by Aaron Schatz
Brian S. asks:
What are the chances Drew Brees passes either Tom Brady or Payton Manning (or both) to be considered the best quarterback of this generation? Over the last four years, his numbers stack up against those two pretty impressively, don't they?
Over the last two years, absolutely. Over the last four years, not particularly. Over the whole decade, it isn't close, especially if we compare Brees to Manning. (Brady's reputation was built on "leadership" and "winning" and he didn't have the numbers of a top quarterback until 2004.)
The main advanced stats at Football Outsiders are DVOA (value per play) and DYAR (total value). There isn't space to explain how it all works here, so I'll point people who aren't familiar with our work to this page.
Peyton Manning ranked first in DVOA in 2000 and then every year from 2003 through 2008 except for 2007, when he was second to Brady. Last year he was fifth. In total value, DYAR, he has ranked second for three straight years and ranked first for four straight years before that.
As noted before, Tom Brady's reputation was bigger than his numbers at first, but he has now ranked in the top five in DYAR each year since 2004, except for the year he was injured. In 2007 he had the greatest statistical season of any quarterback in history. Last year, despite the conventional opinion that he wasn't fully recovered from his injury, he still led the league in total value by our calculations, in part because we adjust for schedule. Tom Brady in 2009 played the hardest schedule of opposing pass defenses of any quarterback since at least 1993.