For the past several years there has been a quarterback aggregate statistic known as QB Rating. This was considered to be a way to compare overall performance of QBs but in fact it is just a passing statistic. It combines completion percentage with total passing yards, touchdowns and interceptions to produce one number. But is this a realistic computation of of what quarterbacks really do for a team in the NFL?
There probably isn't an ideal aggregate statistic for judging all that a quarterback does for his team but it is pretty evident that QB Rating is not it. So ESPN analysts have developed a new, more comprehensive method to attempt to include more aspects of what a quarterback does. This new statistic is called Total Quarterback Rating or QBR. This aggregate statistic attempts adds situational considerations such as down, 1st down distance, overall field position, and time remaining to further understand why there was an interception, reception or incomplete. It looks at how far a pass traveled in the air and yards-after-catch instead of just yards. The impact of drops, defensed passes, hurries, and other effects upon accuracy that aren't necessarily issues with the quarterback are considered. Quarterbacks are also judged on fumbles, throw-aways, avoiding sacks, and "clutch" performance.
All of this is somehow put together in an arcane brew which spits out a number between 1 and 100 which can then be used to compare quarterback performance as the year goes on and year-to-year. Though the actual numbers based upon last year's inputs have not be published, there has been a general ranking released based upon the QBR.
Ranking at the top are Brady, P. Manning, Ryan, Vick, Rodgers and Brees. No surprises there except maybe Vick. In the well above average category are Freeman, E. Manning and Rivers. Colt McCoy is considered average along with Cassel, Fitzpatrick, Sanchez, Palmer, Orton and Kitna. At the bottom are Derek Anderson, Favre and Clausen. An aggregate statistic like this almost seems redundant and trivial as we don't really need a statistic to tell us that Peyton Manning is good and Derek Anderson is bad. Yet it is useful during a year and in hindsight to know if a quarterback's performance or lack of it was responsible for a teams success or failure. It will be interesting to keep an eye on this quarterback statistic in years to come to see if a high rating translates to overall success.