Tag Archives: Peyton Manning

What if Andrew Luck Came Out Last Year…?

It is truly amazing that this actually happened.

Prepare for 1500 words on what would have happened if Andrew Luck was gay.

Just kidding. Were talking about Luck entering the draft last year as opposed to this year. However that article may have been just as if not more interesting. We’ll put it on the backburner for now.

So like many of you, I watched the Peyton and Jim Irsay press conference today and it just felt weird. Now, I’m not on either side here. I’m not a Colts fan and I don’t particularly loathe Peyton Manning for any reason. I’m you normal, average football fan who can appreciate the 6’4’’ quarterback with a laser, rocket arm. That’s why it surprised me how weird it felt watching Peyton stand there behind Jim Irsay as Irsay seemingly was realizing as he spoke that he was really doing this.

I thought about it for a second, trying to pinpoint where my unsettled feeling was coming from. Then it hit me. This shouldn’t be happening. It was like everyone involved felt like they were in some parallel universe where this situation should have never occurred. This wasn’t meant to be. But a series of events transpired and suddenly everyone feels like Neo when he wakes up in that oozy-bubble thing with all those tubes connected to him.

The press conference that happened today was the result of a decision that did not happen recently; one that seemingly had no effect on Peyton Manning or the Indianapolis Colts at the time it was made. As Dr. Ian Malcolm once said: “A butterfly can flap its wings in Peking and in Central Park you get rain instead of sunshine.”

In our case, you can associate the following: “Butterfly” = Andrew Luck, “Flap its wings” = Stay in school, “Peking” = Stanford, “Central Park” = Indianapolis, “Rain” = Cutting the greatest player in your franchise’s history without knowing for sure he can’t compete at the same all-world level  to put an entire city on the shoulders of a 22-year old with more pressure on him than maybe any other player in the history of sports, and “Sunshine” = Peyton coming back and playing out his career in white and blue.

The fun part of this game is going back in time, changing one little detail and letting the dominoes fall. We will play this little game and see just where we might be if Andrew Luck decided to take the money and come out of school last year, which for all intents and purposes he was very close to doing.

DOMINO #1: The first thing that changes is that the Carolina Panthers select Andrew Luck with the #1 pick in the draft. No question this would have happened. Luck takes over from day 1 and becomes the face of the Panthers. This is a no-brainer pick at the time, even though the Luck-Newton debate would probably be slightly more competitive than the Luck-RG3 debate. This opens up some very interesting scenarios for Cam Newton, especially with the knowledge we have now of how good he would have been.

DOMINO #2: So where does Newton end up? You have Denver at #2, Buffalo at #3, Cincinnati at #4, San Francisco at #7, Tennessee at #8, Jacksonville at #10, and Minnesota at #12. All of these would be appropriate locations for the Heisman trophy winner. Tennessee, Jacksonville, and Minnesota all used those picks to take a QB and Cincinnati used their high 2nd rounder on one.  Newton wouldn’t last past Cincinnati at #4 in this scenario, so for any of these other teams to grab him, they would have to trade up. Considering all these teams need a QB, and one of them could have fallen in love with Newton, this is a perfectly plausible scenario.

Let’s analyze the sexiest question. Could Denver have passed up Newton at #2? Knowing what we know now, you would have to say absolutely not. But at the time, it would have been an all-time difficult decision. Let’s look at it from the perspective of John Elway’s love life: Elway at the time was married to Kyle Orton – she cooks, she’s faithful, she’s someone you can have kids with, but not exactly the nicest to look at. Sort of a very unexceptional arranged marriage. Elway isn’t exactly excited about his current significant other. One night Elway gets a call from his buddy Josh who has been dating this hot young blonde. After Josh, probably too young to be dating and slightly irresponsible, blacked out from too much tequila, Elway was stuck taking home Josh’s date. Orton hasn’t exactly been appreciating Elway, so he decides to bed the young blonde even though he knows she doesn’t really have it all upstairs. The next morning he wakes up next to Tim Tebow and immediately regrets the decision. She looks great naked but he already knows she’s not long-term material. (There is way too much innuendo to even begin to get into with Tebow here, so we will just move on).

In our new Luck-comes-out-early situation, Elway now gets a third option: He can get away from the awkward one-night stand and divorce his mediocre wife and take a chance with a 21-year-old who just won Miss Universe. You aren’t sure what you are getting long-term, but it could solve all your problems. Does winning Miss Universe translate domestically, or will you be stuck with years of high-maintenance and adultery and end up losing half of everything you have?

A difficult decision indeed. I say Denver may field some trade offers a la the Rams this year, but let’s say the power of Tebow prevails once again. The Broncos pass on Newton and take Von Miller, which still gives them a franchise-calber defender and changes their path very little. This also (if this is even possible) intensifies the scrutiny Tebow is under, knowing the team passed up on Cam Newton because of him. This can only yield more entertainment and might finally kill Skip Bayless as he tries to find some way to defend this decision when Cam Newton is single-handedly saving the Buffalo Bills…which means…

DOMINO #3: With the 3rd overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select Cameron Newton, Quarterback from Auburn University. Ryan Fitzpatrick becomes the lame-duck starter, mails it in for 4 weeks until the Bills get fed up and put in Newton. Newton performs as he did this year, but because he misses 3 games, he loses Rookie of the Year to Andrew Luck.  The Bills then don’t give that premature ejaculation of a contract to Fitzpatrick and the franchise is set up with an attack of Newton-Jackson-Spiller-Stevie Johnson for the next five years. I’ll pause here and give all the Bills fans a second to punch the nearest wall.

DOMINO #4: Ryan Fitzpatrick gets cut at the end of the season and ends up as your opening day starter for the 2012 Washington Redskins. With Fitzpatrick on the market, and the Redskins falling short of getting a QB anywhere else, this is almost a certainty to happen. Fitz goes 5-2, becomes the toast of DC, and Dan Snyder gives the bearded one The Premature Ejaculation Deal. Fitz  then goes in the tank, throws 10 picks in the next 3 games and get benched for The Sex Cannon, who the team resigned as a backup before the season. After Sexy Rexy does his thing for a few weeks, he is benched for rookie Brock Osweiler, who the Skins drafts way too high in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft, and the Redskin Quarterback Clusterfuck continues for another year. This is my favorite domino because it means the Redskins have another year where they somehow cease to make any progress whatsoever.

DOMINO #5, 6 and 7: The Bengals still take AJ Green and the Cardinals follow suit with Peterson. For funzies, I think the Browns stand pat knowing Marcell Dareus has fallen to them at 6 with the Bills taking Newton instead. Knowing what we know now, Aldon Smith is the pick here, but back then Dareus was higher. The Browns selected DT Phil Taylor and DE Jabaal Sheard with their next two picks, so clearly that’s the position they were looking at. They tell Atlanta no thanks on the trade (even though it was a good one for them – and still would be here) and they snag Dareus.

DOMINO #8: The Niners now have an interesting choice to make with Julio Jones on the board. Jones or Aldon Smith? Looking at it from our perspective, it’s a tough choice. Both performed excellently as rookies – Smith probably outshining his expectations more than Jones, but both can be argued were equally effective. The Niners desperately needed another weapon on the outside in the playoffs, and Jones could have put them over the top…ever-changing NFL history by beating the Giants, Eli not getting his 2nd ring, and perhaps Tom Brady and Bill Belichick becoming one of the greatest dynasties in NFL history. Or it could be argued that without Aldon Smith, that defense isn’t as effective and nothing changes. I’ll leave this answer up to you.

DOMINO #9: For the sake of not over-speculating the draft, we will stop there. On to the season, where the Colts will still be awful as Peyton misses every game. However, Jim Caldwell and Bill Polian keep their jobs, and the Colts go into the 2012 off-season with a re-grouping mentality and the #1 overall pick. They never even consider cutting Peyton. It may not even be mentioned as a possibility. Because of the success of Newton and Luck last year, RG3 becomes the coveted prize and the Colts are in a fantastic position of being able to hold out for the highest bidder. But trust me, they DO NOT do this for Robert Griffin III.

DOMINO #10: The Colts hear lots of offers, but end up swapping their #1 overall to Cleveland for Cleveland’s 1st (#4) and 2nd (#36) round pick plus their #1 in 2013. The Colts get 3 of the first 36 picks plus a potential top-10 #1 next year. They take Trent Richardson at #4, giving them an immediate impact runner who can carry the team post-Peyton. They then get Coby Fleener, Andrew Luck’s favorite target at Stanford with the 33rd pick to give Peyton another red-zone target and a successor to Dallas Clark. They snag a offensive lineman at #36, and continue to add pieces with the #1 pick in the final 4 rounds. They re-sign Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, and Robert Mathis in the offseason, hopefully add some depth in the secondary, and come into the year with a healthy Manning/Richardson/Wayne/Garcon/Collie/Clark/Fleener offense with Mathis and Freeney still anchoring an improving defense. If you are a Colts fan, is that better than a Luck/Addai/Maybe Garcon/Definitely not Wayne/Clark offense with Robert Mathis almost for sure leaving as well with a new coach and a new GM? Um chyeah. Not even close.

This gives you another definite run at the Super Bowl with a wide-open AFC South that was unexpectedly weak last year. With Matt Schaub’s health uncertainty and Mario Williams leaving for greener pastures (and by greener pastures I literally mean fields upon fields of money), all the Colts would have to do is win 10 games with a last place schedule and Manning/Richardson/Garcon/Collie/Clark/Fleener/Mathis/Freeney and they win that division. Plus they get a Jake Locker-led Titans team and Blaine Gabbert aka Mark Sanchez Lite and the Jags two times. I like those chances.

Ipso facto, if Andrew Luck comes out last year, we get to avoid this awkward press conference the Colts had today. Luck is the new face of the Carolina Panthers, Cam Newton gives the fans of Buffalo a lot to be excited for, the Browns mortgage their future for RG3, and Peyton gets the band back together, adds Trent Richardson and some pieces and takes another run at the Super Bowl all while Ryan Fitzpatrick watches as a much, much poorer man (and a Redskin backup to boot). Quite a different picture than we have now, wouldn’t you say?

Speaking of Harvard, if this goes down, none of this Jeremy Lin stuff would have happened. Even the slightest ripple in the space-time continuum would alter the series of events that let everything fall into place for Lin. So the New York Knicks can thank Andrew Luck for staying in school. And so can whatever team ends up with Peyton Manning.

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Aaron Rodgers, the Indianapolis Colts, and The Gyllenhaal Switch

I’ve been taking a stand for a few years now that angers people:  “Batman Begins” is better than “The Dark Knight.” Sorry I’m not sorry. I would watch “Batman Begins” before “The Dark Knight” ten times over. There are two words that bring me to this shocking conclusion and two words only: Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Her selection in “The Dark Knight” to play Rachel Dawes, the love interest of Bruce Wayne/Batman, is very much like the iceberg that sunk the Titanic. No one saw it coming and it’s not a whole lot to look at on the surface.  Every time she is on the screen it angers me to the point where I cannot enjoy the movie. Even when she isn’t in the scene…in the back of my mind I know she is lurking somewhere and  shall be on screen wasting my time and Batman’s time once again.

I have nothing against Maggie Gyllenhaal personally. She seems like a very nice woman and I’m sure that she is. It’s not even really that I can’t buy into the “hey-audience-pretend-not-to-notice” actress swap they pulled because Tom Cruise told Katie Holmes she had to worship an alien race that came out of a volcano instead of filming the second Batman movie (I wish I was making that up).

This is not an adequate replacement.

It is just preposterous to me to believe that Bruce Wayne would go to such lengths to save Maggie Gyllenhaal. I watch the movie waiting and hoping for Christian Bale to turn to the camera and say “Eff this. I’m not wasting any more precious time saving this 7.  There are much more important things going on here.”

You tell me which is more believable: A mastermind criminal nicknamed “The Joker” places a bomb on two ferrys – one transporting criminals and one normal citizens – and gives them each the ability to detonate the opposing ferry’s bomb while he watches from an abandoned skyscraper OR Maggie Gyllenhaal playing an attractive and compelling love interest.

For me, if Katie Holmes is in “The Dark Knight,” I’m 100% on board. Gyllenhaal ruins it for me. Luckily, the movie was good enough and had enough going on despite her that it was still well-received and very successful.

Now if you were to take a movie that was not so good…perhaps a movie that was completely reliant on its attractive female lead – “The Gyllenhaal Switch” as we will call it just won’t fly.

For example…how do these sound?

“Tomb Raider” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal.

“Into the Blue” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal.

“Entrapment” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal.

“Desperado” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal.

“Summer Catch” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal.

“Striptease” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal.

You get my point. If you Gyllenhaal Switch any of these movies they turn into unwatchable turds. What if Aladdin went into the market and saved the poor cloaked girl stealing an apple…and when the hood came off it was not Princess Jasmine…but it was Princess Maggie? Animated Disney movies might have ceased to exist at that exact moment.

Fortunately for us, none of these things happened.

Unfortunately for the 2011 Indianapolis Colts, they were forced to pull off their own Gyllenhaal Switch. (and I’m not saying this because Curtis Painter is about as attractive a woman as Maggie Gullenhaal).

Curtis Painter also the son of Dr. Okun from Independence Day..."peace....nooooo peace"

The Colts had to take their charismatic, compelling, sexy leading actress and replace her with someone who was the 8th hottest chick in “Mona Lisa Smile.”

This has caused the Colts to be 0-12 this year with basically the same supporting cast as 2010.  The Colts were the movie “Tomb Raider” and Peyton Manning was a young, busty Angelina Jolie. Gyllenhaal Switch that shit and you go from a 10-6 playoff team to not winning a single game through twelve weeks.

This made me wonder. If the Colts were “Tomb Raider,” what are the Packers this year? Is Aaron Rodgers as valuable to his team/movie as Manning/Jolie? If you take him away, are the Rodgers-less Packers as bad as the Manning-less Colts?

This is Peyton Manning.

Using some statistical comparisons to Peyton Manning and the 2010 Colts, we can try to get that answer.

There are 3 ways to compare the situations. The first is comparing Peyton Manning’s 2010 season with Aaron Rodgers’ 2011 season (projected out to 16 games):

2011 PACKERS: RODGERS (Projected)

2010 COLTS: Manning (16 games)

Record

16-0

10-6

Yards

5,125

4,700

TDs

49

33

INTs

7

17

Comp. %

70.6 %

66.3 %

NFL Rank

3rd

1st

Sacks

39

16

QB RTG

125.3

91.9

PPG

35.0

27.2

TOP

31:37

29:55

Rodgers statistically is better across the board. More yards, TDs, Comp %, and QB rating while having less INTs and no losses (so far).  From an individual standpoint, Aaron Rodgers in 2011 is much better than Peyton Manning was in 2010. The statistical difference (especially TD-INT ratio) alone could be worth an extra 4-6 wins depending on how the Packers finish the season their last 6 games.

If you go to the next level metric-wise, you can compare the two quarterbacks with some stats help from Football Outsiders.  Using their QB metrics (DYAR, DVOA, and EYards – All explained here, we can get a better idea of just how valuable each QB is to his respective team.

2011 PACKERS: RODGERS (Proj: 16 games)

2010 COLTS: Manning (16 games)

DYAR

1,720

1,679

DVOA

55.0 %

25.0 %

Eyards

4,432

6,032

The two are almost exactly the same when it comes to DYAR – which compares each player’s production versus what the average quarterback would produce in the same situations in relation to total yardage. In DVOA  – which measures the value of each player on each play over what the average replacement would be – the advantage goes significantly to Rodgers; he is that much more valuable than whoever his replacement would be on each play. The final stat, EYards – “Effective Yards,” which measures how effective a player is beyond just the sheer numbers (and based on usage) – goes to Manning. Looking at the 3 next-level stats, Rodgers is worth more every play while Manning is worth more because of the volume of how much he was used…so their respective values to their teams somewhat evens out.

A good comparison here is Brookyln Decker in the movie “Just Go With It” against Jolie in “Tomb Raider.” When she is on screen, Decker’s performance in “Just Go With It” is off-the-charts. Scene-for-scene, it’s arguably some of the best stuff we’ve seen in cinema in quite some time. Jolie on the other hand is the entire movie in “Tomb Raider.” It’s 100 minutes of Jolie being consistently hot. Her usage rate is nuts.

Rodgers is much like Decker. You would probably give Decker – a blonde Victoria’s Secret model crossed with a Hooters waitress – the slight edge over Jolie – brunette, extremely attractive, and almost equally as endowed, but with a few extra years and the burden of being somewhat of a legitimate actress.

Looks just like Aaron Rodgers to me.

So statistically, both QBs are about as valuable to their team; just in different ways. You may even give Rodgers the edge.  Now we have to look at some other factors, though – the supporting casts.

The 2010 Colts and the 2011 Packers were both lacking high-producing backfields and both had similar weapons as far as receivers and tight ends go (very good – with Manning dealing with some WR injuries throughout the year). From an offensive line standpoint, the 2010 Colts gave up only 16 sacks – which was 29th among quarterbacks – while Peyton was 1st in pass attempts – an incredible job by the line.  While some of this can be attributed to Manning, Aaron Rodgers in 2011 is on pace to be sacked 39 times. So offensively, both teams are very similar – with the Colts having better protection.

On the other side of the ball, both team’s defenses were not particularly good. Two defensive stats can be used to compare these: the NFL Total Defense Rankings (based on yards per game) and Football Outsider’s Defensive Efficiency Ranking (“Defensive DVOA”):

2010 IND Defensive DVOA = 8.2 % (24th)

–          Total Defense: 341.6 ypg (20th)

2011 GB Defensive DVOA = 12.3 % (26th)

–          Total Defense: 397.8 ypg (31st)

Comparing the two, Indianapolis had the better defense…or to put it more appropriately, Indianapolis’ defense was less awful. Green Bay’s 2011 defense is among the very worst in the league.  While they do have quite a few take-aways and have had some opportunistic plays, from an overall standpoint they have been one of the worst in the league.

Finally. with the hypothesis – the Packers losing Aaron Rodgers – you have to take into account whoever the replacement would be. As an example, here is how the Colts’ Gyllenhaal switch fared this year:

2010 COLTS: Manning

(16 games)

2011 COLTS: QBs (Proj: 16 games)

Record

10-6

0-16

Yards

4700

3106

TDs

33

13

INTs

17

15

Comp. %

66.3

56.1

NFL Rank

1st

26th

Sacks

16

33

QB RTG

91.9

71.8

PPG

27.2

14.5

TOP

29:55

25:27

The Colts’ QBs have been well below average. It is arguable that you could say Matt Flynn would fare better than the Colts’ group of Gyllenhaals (Collins/Painter/Orlovsky). If you give Flynn the benefit of the doubt and say he would be average, the difference between Rodgers 2011 season and Manning’s 2010 season would most likely be about the same as the difference between Flynn’s potential average season and the Colts’ QBs in 2011. (Note: Flynn looking like Matt Damon does not warrant a comparison in this NFL-to-Hollywood analogy).

With Flynn as the unknown entity in this situation, it is conceivable that as a QB with almost no experience, Flynn could be just as bad as the collective of Colts’ QBs this year – which would make the drop-off in quarterback play for the hypothetical Rodgers-less Packers that much more pronounced.

Considering everything – Green Bay defense, offensive line, and backfield – without Aaron Rodgers this team doesn’t win 6 games. It looks like Manning (10-6 in 2010) is going to be worth about 10 wins if the Colts’ stay on their valiant path to 0 wins. By all statistical indication, Rodgers is worth at least 10+ wins, and if the Packers finish 16-0 with him, they would be at best 6-10 without him. I say closer to 4-12.

So the conclusions we have drawn here are as follows: the 2011 Colts are “Tomb Raider” without Angelina Jolie, Brooklyn Decker in “Just Go With It” may have the highest VORP (VORA?) of any actress in any movie ever, and The Gyllenhaal Switch is the opposite of The Ewing Theory.

Oh yeah…and the 2011 Packers might be as bad as the 2011 Colts without Aaron Rodgers.

*** I’d also like to point out we went 1600+ words without “Tim,” “Tebow,” or “Jesus Christ” being any of them. Your welcome.