #6 on: Nov 29, 2009 at 18:33 »

Plus, when you compare stats to the player's era, remember that Unitas played in a smaller league, which means the talent was concentrated and every team in the league, almost, had at least a solid QB.

The other thing: Unitas played at a time when the QB could get absolutely butchered, battered around, punched in the face. What we'd call roughing -- hell, what today would get you ejected -- was part of the gameplan in his day.

I agree with the posts that suggest Montana is a bit overrated. I think he had the perfect skills to play in the system he dropped into, and he was a great player, but he was very lucky. People forget that Montana had some terrible playoff games. People forget that his great drive against the Bengals in SB 23 should have ended with an end zone interception (it was dropped).

I'd also argue that, except for the '84 Dolphins, he played against some very ordinary Super Bowl teams.

Anyway in his era, I thought Marino the best QB in the league. He just came on board a team with little offensive talent and lit the NFL up from day one. If Marino had had SF's receivers and defense, they would have won crazy Super Bowls.

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