Completion percentage, passing yards, touchdowns. These are all stats that are very familiar to any football fan. Even the complicated quarterback rating is fairly well understood by the masses. A group of people huddled at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, CT felt it wasn’t enough so they declared 2011 the year of the quarterback and devised a new metric for rating quarterbacks.
Matthew Stafford comes out looking good in the numbers we’re most familiar with but is that the case with ESPN’s new and improved (maybe) total quarterback rating? It is a topic Detroit Jock City tackled in a piece today. Read on for a preview.
After two weeks of play, the top five quarterbacks in the NFL’s traditional quarterback rating system are Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, and Kevin Kolb. The quarterback rating metric is a decent one — I think there’s a strong level of consensus that the above quarterbacks are all pretty good (especially the top three) — but it’s far from perfect. It uses a limited number of inputs (completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdowns per attempt, and interceptions per attempt), and it doesn’t necessarily adjust them in the optimal fashion.
This offseason, ESPN’s Stats and Information group (lead by advanced statistical guru Dean Oliver) rolled out a new quarterback metric dubbed “Total Quarterback Rating“, or QBR for short. QBR attempts to go deeper than pure numbers. Is the quarterback putting up his numbers when the game is on the line, or is he mostly shredding prevent defenses in a desperate effort to mount a comeback?