Even the least-informed fan tuning in to Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVIII knows this much: Peyton Manning is awesome.
Indeed, that guy from the Papa John’s and Buick commercials is more than just a likable pitchman. Manning was unquestionably the world’s best quarterback in 2013.
And one look at his numbers next to those of Seahawks passer Russell Wilson is all that’s needed in order to know just how much better Manning is than Wilson.
Manning set league records for passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55) during the regular season. He completed 68.3% of his passes and allowed only 10 of those attempts to be picked off.
Wilson’s numbers were good — great for a second-year starter — but not Peytonesque. He threw for 3,357 yards and 26 TDs while throwing just nine interceptions and completing 63.1% of his passes during the regular season.
In this case, the statistics don’t lie. Manning was superior.
But don’t forget this year’s game will be played in the elements. Yesterday’s weather.com projections for game day at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., called for temperatures in the mid-20s and a wintry mix.
That’s not just a concern for fans; Manning ought to be worried too. In games played in temperatures below 40 degrees during the regular season, it’s Wilson who holds the edge in completion percentage (66% to 62.5%), yards per pass attempt (7.6 to 6.2) and passer rating (93.6 to 93.3).
Granted, Manning attempted more than twice the number of passes (136 to 50) than Wilson under those conditions and in one more game (three to two). And even in poor weather conditions, the majority of people would rather have Manning under center than Wilson.
Still, it’s only fair to temper expectations of a touchdown bonanza by Manning.