“Wins after replacement” is a statistic gaining popularity in the
baseball world. It tries to measure a player’s tangible value to a
team by determining how many wins the individual is responsible for,
if they were substituted for the average player.
Personally, I’m curious to know how accurate that statistic is since
there’s no way to prove it. But if there’s anyone in any sport who
deserves a high WAR, it’s Peyton Manning.
Obviously Peyton is good – we all know it. But is he really
responsible for nearly all of the Colts wins when he’s on the field?
Probably not, but he’s worth more wins than Tom Brady, Derek Jeter,
and Wayne Gretzky, adjusted for inflation. Here’s why.
We all know how good of a quarterback Peyton is. Athletically, he’s
very above average, but mentally, he’s known as one of the smartest
players in the game. He’s consistently known to watch more footage
than your average player, he knows defenses, coverages, and seems to
always be three steps ahead of the opposition. His knowledge makes his
team better, and gives them a leader that maybe four other teams have.
The difference is that the Colts have never been able to play defense.
They can play, but it has been their weak point since the Peyton
Manning era. But when Peyton is on the field consistently keeping the
defense on the sideline, it takes much needed pressure off the
defense. When you score points, you can settle in as a defensive unit
and play more cohesive and ultimately better D.
Without an elite quarterback who brings a rare concoction of
athleticism and brains, the Colts have started the 2011 season 0-7.
Now no one can say whether the Colts would be 5-2 or even 4-3 with
Peyton Manning, but they would not be 0-7. Is Peyton Manning
single-handedly responsible for half of the Colts wins in the last 13