Romo or Manning: Which one is the Best Overachiever According to the Wisest & Sharpest Football Minds on the Planet?

This league is a quarterback driven league.  How many times have you heard that saying?  What does it mean?  Well, from everything to on the field, to marketing, to endorsements, to popularity, the quarterback is center stage.  When you think Patriots, you think Tom Brady.  Eagles? Mike Vick.  Packers?  Aaron Rodgers.  Panthers?  Cam Newton.  Soon, it will be: Colts?  Andrew Luck.  Redskins?  RGIII.  And of course, Cowboys: Romo & Giants: Eli Manning.

And since there’s nothing more public-opinion-driven than sports betting, what better place to turn when you want to compare two quarterbacks.  Because teams ARE their quarterbacks.  Ask oddsmakers what happened to Broncos lines and futures when Peyton Manning went to Denver.  Or rewind 1 season, and ask oddsmakers what happened to Colts lines and futures when Peyton Manning missed 1 season in Indianapolis.

So Amani Toomer wants more press for himself, and states that “Romo is better than Manning”.  And statisticians and talking heads have had almost 24 hrs to go back and forth on the pure stats and argue for one or the other.  But the best way to squash the argument altogether is to simply see which one has done the best against the betting line.

Because since NFL teams ARE their quarterbacks when it comes to sports betting, it’s simple to see which quarterbacks have been overrated by the general public and which quarterbacks truly are underrated.

And I’ll take the opinion of a Vegas bookmaker, who lives and dies with every poorly or well set line, and who makes their living off of turning their opinion into a line which is bet on by thousands, over the opinion of some idiot talking head on the TV or radio, who sits in a nice cushy studio on an annual salary and gets rewarded for creating controversy.  And its not as if the bookmaker acts alone.  He only sets the line.  The sharpest and largest money bet by the biggest sports betting syndicates move the number to where it closes.  And the below analysis is based on the closing number, thus, it has opinion weighed in from both the bookmakers and sports bettors.

With that backdrop, onto the analysis:

Romo or Manning:  Which one is the Best Overachiever According to the Wisest & Sharpest Football Minds on the Planet?

First, I ignored their first partial season, where both rode the pine for a few games before getting the reins.  And started the tally from their first full season entrenched as the starter.  Getting starter’s reps in training camp and being labeled “the man” in their respective cities.

  • Romo has started 70 games, and is 42-28 SU and 31-38-1 ATS (44%).
  • Manning has started 123 games, and is 76-47 SU and 71-52 ATS (58%).
  • Romo is 23-13 SU and 16-20 ATS (44%) at home, but 19-15 SU and 15-18-1 ATS (42%) on the road.
  • Manning is 35-25 SU and 29-31 ATS (48%) at home, but 41-22 SU and 42-21 ATS (67%) on the road.
  • Romo is 4-10 SU and 6-8 ATS (43%) as an underdog.
  • Manning is 23-23 SU and 30-16 ATS (65%) as an underdog.
  • Romo faced 19 teams who had 75% or better records.  He went 10-9 SU and 8-10-1 ATS.
  • Manning faced 28 teams who had 75% or better records.  He went 17-9 SU and 18-8 ATS.  Note that he won 61% of games SU DESPITE being made an avg dog of +4 ppg!
  • Romo has been losing at the half in 30 of his 70 starts, and he led his team to a record of 11-19 SU and 4-25-1 ATS (13%) when down at halftime, leading his team to score 11.5 second half points on avg.
  • Manning was losing at the half in 52 of his 123 starts, and he led his team to a record of 17-35 SU and 18-34 ATS (35%) when down at halftime, leading his team to score 12.4 second half points on avg.
  • Romo has played 40 of 70 opponents who turned the ball over just 1 or fewer times.  In those games, Romo went 19-21 SU and 11-28-1 ATS (28%).
  • Manning has played 60 of 123 opponents who turned the ball over just 1 or fewer times.  In those games, Manning went 30-30 SU and 28-32 ATS (47%).
  • Romo has played 31 of 70 opponents who scored 21+ points.  In those games, Romo went 12-19 SU and 6-24-1 ATS (19%).
  • Manning has played 62 of 123 opponents who scored 21+ points.  In those games, Manning went 20-42 SU and 20-42 ATS (32%).
  • Romo has played 21 games from week 13 onwards (non-Thanksgiving) and in those games, Romo went 8-13 SU and 6-15 ATS (29%).
  • Manning has played 46 games from week 13 onwards (non-Thanksgiving) and in those games, Manning went 27-19 SU and 30-16 ATS (65%).
  • Romo is 14-13 SU and 9-18 ATS (33%) in NFC East games.
  • Manning is 26-19 SU and 26-19 ATS (58%) in NFC East games.
  • Romo has led the Cowboys to convert 40% or more 3rd downs in 38 of his 70 starts (54%) and is 28-10 SU and 18-19-1 ATS (47%) if converting 40%+.
  • Manning has led the Giants to convert 40% or more 3rd downs in 69 of his 123 starts (56%) and is 47-22 SU and 44-25 ATS (64%) if converting 40%+.

So the question is, how does this play out in terms of discussing which player is better?

When you are looking for a quarterback, statistics are nice, wins are better.  Sure, it’s a team game, but there is no person more integral to the team than the quarterback.

And if you look at spots where you need wins, whether its:

  • On the road
  • In the division
  • When you’re being counted out (and made an underdog)
  • In crunch time, at the end of the season
  • When you play a great team who has won 75% of their games
  • When you’re trailing at the half
  • When your opponent takes care of the ball and does not beat themselves

In all of these cases, Manning’s results are vastly superior to Romo’s results.  Manning exceeds expectations in all above situations, whereas Romo underachieves.

It’s not the final nail in the coffin.  But we’re not here to debate which player throws a better deep ball and which player is the best improviser.  We’re here to look at which one, according to the most influential football minds on the planet (bookmakers and large sports betting syndicates), is better than advertised and which one fails to meet expectations.