Manning vs. Brady

Last week in my Operations Management class, we learned several different methods for forecasting. Included were moving averages, exponential smoothing, and linear trend forecasts. After completing the first round of homework problems, students were required to come up with an original application using data they collected themselves or found on the Internet.

Sarah Schuttler (whose father Robert is also a professor at Marian, and perhaps the world’s biggest Indianapolis Colts fan) decided to use a linear trend method to analyze statistics for both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. The intent was to forecast total yardage and touchdown performance and also examine the relationship between yards gained and number of touchdowns thrown as a measure of effectiveness.

As you can see, both quarterbacks have “hall of fame” stats as one would expect. Peyton Manning is clearly the winner in total production through a projected 15 year career (click to enlarge):

However when we turn our attention to the relationship between number of yards and touchdowns per season, Tom Brady is, well… the numbers don’t lie:

I had expected the two quarterbacks to be much closer on this measure with Tom Brady perhaps coming out slightly ahead. But as one can see, Brady appears to be more than twice as effective. We speculated on the reasons for this and decided to leave that discussion for football fans. While I am a diehard Colts fan and would take Manning over anyone as my starting QB, this analysis will definitely give Patriot and Brady fans something to cheer about. I thought this was a great project and I am looking forward to seeing Sarah on ESPN one day as an analyst!


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