Marino Makes a Comeback Without Even Playing

Better late than lying: Dan Marino rewrites a record without trying when a researcher discovers John Elway's numbers are generous

Until now, everyone knew that the NFL Comeback King was Dan Marino's stats rival, Broncos great John Elway -- because that's what a sinister cabal of Denver stats-padders wanted us to believe.

Now, the truth is out, along with refreshed statistical evidence that crowns Marino by two games and eliminates one of the few knocks against him -- whatever shame it is that comes with being second all-time. 

The egregious coverup was discovered when researcher Scott Kacsmar found that the definition of "comeback" varied by franchise. The Dolphins used a very strict rule, and one that more closely aligns with general fan concensus: they only counted games in which the Dolphins trailed going into the fourth quarter, and Marino led a game-winning drive (no interception returns, or field goals to win).

The Broncos PR department, however, included games in which Elway and co. were tied at the 4th.  In once case, they even counted a game that resulted in a tie; the discrepancy went unnoticed because comebacks aren't an official NFL statistic.

So the heroic Kacsmar created a standard definition, rinsed the data, and -- Ta Da! -- found that Marino actually leads Elway, 36-34. 

Even when Kacsmar included end-of-third-quarter ties, Marino still led Elway, 51-49.  No matter how he interpretated the rule, the evidence found that the long-held title belongs to the mulleted Dolphin and not the bucktoothed Bronco.

Rewriting a record without even stepping foot on the field? That's our boy!

Of course, the Comeback King moniker doesn't really mean much in terms of re-thinking either career.  It doesn't even prove anything about resolve or leadership. But it does show that the statistics we use to compare players may not even be accurate, and demands we take a second look if we're going to make arguments based on such "facts." 

So, Mr. Kacsmar --- any chance you can do anything about that Super Bowl business?  


It was worth a try.

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