Attention football fans! Our collective prayers have been answered by the WorldWide Leader, ESPN! No longer will you lie awake at night wishing there was a more contrived, more complicated way to rate your favorite quarterback! No longer will you have to wrap your pea-sized mind around a perfect 158.3 QB rating. No, no, no, ESPN is saving the day this Friday when they unveil their brand new Total Quarterback Rating. Of course, the new Total QB Rating is only a small part of ESPN's Year of the Quarterback, which I think falls somewhere between the Year of the Tiger and the Year of the Armadillo.
Hopefully you could sense the sarcasm dripping from that paragraph, but it is true, ESPN has devised their own QB rating in their never-ending quest for world domination. But why? Sure, we've all complained at one point or another that a perfect QB rating of 158.3 makes no sense. But was there really demand for a different QB rating to muddy the waters? As SI's Kerry Byrne points out, the conventional QB rating, although contrived, actually has an excellent correlation to both individual success at the position and team success. Ask yourself, is it a fluke that Tom Brady was 1st last year in passer rating, or that Jimmy Claussen was 31st?
According to the experts at ESPN though, the arcane QB rating we're all accustomed to just doesn't reflect the demands of the "modern quarterback". So, the "far superior" ESPN Total QB Rating will be even more impossible to understand than the current system. From SportsNewser:
“Total QBR is based on all of a quarterback’s plays (rushing, passing, sacks, fumbles, interceptions, penalties, etc.), and it calculates the per-play net impact of the quarterback on the ability to score. Each play is weighted by the situation (i.e., down and distance, field position, time during the game) and its importance to the game’s outcome. For example, a completed five-yard pass on 3rd-and-3 would increase a quarterback’s QBR more than a five-yard completion on 3rd-and-15 because the former continues the drive and thus improves the team’s chance of scoring. Also, plays in closely contested games carry a greater value than plays in less competitive situations.
Division of credit is another important Total QBR principle because it assigns a percentage to how much credit a quarterback should get for a positive play – or blame for a negative play. With (Trent) Dilfer’s input, the group identified other key data to incorporate into the formula, including how far a pass travels in the air, where the ball was thrown on the field, the yards after catch, and whether the quarterback was facing defensive pressure, among other factors."
Oh great, so Trent Dilfer helped create this system! That means Bears QB Jay Cutler will automatically start out with a -9334 Total QB Rating on ESPN's new 100 point scale. Seriously though, has there ever been an analyst that carries himself with more self-importance and accomplished less than Trent Dilfer? And before you tell me that Dilfer has a Super Bowl ring let me remind you that I could have won a Super Bowl with that Ravens defense. When did he become the ultimate authority on quarterbacking? If there's anyone I WOULDN'T trust with developing a new QB rating, it's Trent Dilfer because you know he has a bias against certain QBs (Jay Cutler) and also has his favorites (Mark Sanchez, Aaron Rogers, Philip Rivers... basically everyone but Jay Cutler. Yes, I'm a Bears fan).
And as if having Trent Dilfer create this new QB rating weren't bad enough, other ESPNers like Ron Jaworski (who probably spent 800 consecutive hours in the "vault" studying QBs who "could make all the throws") and Jon Gruden are involved in the project. I'm sorry, but does Gruden have any credibility himself in this new QB rating? I think a QB would literally have to throw an INT with every attempt to get a poor rating if "THAT GUY" is involved with this new metric. Apparently the only person missing from the braintrust behind this new Total QB Rating is noted NFL "expert" Colin Cowherd. So long passer rating, it was nice knowing you and your quirky 158.3 perfect rating. Brace yourselves NFL fans, Total QB Rating is here to stay, because ESPN says so. And the jamming down our throats begins this Friday!