Super Bowl XLIV More Valuable: Manning or Brees? From WhatIfSports.com image

More Valuable: Manning or Brees?

The Colts Need Manning, the Saints Need Brees More
By Ryan Fowler, WhatIfSports.com
February 2nd, 2010

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Floyd Mayweather Photo

Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather please hold your places on the back burner.

As two of boxing's elite continue to bicker about ,of all things, blood testing, two heavyweights in another sport are about to toss aside the gloves, measure up, jump out of the ring and in to the circus that is Super Bowl XLIV.

Whatifsports.com already crunched the numbers and released its Super Bowl XLIV Prediction last week:

Super Bowl XLIV
MatchupWin%Avg Score
New Orleans Saints62.227Boxscore
@ Indianapolis Colts37.825Simulate Game

Some experts (Who are these guys/gals? I want names!) claim this Super Bowl will go down as one of the greatest football games of all-time. But the National Football League's attempt to mimic its own version of the '"Thrilla in Manila" still begs the question: who is Ali and who is Frazier?

If you've paid attention to any headlines, listened to any national sports talk show, or caught the late night sportscast, the media is portraying Peyton Manning as the league's top quarterback in recent history (thanks for nothing Tom Brady and your three Super Bowl rings) and definitely the superior quarterback against the Saints.

Leading me to believe Drew Brees and his fans are shaking their heads, saying "Dat can't be true!"
Drew Brees

The triggermen of the Colts and Saints are so closely aligned, the regular season statistics are staggering. Manning finished the season with 4,500 total yards passing compared to 4,388 yards passing for Brees. Drew tossed 34 touchdowns to Manning's 33. Brees completed over 70% of his passes (70.6) with Manning breathing down his neck boasting a 68.8% completion percentage.

The only major gap between the two fell under the quarterback rating where Drew Brees finished the regular season with a rating of 109.6 compared to Manning's 99.9.

What If 101

But what if we took Peyton and Drew out of the equation and based the outcome of the Super Bowl on the shoulders of the Saints' and Colts' supporting cast. Who would win? Using our Dream Teams tool, Whatifsports.com set out to find the answer.

Whatifsports.com benched Brees and Manning and inserted a league average quarterback in their place. The final outcome of the game did not change from our Super Bowl Prediction, but the winning percentage proves the Saints' supporting cast (running backs, receivers, and defense) are stronger than that of the Colts winning at a clip of 58.4%. The average score drops slightly for both teams, but that is to be expected when an average quarterback is tossing the rock around the field.

Team Strength w/ Average QB
MatchupWin%Avg Score
New Orleans Saints58.424
@ Indianapolis Colts41.623

With that information as a baseline, Whatifsports.com wanted to know which quarterback gave their team a better chance to win on Super Sunday. With the previous scenario in mind, we left the Saints with a league average quarterback, but gave Indianapolis Peyton back.

Peyton

To our surprise, Manning only improved the Colts chances of winning by a little over 12% when facing a Saints team with the likes of David Garrard behind center (league average). This goes back to the fact the Saints supporting cast is stronger than the Colts and heck, Peyton couldn't even beat Archie. Peyton does improve the Colts average score by a field goal, but it's not surprising when you factor in Manning's season statistics and, more than likely, the Saints' league average quarterback inability to move the football down the field.


Colts w/ Peyton, Saints w/ Average QB
MatchupWin%Avg Score
New Orleans Saints46.223
@ Indianapolis Colts53.826

Brees

However, when the scenario is reversed, the Saints get Brees back and the Colts are stuck with a Jay Cutler-esque (league average ) quarterback, New Orleans chances of winning improve by nearly 17%.

The Saints average winning margin explodes to 8 points with the addition of Brees and the subtraction of Manning.



Saints w/ Drew, Colts w/ Average QB
MatchupWin%Avg Score
New Orleans Saints75.629
@ Indianapolis Colts24.421

Drew Brees has two pretty big distinctions to hang his hat on recently. He will reign as celebrity monarch, Bacchus, during this year's Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans and now he can rest easy at night knowing he's the Super Bowl's MVQB (More Valuable Quarterback).

And if you think about it, Brees is also about to float like a butterfly and sting the Colts like a bee.

Have Drew Brees as your starting quarterback and Peyton Manning as your back-up in your first season of SimLeague Football.

Ryan Fowler is the Digital Content Manager for Whatifsports.com and can be reached at rfowler@whatifsports.com.

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