In 22 games in which the temperature was 40 degrees or below, Peyton Manning is 10-12. And while a quarterback should never be judged solely by wins and losses, Manning's cold-weather record is an easy target for talking heads not particularly interested in looking deeper.
Nearly two weeks removed from the Broncos blowing a 24-point lead against the Patriots in 22-degree weather, and with temperatures expected to be in the teens this Sunday when Denver hosts Tennessee, the questions regarding Manning persist.
Not helping: The Broncos have lost their last two cold-weather games; in addition to the aforementioned Pats matchup, there's the AFC Divisional loss to the Ravens last January. On Wednesday, Manning was asked if he's less effective once the mercury drops.
"That's not how I feel," he said, via USAToday.com.
We wrote about the Manning cold-weather phenomenon earlier in the week:
Manning's cold-weather numbers are lower across the board than his career totals in Indianapolis and Denver. But there are mitigating factors. Chief among them: The cold-weather games -- and the playoff games, in particular -- are against some of the AFC's best teams; the expectation is that any quarterback wouldn't be nearly as productive.
Of course, the myth grows when you compare Manning to Tom Brady over the course of the season and into the postseason. There is no discernible difference between the quarterbacks from September to December, but once the playoffs roll around ... well, that's where the arrows on the graph diverge.
It's not that Manning is god-awful when the mercury drops, it's that he's something less than what we're accustomed to seeing during the first three-plus months of the season. And when Brady remains just as effective in December and January, it only exacerbates their differences.
Manning remains unconcerned.
"It is what it is," he said. "We practice in it, we played in it a couple weeks ago. We'll handle it just like another team has to."
According to USAToday.com, Manning is still adjusting to lingering nerve damage that affects his ability to grip the football. And that, coupled with the elements, explains why the quarterback has taken to wearing gloves.
"It's part of the adjustment that I've made and tried to adjust and still working through it kind of each time that I wear it," Manning said. "I've experimented with them throughout my career, even when I was in Indy. I never just quite found a pair that I liked, so I finally found a pair that I liked."
Meanwhile, Titans coach Mike Munchak would welcome cold weather this weekend.
“The worse the weather, probably the better for us,” he said, via the Tennessean. “Hopefully it's a big snowstorm and it will give us a great chance to win.”