Super Bowl Hangover Pt. 3: Eli's Elite Pace

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Feb 13, 2012



By Scott Kacsmar
Cold, Hard Football Facts hangover remedy


To conclude our little Super Bowl Hangover of data, it’s one final look at Eli Manning and his excellent 2011 season. As if there wasn’t enough material for Captain Comeback this week, there are some more milestones to pass on.
 
Thanks to a NFL record-tying 7th fourth quarter comeback and 8th game-winning drive of the season, Eli Manning now sits in good company with the all-time leaders through their first eight seasons in each category:
 
Most 4th Quarter Comeback Wins (First 8 Seasons)
Rk QB Years 4QC
1T Johnny Unitas 1956-63 21
1T Eli Manning 2004-11 21
3T Tom Brady 2000-07 20
3T Ben Roethlisberger 2004-11 20
5 Peyton Manning 1998-05 19
6T John Elway 1983-90 18
6T Jim Kelly 1986-93 18
 

Most Game-Winning Drives (first 8 seasons)
Rk QB Years GWD
1 Tom Brady 2000-07 28
2 Ben Roethlisberger 2004-11 26
3T Johnny Unitas 1956-63 25
3T Dan Marino 1983-90 25
3T Jake Plummer 1997-04 25
3T Peyton Manning 1998-05 25
3T Eli Manning 2004-11 25


Eli is tied with Johnny Unitas for the most comeback wins (21) in a player’s first eight seasons, and tied with four more for third place in game-winning drives.
 
For Eli, any time you can be on a list with the likes of Unitas, Dan Marino, Tom Brady, your brother Peyton Manning, your 2004 draft classmate Ben Roethlisberger, you know you’re in good shape. Yes, even with Jake Plummer. If you followed Plummer’s career, even back to his days at Arizona State, you understand how he gets on here.
 
We mentioned Sunday was the 15th game-winning drive in Super Bowl history. Here is a list of those game-winning drives, and you can see the younger Manning has led two of the longest, latest, and best ones ever.
 
Super Bowl: Game-Winning Drive Stats
Super Bowl Team QB Opponent Score Down Time Start DL QB Stats Time End
V (1970) Baltimore Earl Morrall Dallas FG 0 0:59 3 None accumulated 0:05
X (1975) Pittsburgh Terry Bradshaw Dallas FG 1 11:28 25 1 carry, 8 yards 8:41
XIV (1979) Pittsburgh Terry Bradshaw LA Rams TD 2 12:59 75 1/2 for 73 yards, TD 12:04
XVII (1982) Washington Joe Theismann Miami TD 4 11:43 52 None accumulated 10:01
XXIII (1988) San Francisco Joe Montana Cincinnati TD 3 3:10 92 8/9 for 97 yards, TD 0:34
XXV (1990) NY Giants Jeff Hostetler Buffalo FG 2 14:52 74 4/6 for 50 yards 7:20
XXXII (1997) Denver John Elway Green Bay TD 0 3:27 49 1/1 for 23 yards 1:45
XXXIV (1999) St. Louis Kurt Warner Tennessee TD 0 2:12 73 1/1 for 73 yards, TD 1:54
XXXVI (2001) New England Tom Brady St. Louis FG 0 1:21 53 5/8 for 53 yards 0:00
XXXVIII (2003) New England Tom Brady Carolina FG 0 1:08 37 4/5 for 47 yards 0:04
XXXIX (2004) New England Tom Brady Philadelphia TD 0 18:35 66 4/4 for 37 yards 13:44
XLII (2007) NY Giants Eli Manning New England TD 4 2:39 83 5/9 for 77 yards, TD 0:35
XLIII (2008) Pittsburgh Ben Roethlisberger Arizona TD 3 2:30 78 5/7 for 84 yards, TD 0:35
XLIV (2009) New Orleans Drew Brees Indianapolis TD 1 10:39 59 7/7 for 44 yards, TD 5:42
XLVI (2011) NY Giants Eli Manning New England TD 2 3:46 88 5/6 for 74 yards 0:57
 
Eli’s 77 yards (XLII) and 74 yards (XLVI) passing on the drives only rank behind Joe Montana (97) and Ben Roethlisberger (84) in terms of a quarterback’s passing contribution to the drive. His drives gaining a net 88 and 83 yards make them the second and third longest behind Montana’s 92-yard march against Cincinnati.
 
You can see only twice did a team actually need a touchdown on the game-winning drive. Joe Theismann simply handed off to John Riggins for a huge touchdown on fourth down, while Manning did his part to knock off the undefeated Patriots late in the game.
 
Eli has beaten New England the last three meetings with a long touchdown drive in the final minute. You can say the Manning brothers have a bit of a monopoly on leading long touchdown drives to win games.
 
Here is a list of notable active quarterbacks ranked by how many game-winning touchdown drives of 80+ yards they have led in their careers:
 
80+ Yard Game-Winning TD Drives
Rk QB 80+ YD GW TD's
1 Peyton Manning 12
2 Eli Manning 7
3 Drew Brees 6
4 Ben Roethlisberger 5
4 Jay Cutler 5
6 Matt Ryan 4
7 Matthew Stafford 3
7 Alex Smith 3
7 Philip Rivers 3
7 Tom Brady 3
11 Mark Sanchez 2
11 Matt Schaub 2
11 Tony Romo 2
11 Michael Vick 2
15 Joe Flacco 1
16 Aaron Rodgers 0
 
With Peyton’s future up in the air, it’s hard to believe it might be Eli Manning (31 years old) that one day breaks Dan Marino’s records for fourth quarter comeback wins (36) and game-winning drives (51).
 
As Captain Comeback takes a much-needed break, he’ll soon be back with more football facts colder than this impostor posing as winter, and harder than Jimmy Johnson after an Extenze commercial.
 
Scott Kacsmar is a football researcher/writer who has contributed large quantities of data to Pro-Football-Reference.com, including the only standardized database of fourth quarter comebacks and game-winning drives. He plans to fill the new-football-less void with Skyrim for the time being. You can send any questions or comments to Scott at smk_42@yahoo.com and you can follow him on Twitter at @CaptainComeback.

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