With all the stats within the game of football, there is one that is talked about, but never explained in great detail. With the quarterback position comes a different measureable statistical analysis. The obvious are Completions/Attempts followed by Completion %. Attached with completions are yards, touchdowns, interceptions, and average pass length just to name a few.

As of today the top four quarterbacks in the NFL with the top passer ratings are Michael Vick (Eagles), Phillip Rivers (Chargers), Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers) and Tom Brady (Patriots).

Player Team Att Comp Comp% Yds Avg Gain TD TD% Long Int Int% Avg Pass Length Avg Pass Length, Completions Avg YAC Rating
Michael Vick PHI 191 120 62.8 1608 8.42 11 5.8 88t 0 .0 9.45 7.65 5.75 108.7
Philip Rivers SD 353 230 65.2 3177 9.00 23 6.5 59t 9 2.5 8.47 7.22 6.6 105.0
Ben Roethlisberger PIT 187 117 62.6 1579 8.44 12 6.4 53t 4 2.1 10.48 8.68 4.81 101.9
Tom Brady NE 329 215 65.3 2362 7.18 19 5.8 65t 4 1.2 7.67 5.72 5.27 100.6

The Passer Rating is the name or category for the analysis methodology used in evaluating the performance of the quarterback position in a logical format. This format is used for NFL (National Football League), while the Collegiate level of competition uses another. The CFL (Canadian Football League) has taken on the format used by the NFL.

The NFL’s quarterback rating system was created in 1973, by Don Smith a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Smith’s overall idea when developing this system was to use a sliding scale format. The key is outstanding performances meet diminishing returns faster than sub-par performances. The highest rating or the best is 158.3 and the worst being a zero. Conceptually, the average rating would be 79.2, since this is equidistant between zero and 158.3, but the architects of the rating had 66.66 in mind as the “average” score (100 * [1.00*4]/6). The cumulative league-wide average passer rating for the years 2000 through 2003, all inclusive, was 78.9 (the figure is typically rounded to the nearest 1/10 of a point); however in 2004 the league average was 82.8, the highest ever recorded. This may be due, at least in part, to stricter rules regarding pass interference. The passer rating is known formally in college football as the passing efficiency rating; it is based on player performances between 1965 and 1979.

The mathematical steps listed below breakdown the passer rating data used in the NFL (National Football league) get your calculators out and start crunching numbers. The sum of phase (1-4) cannot be greater than 2.375 or less than zero. Add the sum of the Steps 1 through 4, multiply by 100 and divide by 6.

1: Completed passes divided by pass attempts. Subtract 0.3, and then divide by 0.2

2: Passing yards divided by pass attempts. Subtract 3, and then divide by 4.

3: Touchdown passes divided by pass attempts, then divide by .05.

4: Start with .095, and subtract interceptions divided by attempts. Divide the difference by .04.

(Formula data provided by NFL Stats Analysis)

Steve Young currently holds the NFL record for the highest career passer rating with a mark of 96.8. He previously held the all-time record for highest single season rating in the league when he scored a 112.4 in 1994. That record, along with virtually every other significant quarterbacking record, was shattered in 2004 by Peyton Manning, who posted a rating of over 121.1.

Ok now that I have confused several of you, there has to be a different way and much easier way to determine the quarterback performance. I know, how about all the above but include Super Bowl Win as a weighted factor within the mathematical equation each year. While some very bright people within the football circle of the NFL, Professors from Harvard and other high education institutions have submitted different formulas to the NFL to upgrade their Quarterback Rating formula. Keep in mind change is not good when you have to compare to the past and disturbing NFL lore. Something’s must remain the same.