The NFL’s current system for rating QB’s is a complex. nonsensical formula that combines a QB’s completion percentage, Yard per Pass Attempt, TD Pass Percentage, and Interception Percentage into a single incomphrensible number.
Wouldn’t it be nice (as the Beach Boys said) if we could assign a point value to each pass thrown by a QB and then evaluate QB’s based on points generated per 100 pass attempts?. Using a technique described in my new book Mathletics, for the NFL 2008 season here are the top 5 QB’s (numbers adjusted based on strength of opponents passing defenses:
- Peyton Manning 37 points.
- Drew Brees 36 points.
- Matt Ryan 34 points
- Phillip Rivers 32 points.
- Kurt Warner 29 points,
Of other interest, Brett Favre only generated 10 points per 100 pass attempts with the Jets in 2008. If the Vikings knew this they might have thought twice about signing him. Thus we see that if Peyton and Brett each threw 500 passes Peyton would generate 135 more points than Brett.
Of course, when we evaluate a QB we are evaluating him based on his set of receivers and offensive line. Properly partitioning the credit for a pass play between a QB, receiver and offensive line is a difficult, if not impossible task. But at least we can evaluate a team’s passing game with a single meaningful and easy to understand metric.
In our next post we will rank the NFL’s top running backs during the 2008 season.