July 26, 2011

QB Greatness Scale, Part 2: All-Time Best QB's

     Recently I introduced the Greatness Scale, a project where I would find a way to calculate how great somebody perceives a player to be.  The first test was finding who I should think are the best QB's in NFL history.  Before I put the numbers in, my top 5 would probably have looked like this:

1.  Peyton Manning
2.  Dan Marino
3.  Otto Graham
4.  Steve Young
5.  Tom Brady

     I know what you're thinking.  Steve Young?!?  Yes, I'm fully aware that I like Steve Young way more than I should.  But he became one of the highest rated passers in history, in a time when great stats like that weren't as common as they are today, and he might be better known for his scrambling ability.  If that's not a top 5 all-time QB, then I don't know what is.
     Anyway, after rating the 15 test QB's, I calculated the top 8 stats that correlated highest with my initial ratings, meaning I found them most important.  I ended up with 4 very important ones:

1.  QB rating + (how a QB's passer rating compared with the league average during his career, as calculated by pro-football-reference.com)
2.  Win percentage as a starter
3.  Wins as a starter
4.  Completion percentage +

And 4 slightly less important ones:

5.  Playoff wins as a starter
6.  Passing touchdowns
7.  QB rating
8.  Touchdown percentage

     My initial reaction was the disbelief that my favorite stat, yards per attempt, wasn't included at all, but completion percentage, wins, and playoff wins (which I hate using) were.  But I trusted in the formula and continued on, testing any great QB's I could think of, and the results surprised me.

1.  Joe Montana  (237.1 points)
2.  Peyton Manning  (235.0)
3.  Steve Young  (231.9)
4.  Tom Brady  (231.5)
5.  Brett Favre  (229.5)

     A formula that was derived without me telling it I loved Steve Young, correctly predicted that I loved Steve Young.  Otto Graham probably would have made the top 5 had I counted his AAFC stats and wins, but he did place 7th.  This thing worked better than I could have ever hoped.

     Joe Montana's stats are a lot better than you would think, given that all anyone ever mentions is his four rings and "coolness".  Therefore, I am proud to announce Joe Montana as Week 17 Legend's Official Greatest QB Ever!
Coming Soon:
Part 3:  Best of the 2010 Season
Part 4:  Weird Findings
Part 5:  Active Players/Looking Ahead

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