Kyle Rodriguez continues to evaluate the so-called "clutch" performances of Tom Brady in a series of studies on clutch quarterbacks in the NFL.
Due to popular demand in feedback to this article, I've compiled the situational statistics for Tom Brady, and will continue to do so for the other quarterbacks to be analyzed.
Here are Brady's career Situational Stats, in the categories I've deemed most applicable to "clutch" (and for the data available). The numbers listed are the quarterback ratings in certain situations, as you can imagine that including more would be a very large table. The quarterback rating, while not perfect, provides a decent representation of the quarterback's play as a whole.
|Tom Brady||1st Half||2nd Half||Last 2 Mins.||Ahead||Behind||
Behind 1 Posession
|Tied||4th quarter||Fourth Quarter W/in 7||Margin of victory- 1 pos.||Total for season|
First, it should be clear that the situational stats are fairly erratic, although some general trends can be found. It is not uncommon, however, for whole seasons to buck those said trends.
Second, let's clarify which of the above categories are most important. In terms of clutch play, the "Last 2 Minutes," "Behind 1 Possession," and "4th Quarter w/in 7" are going to be the most important, with "2nd half," "Behind," "Tied," "4th Quarter," and "Margin" being in the second tier. (Please ask in the comments if there are any questions regarding the categories, I know that could be confusing).
So, with that in mind, let us begin.
I think it's pretty clear now, especially combined with the playoff statistics explored earlier this week, that Brady has not lost any of his "clutch" play over the years. His play in each of the clutch categories has gotten better in time, not worse. Just because it hasn't tranlated into wins doesn't mean that Brady's "clutchness" has disappeared, but it does point towards the fallacy of assuming that clutchness even exists.
Brady has been known his whole life as the "clutch" quarterback, the one who excels under pressure. Nevertheless, the two lowest categories throughout his career have been "Behind by One Possession," and "4th Quarter W/in 7" (which would be ahead or behind), the two categories in which it is most critical for a quarterback to get a score.
Now, I'm not saying that this is a knock on Brady, on the contrary in fact. Brady is a great quarterback, one of the best in the NFL's history. But, he's never been particularly good in "clutch" situations. He's had some great moments, especially early in his career, but he's also had some failures.
His "clutch" performances shouldn't be attributed to a magical "clutch" factor, but rather to him just being a really good quarterback. On the flip side, his playoff losses over the last few years shouldn't be applied as him choking, as it's clear that he's been a much better quarterback in recent years than he was in his Super Bowl winning years.
Two more interesting playoff related QB articles are the following I've read on the p-f-r blog:
The Rivers Index: Calculates a QBs expected win percentage in the playoffs based solely on how he performs using AY/A
A ranking of how many games a QB should have won given the support he received from the running game and defense (basically, the rest of the pie from the first article which featured only the passing game). This just looks at the support a QB received and saw how much he was able to win given the circumstances.
In tandem, they are really interesting.
I just wanted to provide these two articles as a useful tool for evaluating QBs (one is for comebacks, one is for field position, still could not find one for number of possessions and time of possession):
http://www.footballoutsiders.com/ramblings/2010/guest-column-adjusted-comeback-efficiency (Eli is surprisingly high and Brady is surprisingly lower than expected in comeback rankings, check it out)
Here is another one on field position, as you can see, Peyton had 7.5% drives in playoffs start in opponent territory while Brady had 14.5% and 38.5% of the time, Manning started inside the 20 while it was 27.5% for Big Ben and 29% for Tom Brady.
@chad72 I hadn't ever seen that FO one. Thanks Chad.
@Kyle Rodriguez@chad72 I forgot about that FO one. I remember now thinking how brilliant it was. It was in my pantheon of 'Great Individual pieces of football analysis' with Scott's playoff drive stats article, and Nate's draft study. I'm sure there are some others, but those are just recent ones that come to mind.
I can just tell you based on the eye ball test that Drew Brees' 5-3 record (though no road wins in those 5 wins except the SB where they wore road colors but had home like support) does not do justice to how well Drew Brees has played in the playoffs. He has gone down swinging in both his last 2 losses vs the Seahawks and 49ers, and his one bad loss was at the Bears in the NFCCG. Maybe that is what some fans wanted out of Peyton, go down swinging even if it is a loss. If Peyton tied the SB at 24-24 vs the Saints and Brees' Saints won it on a FG 27-24 (say), I am sure the blame game impact would be minimal for Peyton than a pick six that won it for the Saints 31-17.
But then, no playcaller in this league is more aggressive than Sean Payton. Marty ball and Dungy ball had more failure than success in the postseason for a reason. The playoffs is not about holding back, it is presenting things to other teams that they have not seen, making great adjustments, going for a few risky tweaks (not risky gameplan) and winning 2 out of 3 phases on O, D and ST overall, and a lot of luck too :)
@chad72 He wasn't particularly good in the 2004 game against the Jets, and should never have even thrown that tying touchdown if Eric Barton didn't commit an idiotic personal foul penalty on what would have been a turnover on downs. He also had a really deceptively poor game against the Vikings in the 2009 NFC Title Game. But that said, Brees has had a good run in the playoffs. It willl be interesting to see if he can keep it up.
@dmstorm22 Even in the big loss vs the Bears, I don't think Brees threw a pick. It was just a case of Rex Grossman going bonkers on offense and the Chicago D stifling the Saints.
I laugh when people say the Colts played Grossman for their SB because we crushed the Saints opening day of our 2007 season, a game after winning the SB. We came back from 18 down vs the Pats, beat the #1, #2 and #3 D in the playoffs, with our run O and run D being #1 in the playoffs. No freaking way the Saints would have beat us even if they played us in the 2006 SB. That Saints' D of then was not ready for us, the 2009 version was.
@chad72 He did throw a pick, but it was when the game was already out of hand. The Bears just shut down any semblance of a run and got a lot of pressure on the Saints.
I definitely think we beat hte 2006 Saints in a Super Bowl. I also think that, especially with the rain, the Saints might have been an easier matchup. They barely beat the Jeff Garcia Eagles in the divisional round in the dome.
Not sure if this would be in popular demand or not but I will ask for it anyway :).
Field position generated by turnovers and ST, time of possession and number of possessions - can those 3 be quantified for playoff games in the Manning era and compared to other QBs with a min. of 5 playoff games. I have been wading through Pro Football Reference, advancednflstats etc. but never could find a single article that captured all these 3 things in 1 article. To me, the above 3 do closely reflect the help a QB gets outside his passing game. Hence the request.
Brady and Peyton both have 1 WIN, just 1 WIN when they have had a 4th qtr. deficit of 7 or more in the playoffs. For Brady - it was the 2006 divisional round vs Chargers down 13-21 when he tied it. For Peyton - it was the 2006 AFCCG. Weird as to how it was in the same year.
In the last 3 minutes of a playoff game, outside the tuck rule game, Brady has never had a 4th qtr. comeback even he was just down by 3. He has however come back much earlier in the 4th qtr. while down by 3, just not close to the 2 minute drill. While that statement is true, Brady's 4th qtr. comeback vs the Giants in SB 42 to go up 14-10 when he was down 7-10 was erased by Eli Manning's comeback. Same way with Peyton, down 17-21 in the 4th qtr., we score a TD to go ahead 24-21 in the 2007 Chargers playoff game for the Chargers to come back with Billy Volek and company to go ahead 28-24.
Just goes to show you again, W-L never justifies all the credit or blame that is given to the QB. Neither do situational stats.
I'm confused how Brady can have a 96.06 QBR in the 1st half, a 93.52 in the 2nd half, but somehow have a QBR higher than either (96.09) for his career. How was OT judged? This seems weird, because he probably has similar number of attempts in each half, so I see this as some very interesting flaw in QBR that a QB can have a total rating higher than either of his half ratings.
Anyway, this is great. It really does show how much this Brady myth is just born out of Adam Vinatieri. Brady got the label because of the Tuck Rule game, SB XXXVI and SB XXXVIII. He's never shed it, despite him becoming just a great QB (and not a great "clutch" QB). Personally, I can't think of 5 times Brady has scored a game winning last minute TD when his team needed a TD (down by 4+).
@dmstorm22 There could be several reasons for the anomaly. What most affects it is probably the fact that the total rating on the right is the regular season only totals (that's how most stat sites do them), while the situational stats include the playoffs.
@Kyle Rodriguez Ok. That's probably it. Should have seen that. Thanks for pointing that out, it was bugging me.
For me, 4th qrtr w/in 7 is usually when the most pressure is on QB to perform. I am not the biggest fan of the old QB rating. I prefer ESPN's QBR which is much more detailed and reflective of QB's influence on plays/drives/points/etc. Great data and article. Look forward to seeing Peyton's, and maybe a comparative one with Luck and RG3.
@LiquoredUpIdiotKicker I like QBR as well. It's a little more subjective, but *usually* a little more accurate as well. Unfortunately, the data isn't available for much history as of now.
@LiquoredUpIdiotKicker Take a look at the data for QB rating for 1st half compared to 4Q w/in 7 comparing the two each year...a glaring difference and much better play in the 1st half.
Also look at 1st half vs 2nd half.. there's a difference here too. Peyton can get off to a slow start against tough defenses, taking a quarter or half to figure out what the defense is doing and react then blow them up in the second. Brady is the opposite, opponents tend to figure him out over the course of the game.
QB rating does give an indicator for QB play, doesn't necessarily factor in everything but it does the job for this analysis.
Man, you've put a lot of great work into this.
Just goes to show how tough it is , once the media gives you a label (either rightly or wrongly) to shed it.
I truely am a nerd... I pulled your data in excel and started looking at graphs. It's interesting that his clutchness largely improved over time, and really was a fallacy in the beginning of his career when he "earned" his reputation. Which shouldn't really be a surprise, it takes time to learn an offense, adjust to NFL speed, read defenses, and become an elite QB. However this contradicts the latest media moniker, which is becoming seemingly easy lately.
A couple other notes was the Randy Moss factor in 2007, it must help a clutch QB to have a clutch WR in clutch moments (that was meant to sound douchey). The other is that his ACL injury in 2008 seemed to play a role into 2009, may be the lack of confidence in his knee led to lack of confidence in his play. Good stuff, nice work!
@Kyle Rodriguez Will do... what I didn't look at before was his total season rating relative to the year... very interesting. His first 6 years shows a very steady and predictable increase. There's a dramatic jump in 2007 (Randy Moss and Belichek's team philosophy change), and then things start trending downward. I wonder if we'll see NE drop Welker (in lieu of the TE's for the short game) and instead go after another big play receiver to extend Brady's high level playing later into his career.