This morning marks one of the final opportunities we have to look at some more random San Francisco 49ers topics before training camp practice kicks off and we start really zeroing in on the 2015 season. With that in mind, I wanted to take a quick look at some interesting numbers that popped up earlier this week.
One of my favorite parts of the offseason comes during the weeks in July and August when the guys at Football Outsiders dump a lot of the data they've been compiling. The main event, of course, is the DVOA projections and analysis for the coming season featured in the Football Outsiders Almanac. However, they also continue to add DVOA data from past seasons. Currently, that data goes back to 1989 — you know, the year of the final Joe Montana-era Super Bowl victory.
Montana's playoff prowess is well known, but I always enjoy seeing how those numbers stack up against some of the great quarterbacks in recent seasons. As it turns out, it stacks up just as well as you would've thought (at least so far):
Playoff DVOA leaders. Can't wait to add 1986-88 to this soon. Some of Montana's best & worst games. pic.twitter.com/T4hWVGYkPs— Scott Kacsmar (@FO_ScottKacsmar) July 28, 2015
Scott Kacsmar, one of FO's lead writers, tweeted out the above numbers for the passing DVOA leaders in the playoffs since 1989, and Montana has a sizable lead over the competition. Kurt Warner, the No. 2 player on the list, is actually closer to Tom Brady (No. 11) than he is to Montana one spot ahead of him.
While the nine playoff games in Montana's sample here includes games from his time with the Kansas City Chiefs, it's the absurd numbers he posted during the 1989 run to the Super Bowl that provides the large gap he has over his fellow quarterbacks. That postseason, Montana completed 78.3 percent of his passes at a clip of 9.6 yards per attempt, throwing a touchdown once every 7.5 attempts (11 total) without throwing even a single interception. Two of his games came against the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos, teams that happened to have two of the three best pass defenses (by ANY/A) in football that season. It was the greatest postseason by a quarterback in the Super Bowl era.
Football Outsiders will be adding more data (1986-88) from those great 49ers teams in the 1980s here soon, and as Kacsmar points out, it will be interesting to see how those games impact Montana's lead on the rest of the field. San Francisco went one-and-done in both 1986 and 1987, and those games were the two worst postseason performances of Montana's career. Things went a bit better in 1988, as Montana put together a stretch that wasn't far off his historic 1989 run, capping the postseason off with his third Super Bowl ring.
The other name of note on that list for 49ers fans, of course, is Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick comes in a No. 14 on the list, with nearly identical production to that of Russell Wilson, and well ahead of notable names such as Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, and Andrew Luck. Kaepernick has really only had one poor postseason performance, the 2013 NFC Championship game against the Seahawks. For as much criticism as Kaepernick's game has received (in many cases, rightfully so), it's hard to argue with his body of work in the playoffs so far.