Manziel’s stats vs Winston’s, adjusted for playing time

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By Matt Knipe

Most of my family grew up in Florida and are huge Florida State fans (despite only my dad attending the university). I grew up loving Florida State before becoming an Aggie. I’ve been rooting for the Noles this year, but I believe that hands down Johnny deserves the Heisman again.

Any time I get into that argument with family and friends, who are FSU fans, they say that Manziel’s stats only appear to be better because he’s had so much more playing time. I know FSU has dominated the majority of their opponents and Winston has sat out his fair share of quarters, but I thought their amount of playing time was closer than they thought. Nonetheless, this was an interesting point and I decided it was worth looking into.

There are many ways to look at this. You could compare the overall stats by each quarterback to time of possession, number of drives, number of quarters played, etc. But due to the diferring styles of offenses, I figured the best approach would be to go by number of quarters played. So I dove into the play-by-plays for each game to determine exactly when each quarterback left the game and turned the ball over to their respective backup. I rounded each quarter to the nearest tenth and here are the results:

Quarters Played by Johnny “Football” Manziel:

·  Rice – 2

·  Sam Houston – 2.6

·  Alabama – 4

·  SMU – 2.2

·  Arkansas – 4

·  Ole Miss – 4

·  Auburn – 4

·  Vanderbilt – 2.6

·  UTEP – 2.5

·  Mississippi State – 4

           Total – 31.9

Quarters Played by “Famous” Jameis Winston:

·  Pittsburgh – 3.4

·  Nevada – 2.7

·  Bethune-Cookman – 2.1

·  Boston College – 4

·  Maryland – 3

·  Clemson – 4

·  NC State – 2.1

·  Miami – 4

·  Wake Forest – 2.2

·  Syracuse – 2

           Total – 29.5

Now I wanted to attempt to “normalize” the overall stats for each Heisman contender with this information. Below are the actual overall stats:

Johnny Manziel

·  Total yards – 3924

·  Passing yards – 3313

·  Rushing yards – 611

·  Total touchdowns – 39

·  Passing touchdowns – 31

·  Rushing touchdowns – 8

Jameis Winston

·  Total yards – 3083

·  Passing yards – 2938

·  Rushing yards – 145

·  Total touchdowns – 31

·  Passing touchdowns – 28

·  Rushing touchdowns – 3

In an attempt to make these stats more fair and less inflated in favor of the player with more playing time, I took the following approach:

·  Divide each category by the number of total quarters to get an average per quarter. For instance, divide total yards by Johnny (3924) by the number of total quarters played (31.9) to get the average total yards per quarter (123).

·  Multiply that average by 40. 40 quarters is the number of quarters that would have been played by each quarterback had they stayed in the entire game for all 10 of their games.

Below are the “normalized” overall stats for each player with this approach:

Johnny Manziel

·  Total yards – 4920

·  Passing yards – 4154

·  Rushing yards – 766

·  Total touchdowns – 49

·  Passing touchdowns – 39

·  Rushing touchdowns – 10

Jameis Winston

·  Total yards – 4180

·  Passing yards – 3984

·  Rushing yards – 197

·  Total touchdowns – 42

·  Passing touchdowns – 38

·  Rushing touchdowns – 4

Although the difference between these numbers isn’t quite as drastic as the actual stats, there is still a significant difference in how much better Johnny’s stats are than Winston’s. This should help put the argument to rest that Johnny’s stats only appear to be better due to more playing time. Unfortunately, if any of your annoying Baylor friends try to make this argument, you’ll just have to point out they still play in the Big 12.

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.