Supporting Casts Through the Years: Peyton and Tom's Pro Bowl Teammates

There have been plenty of statistical comparisons between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning over the years, which is to be expected as two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.

We also hear a lot about Brady's supporting cast and that he's had to do more with less. So we finally decided to try and put that argument to rest by collecting Pro Bowl data from Pro Football Reference and visualizing it accordingly. We looked at Brady's seasons with the Patriots from 2001 - 2015 (minus 2008 when he was injured) and Manning's seasons with the Colts from 1998 - 2010 (not 2011 when he didn't play) and 2012 - 2015 with Denver.

Here are some of the major takeaways:

  • Looking at the first Story tab of the Tableau visualization, we can see that Peyton has played in more games with Offensive Skill position (RB, WR, TE) Pro Bowlers than Tom Brady. Granted, Peyton has been in the league longer than Brady so let's look at the 2nd tab, which breaks it down by season.
  • We can see early on in Brady's career he had 2 seasons with a Pro Bowl offensive skill position and that was Troy Brown (WR) in 2001 and Corey Dillon (RB) in 2004. Peyton had Marshall Faulk (RB) in his first season and then a long stretch of multiple Pro Bowler teammates including Marvin Harrison from 1999 - 2006.

We're only focusing on WR, TE, and RB for this analysis so what other conclusions can you come up with by slicing the data in different ways (grouping OL positions, Defensive, etc.)?

The debates about who is the GOAT quarterback will probably never be fully settled as fans will always have their biases and loyalty, but what sort of statistical analysis can you do with the Stattleship API in order to try and put the Brady vs. Manning rivalry to rest?