Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New Rating System For QB's

Some of the talking heads over at ESPN have put their talkative heads together and come up with a new way to judge QB performance, known as the Total Quarterback Rating.  (h/t to blog reader Andy Bulluck, thanks for the link).  I'll be the first to admit that I am far from a stats geek, I typically find these sorts of things mind-numbingly dull, but this one is actually a pretty good read.

The article is written in terms of evaluating NFL QB's, but would apply at any level.  Here is the basic premise:
QBR starts with this insight: Any possession in a football game has an expected value -- the average number of points the team with possession can expect to score, based on all the historical outcomes for teams facing the same down, distance, field position and time remaining. And that means we can evaluate any play by how much it increases or decreases a team's expected point total.
It goes on to explain how it accounts for factors such as that a QB should get more credit for a 5 yard pass on 3rd and 3 (which increases the chance of scoring on that drive) than completing a 5 yard pass on 3rd and 15 (which does not).  It also rewards things like "clutch" plays and penalizes things not currently taken into account for QB ratings, like QB's who are bad about taking sacks.

There have already been some criticisms (as there always are) of this proposed method, including this piece from Yahoo Sports. While the lack of a strength of opponent factor is a valid criticism, it's still far better than what is out there now.  It will be an interesting metric to watch this year, and if it catches on at the NFL level, I hope it eventually catches on at the NCAA level as well.  It would give a more interesting perspective on QB ratings.

-Rev.

**If you ever see a link that you think would make a good blog post, please don't be shy about sending it in, like Andy did.  I never realized how hard it is to come up with ideas for blog posts - until I started blogging.  You think you've got all these great ideas, then after you've written about 10 posts, you realize "Ummmm.......errrrrr......well, that's about all I had to say".  So any help is appreciated!  You can send me an email by clicking on my name on the right hand side of the blog here, then click on "Email" on my profile page.  I'm also on Twitter, @Rev_Whitewall**

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