Last week the NFL ended the lockout by signing a new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) with the NFLPA. This week ESPN will introduce their new "Total Quarterback Rating" to the NFL world. CAUTION: This is a Public Service Announcement - If you are a ESPN follower be prepared to hear about this new stat ad nauseum. Over the next couple months we will be assaulted with Sports Center interviews, OTL stories, and countless comments from people like resident attention monger Skip Bayless. All PSA's aside, ESPN will debut their new stat with an hour long special on Friday, August 5 at 8 ET.
The good news is this new stat appears to be able to put numerical value into qualities that could not be gauged before now. The people over at the ESPN Stats & Information Group have compiled stats from NFL game tape since 2008. During that time they were able to review over 60,000 plays. For this project they assembled a panel of elite statisticians and teamed them up with former football players and coaches. Trent Dilfer, Ron Jaworski, and John Gruden are a few notable names that were included in the process to create this formula that can generate a numerical value (QBR) to determine who the best QB's in the NFL are.
People may stop and say "Don't we already have a QB rating stat?". And of course the answer to that question is yes but QB rating has a few holes that the new Total Quarterback Rating can fill. The new rating system has the ability to factor in elements like down, distance, field position, time remaining, rushing, sacks, fumbles, interceptions, distance of the pass in the air, the spot on the field where the ball was thrown, dropped passes, yards after the catch, batted balls, if the QB was hit, if the QB threw the ball away, ball placement, just to name a few (sarcasm). All of these contributing factors allows for the QBR to determine a clutch level for each statistical event. This is great because now each statistical entry is weighted based on the situation.
This new rating for quarterbacks is too valuable to not stick around. A few years ago you may have noticed some baseball broadcasts that added "LOB" (left on base) to the traditional box score graphic. Normally there are 3 categories: Runs, Hits, & Errors. The stat just didn't hold enough relevance in a sport that lives entirely on stats. The QBR will have complete and total relevance to NFL fans, coaches, and GM's. In the coming years we will have a new and improved way to accurately depict which quarterbacks truly give their team the best chance to win.
This new stat may cause the NFL to go through a QB overhaul and fully change the league into a QB league. Teams now fight to find their franchise quarterback but this new formula may give teams the best chance to evaluate talent and get a more consistent opportunity to put the right guy on the field.
Written by: Craig Kibler