Because traditional statistics are no longer good enough for the Worldwide Leader, the folks over at ESPN have invented a new quarterback rating system that they will undoubtedly cram down our throats non-stop for the next six months. Get ready for a hearty helping of Total Quarterback Rating (aka QBR). More like OMG SMH, right?
(Sorry, that was just a little acronym humor for the Twitter set. I promise I will never let it happen again.)
Anyway, according to ESPN stathead Peter Keating, we need "another uber-stat" like QBR that looks at everything from completions and interceptions to sacks taken, fumbles, rushing plays and more.
Gotta have it. Can't live without it.
"There are two basic problems with traditional passer ratings: what they measure and what they don't measure," Keating wrote in his QBR primer. "The official formula for passer rating is actually less complicated than its reputation. It takes completions, passing yards, touchdown passes and interceptions, all on a per-attempt basis, compares each to a league-average figure, and mashes them into one number. But passer rating doesn't attempt to weight its categories by their importance to winning football games."
I agree with Keating and the folks over at ESPN that the traditional passer rating we're used to is pretty much worthless. It's a cherry-picked stat often used to make flawed arguments. I know I've done it before.
But I can't say the new rating system -- developed, approved and promoted by ESPN -- is any better. And that's because I don't really understand or care to understand how Total Quarterback Rating works.
Here's what I do know about it: According to QBR, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was the NFL's 12th-most efficient quarterback in 2010. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Michael Vick and Drew Brees were first through sixth, respectively. Ben Roethlisberger was 10th in the rankings.
Flacco was ahead of quarterbacks such as Matt Schaub, Matt Cassel, Carson Palmer and Jay Cutler.
Based on traditional passer rating, Flacco was seventh in 2010, ahead of Manning, Ryan and Brees. But if you actually believed that he was a better quarterback based on that stat alone, I'm not sure what to tell you.
Maybe Total Quarterback Rating is a better rating system. Maybe someday football analysts outside of Bristol, Conn. will reference it like they do today's traditional passer rating. All I know is that I don't need an ESPN-made stat to know that Joe Flacco is better than Ryan Fitzpatrick and Mark Sanchez. The eye test works just fine.