Former National Football League kick returner and current NFL Network “analyst” Bucky Brooks rocked the boat with his latest “is he clutch?” piece. As Brooks philosophically notes in his introduction, “it’s important to study a quarterback’s play in key spots to see if he possesses the mental fortitude to rise to the occasion.”
It doesn’t take long for his list to lose all credibility.
Despite ranking his “10 most clutch quarterbacks in the league entering the 2014 season“, Brooks’ player analyses focus solely on 2013 results. What kind of in-depth study is that? Is two-minute QB Rating in 2013 the end all be all determinant?
Clutch aptitude is a gene developed over time, requiring large sample sizes to make rational assessments. Additionally, “clutch play” can be digested in multiple forms and measured by various statistics; at the end of the day… beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As a result we have a predictably subjective list: Philip Rivers is included, Tony Romo sits at #6, and Eli Manning is nowhere to be found.
When measuring winning attributes, here’s a tip: K-I-S-S (Keep it Simple Stupid). A sabermetrician will seek out any and all statistical evidence to support his cause, but forefront numbers don’t lie. Manning ranks 11th all-time with 25 career fourth quarter comebacks and 13th all-time with 30 career game-winning drives. His Super Bowl victories in 2007 and 2011 check off BOTH boxes. In all, Eli has four playoff comebacks and five postseason GWD’s. Manning’s draft compatriot Philip Rivers has four playoff victories total. Tony Romo has one and zero since 2009.
Tell me more about Tony Romo’s 101.1 QB Rating in the 4th quarter… I’ll sit back and kiss the Manning rings.