Peyton Manning really struggled in that cold weather on Sunday, didn’t he? 39-59 (a career high in attempts), 397 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT and a 107.8 passer rating. Just an overall tough outing for the old QB…In all seriousness, a lot has been made of Peyton Manning’s supposed struggles in cold weather throughout his career. The Manning defenders will use Sunday’s game as evidence to debunk the Manning-in-the-cold myth. The Manning haters will say it’s just one game. In reality, Manning has played in just 11 games in his career where the temperature at kickoff was 32 degrees or less. That is an extremely small sample size considering he’s played 257 games in his career. However, the questions will persist regardless because this is Peyton Manning. To most in the media, there are no gray areas with him, no matter how irrational. But that won’t stop us here at FootballFilmRoom.com from looking at Peyton’s career in the cold with just a little bit of objective analysis.
First off, we need to consider that Manning played in just 8 “cold-weather” games in 13 seasons with the Colts. He’s already played in 3 in a little under 2 seasons with the Broncos (with more to come). As a Colt, all of those games were on the road. With the Broncos, 2 of those 3 games have been at home. His numbers are below:
It’s tough to draw too many legitimate conclusions from 8 or 3 games. What these stats might suggest is that familiarity is more of the issue. Manning is now a Bronco, practicing and playing in the cold more often than he did when he was in Indianapolis. Not all of his cold-weather games are on the road in hostile environments. As a result, it’s quite possible that Manning’s numbers with the Broncos are a more accurate barometer of what he can do in cold weather.
Again, 11 games is truly a tiny sample size. Manning has had some good games in the cold and some bad games in the cold. I’m not sure how many other conclusions can really be drawn.
Peyton Manning’s performance on Sunday didn’t prove anything because there wasn’t really anything to prove in the first place. Can Manning play in the cold? Yes! Does this mean Manning will trample the competition for the rest of the season in one cold-weather game after another? Of course not! Does cold weather affect the way a quarterback plays and approaches the game? Absolutely! This really shouldn’t be that huge of a revelation.
Ultimately, Denver will win or lose in cold weather, the regular season, and the playoffs based on the performance of Manning, his teammates, as well as the opposing team. The same is true of every other team in the NFL. Sorry if the resolution to all of this is too boring to create great headlines. The truth often is.