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Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 02, 2005

OK, we have an admission to make. We have lives.

That's right. The Cold, Hard Football Facts haven't been updated in a few days because we left the cozy confines of our cardboard box and headed out of state for a few days to drink beer and watch football.

OK, that's not much different than our day job here at Cold, Hard Football Facts.com, but it prevented all our angry trolls from writing and fulminating for a few days. Still, even when drunk, fat, bleary-eyed and sleeping in a strange cardboard box under a bridge in another state, we found time to crush Buddy Thomas of the New Bedford Standard-Times with the steamroller of common sense called the Cold, Hard Football Facts. Thomas, you might remember, was named "Donkey of the Week" last week. He's an early favorite to win "Donkey of the Year" honors in 2005. Here's why.

From: "Cold Hard Football Facts" <kerry@coldhardfootballfacts.com>
To: "Thomas Buddy" <bthomas@s-t.com>
Sent: Tuesday, December 28, 2004 8:29 PM
Subject: Buddy Thomas, Donkey of the Week

Congratulations! You've been named "Donkey of the Week" for the mental pap smear of a column that dribbled out your anus last week. Just a quick question from your friendly Professor of Footballogy, the Cold, Hard Football Facts: Exactly how many Super Bowl MVP trophies does a player have to win before they're no longer overrated? We look forward to your answer.

From: "Thomas Buddy" <bthomas@s-t.com>
To: "Cold Hard Football Facts" <kerry@coldhardfootballfacts.com>
Sent: Wednesday, December 29, 2004 10:08 AM
Subject: Re: Buddy Thomas, Donkey of the Week

I guess I'm wrong because two Super Bowl MVP trophies is one more than Mark Rypien got and we all know how great he was.

From: "Cold Hard Football Facts" <kerry@coldhardfootballfacts.com>
To: "Thomas Buddy" <bthomas@s-t.com>
Sent: Wednesday, December 29, 2004 10:44 AM
Subject: Re: Buddy Thomas, Donkey of the Week

The 91 Redskins were littered with Pro Bowlers that year -- two on the OL, one at receiver, one at running back, and Rypien threw for 292 yards in the Super Bowl. The Bills aided his MVP effort with five turnovers.

Brady was the sole pro-bowl level offensive talent on both (that would be two) of his Super Bowl championship teams. In the first game, he led the only walk-off scoring drive in Super Bowl history (and the first in title-game history since Unitas in '58). In his second, he threw for 354 yards and set a Super Bowl record with 32 completions.

If you still think there's a comparison between Brady and Rypien you're a bigger donkey than we thought. How hard is it to admit that this guy is a very special player? Two-time Super Bowl MVPs: Bradshaw, Starr, Montana, Brady. That's quite an accomplishment.

If clutch performances on the game's biggest stage aren't enough, check out this link and the numbers we posted at the start of the season.

We're going to update them again after Sunday to reflect five-year stats, but we think you'll have a hard time explaining this away. We dare you to try and welcome any explanation you can provide.

From: "Thomas Buddy" <bthomas@s-t.com>
To: "Cold Hard Football Facts" <kerry@coldhardfootballfacts.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 30, 2004 9:52 AM
Subject: Re: Buddy Thomas, Donkey of the Week

The comparison is based on the argument that Patriots fans tend to write off great performances by quarterbacks unless they "can win the big game." If Manning isn't considered the best and most popular quarterback in the game today, how do you explain the record-setting 1million-plus votes he received in the Pro Bowl balloting?

Granted he has some offensive weapons to work with but with a defense weaker than Iraq's Republican Guards, he also goes into every game knowing he has to put a minimum of 24-30 points on the board to win. Brady faces no such pressure thanks to a brilliant defense. While Manning is proficient at getting his team into the end zone, Brady is efficient at getting his team into the red zone often enough where one touchdown and three Vinatieri field goals give the Patriots a good chance to win.

Obviously the vast majority or people appreciate Manning's effort enough to make him the top vote getter in the recent balloting and in the not too distant days ahead he's likely to win his second league MVP award. But, of course, he's not as good as Brady because he hasn't won the big game.

From: "Cold Hard Football Facts" <kerry@coldhardfootballfacts.com>
To: "Thomas Buddy" <bthomas@s-t.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 30, 2004 10:43 AM
Subject: Re: Buddy Thomas, Donkey of the Week

Hey Buddy,

We hate to break it to you, but your leaky water pistol of opinion is outgunned by the M1A1 Abrams tank of truth called the Cold, Hard Football Facts:

In Manning's first playoff game (1999), the Indy D surrendered just 19 points againt Tennessee. Manning choked (19 for 43, 0 TDs, 60.9 rating) and put just 16 points on the board.

In Manning's second playoff game against the Dolphins, (2000), the Indy D surrendered just 23 points. Manning completed 17 of 32 passes for 194 yards and put just 17 points on the board. Believe it or not, it was one of his better postseason performances.

In Manning's third playoff game (2002), he played the single worst game of his career (14 for 31, 137 yards, two INTs, 31.2 rating) and he failed to put a single point on the board in a 41-0 loss. It was the lowest rating of his career. You get a 40 rating if all you do is throw incompletions all day. Again, he choked.

Last year in the AFC title game, the Indy defense surrendered just 24 points and was brilliant in the red zone, forcing NE to kick five field goals. But, facing a good defense for the first time in weeks, Manning again choked, playing the third worst statistical game of his career: 23 for 47, 237 yards, 4 INTs (35.5 passer rating).

That's four playoff losses in which Manning has a combined 54.6 passer rating. That's his fault. Not the defense's fault, which played very well in three of those games.

Yet you think Brady's overrated because he makes a couple bad plays in a regular season game? How, then, do you justify Manning's annual postseason implosion?

Brady won a Super Bowl in 2001 with the 24th rated defense in football (sixth in scoring) and a very mediocre at best running game. Manning's surrounded by Pro Bowlers and has played with at least three hall of famers (Marshall Faulk, Harrison and, quite possibly, James). He still can't get it done. End of story.

Sorry you can't see that. And sorry to report that your outgunned, outwitted and overmatched. Surrender and live to debate another day. Read this story. It might help.

From: "Thomas Buddy" <bthomas@s-t.com>
To: "Cold Hard Football Facts" <kerry@coldhardfootballfacts.com>
Sent: Friday, December 31, 2004 9:40 AM
Subject: Re: Buddy Thomas, Donkey of the Week

And what are "the cold, hard football facts" about what Manning's done thus far? Are his numbers good enough to earn him his second league MVP numbers – something Brady's regular season numbers have never allowed him to win?

From: "Cold, Hard Football Facts" <kerry@coldhardfootballfacts.com>
To: "Thomas Buddy" <bthomas@s-t.com>
Sent: Monday, January 03, 2005 7:08 AM
Subject: Re: Buddy Thomas, Donkey of the Week

Wow, you really put us in our place there, Buddy. So Manning got a lot of Pro Bowl votes and will win his second regular-season MVP award great. Great. He's a two-time regular season MVP. Whoopee. That and $500 will get him a seat at the Super Bowl.

It seems Manning's whole career is about putting up big numbers in the regular season. If he really cared about winning, he wouldn't be telling Indy management to draft players like Reggie Wayne so he could pad his meaningless regular-season stats against shitty teams like Detroit when, by your admission, what Indy really needs is some help on defense. Manning fans, meanwhile, would put less stock in these meaningless numbers if they could finally bank on something substantial, like a big-time Super Bowl performance.

By the way, let's put your reverence for regular season MVP awards in perspective: Joe Montana, by the admission of many the greatest QB in modern NFL history, played 10 years and won three Super Bowls before winning his first regular-season MVP award in his 11th season. But you know what? Nobody remembers that he played all those years without winning a regular season MVP award. In fact, they don't even know who did win those awards. But they do remember all of Montana's Super Bowls.

Do you know who did win regular-season MVP awards during those years in which Montana was winning Super Bowls? Here are some of them: Brian Sipe, Ken Anderson, Dan Fouts, Mark Moseley (yes, a kicker), Boomer Esiason and Randall Cunningham. Who would you rather have? Oh yeah, that's right, you'd rather have Sipe because he put up great regular season numbers.

In any case, just to summarize our little lesson and give you some notes to walk away with, here's what you should remember about our little "debate."

• Regular season stats look nice, but they don't mean a whole lot at the end of the day.

• If regular season stats are what you're all about, Brady actually has better stats after five years in the league than did Manning, who's blossomed in the last two regular seasons.

• You can't blame Indy's defense for Manning's failure to win in the playoffs. In fact, the Indy D has performed much better in the playoffs than Manning, who's coughed up a hairball every year he's been in the playoffs.

• Two Super Bowl MVP awards trumps two regular-season MVP awards.

• Finally, you can't claim that Brady's "overrated" because of a bad regular-season performance and then give the Willy Wonka of Chokeolate Peyton Manning a free pass for bad playoff performances.

In any case, we win. Wow, this game is easy. Shoot back when you have a few Cold, Hard Football Facts in your arsenal.

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