(Ed. note: promoted to the front page on Jan 7th. Nice work nelsona350! - Monty)
Lately, I have noticed an irritating outbreak of [urinating] and moaning over Peyton Manning's "unprecedented" cold streak, which is "clearly" signaling his decline and demise as a viable NFL QB. Being the numerically-inclined sort, I said to myself, "Kyle (that's what I call myself), is this streak really unprecedented?" After a bit of research, I would assert that the answer is no, it is not. If I arbitrarily define the streak as the final seven games of the season (beginning with the Rams game), a cursory examination of game logs on pro-football-reference reveals four similar streaks, none of which portended Manning's retirement. I have tabulated all five streaks, and am including them here for your web surfing pleasure.
2014, Games 10-16
2010, Games 10-16
2009, Games 10-16
2008, Games 1-7
2007, Games 8-14
One interesting observation (if I may digress for a moment) is that four of the five cold streaks took place in the second half of a season, and the one that was not (2008) occurred after Manning underwent offseason knee surgery and missed most of training camp, as well as all four preseason games. He went on to throw 19 TDs against 3 picks from Game 8 forward, and the Colts went 9-0. This leads me to theorize a new spin on Manning's perceived cold weather and playoff struggles. Could it be that Manning-led offenses roar out of the gate because they are more prepared/in-sync than opposing defenses in the early portion of the season? Could they then regress toward the mean as the season progresses and defenses gel? It could simply be confirmation bias, as I was looking specifically for cold streaks, but I do recall the Colts starting fast and slowing down in several different seasons. Like I said, an interesting observation, but a digression.
The data leads me to conclude that this recent cold streak is not unprecedented, and that while defenses (and Father Time) are catching up, they haven't caught Peyton Manning yet!