FanPost

Career Passer Ratings, an alternate approach

If you want to tick me off, simply show me a list of the NFL's all-time leaders in career Passer Rating.  It's an absolute travesty!  You'll find Chad Pennington is ranked higher than Roger Staubach.  Jake Delhomme's higher than Sonny Jurgensen and Len Dawson.  Brian Griese's "better" than Bart Starr, Dan Fouts and John Elway?  Oh, the humanity!  What can we, as football fans, DO to repair this injustice, America?

As we all know, the game has changed mightily over the years, with ever-increasing emphasis on the passing game.  As a result, Passer Rating numbers have steadily grown as well (from a mean of 59.4 in 1946, to 84.8 last year, up 43%).  Naturally, this skews the career numbers toward the more modern QBs that put up higher numbers on average.

I'm sure I'm not the first to think of this, but... it occurred to me that it might be more accurate to adjust the yearly data to correct for this skewing effect.  To do this, I calculated the mean Passer Rating (among qualifiers listed at NFL.com) for each year 1946-2008.  Then, for each year I created a multiplier to "inflate" that year's Passer Ratings to 2008 levels.  For example, for 1946 the multiplier is 1.43 (84.8 divided by 59.4).  Each qualifying QB has his PR multiplied by 1.43 for that year, to yield an Adjusted Passer Rating.

After sorting the 1400+ lines of data, I selected all QBs with 5 or more qualifying seasons and averaged each man's yearly Adjusted Ratings to get a composite career number.  Here's my top 50, which I find much more plausible than the unadjusted numbers, though obviously not perfect by any means:

Rank

Composite Adjusted Passer Rating

Player

Last Tm

Last Yr

1

110.4

Otto Graham

CLE

1955

2

106.6

Steve Young

SF

1998

3

105.4

Roger Staubach

DAL

1979

4

102.1

Len Dawson

KC

1974

5

101.8

Joe Montana

KC

1994

6

101.5

Sonny Jurgensen

WAS

1970

7

100.4

Norm Van Brocklin

PHI

1960

8

99.6

Bart Starr

GB

1970

9

99.4

Peyton Manning

IND

2008

10

99.2

Kurt Warner

ARI

2008

11

98.5

Milt Plum

DET

1965

12

98.5

Johnny Unitas

BAL

1970

13

98.0

Bert Jones

BAL

1981

14

98.0

Fran Tarkenton

MIN

1978

15

97.2

Daunte Culpepper

MIN

2004

16

97.0

Frank Ryan

CLE

1967

17

96.1

Tom Brady

NE

2007

18

95.9

Bobby Thomason

PHI

1955

19

95.8

Ken Anderson

CIN

1984

20

95.7

Greg Landry

BAL

1979

21

95.4

Daryle Lamonica

OAK

1972

22

93.9

Dan Marino

MIA

1999

23

93.8

Bob Griese

MIA

1979

24

93.7

Trent Green

KC

2005

25

93.5

Dan Fouts

SD

1987

26

93.4

Chad Pennington

MIA

2008

27

93.3

Don Meredith

DAL

1968

28

93.0

Ben Roethlisberger

PIT

2008

29

92.7

Randall Cunningham

MIN

1998

30

92.2

Jim Kelly

BUF

1996

31

92.2

Y.A. Tittle

NYG

1964

32

91.3

Ken Stabler

NO

1983

33

91.1

Drew Brees

NO

2008

34

91.0

Jeff Garcia

TB

2008

35

90.9

Donovan McNabb

PHI

2008

36

90.9

Brett Favre

NYJ

2008

37

90.8

Danny White

DAL

1987

38

90.3

Charlie Conerly

NY

1959

39

90.2

Craig Morton

DEN

1981

40

90.2

Joe Theismann

WAS

1985

41

90.2

Ken O'Brien

NYJ

1991

42

90.1

Dave Krieg

CHI

1996

43

90.0

Billy Wade

CHI

1964

44

89.8

Chris Chandler

ATL

2001

45

89.8

Brian Griese

CHI

2007

46

89.7

John Brodie

SF

1971

47

89.3

Neil O'Donnell

CIN

1998

48

89.2

Neil Lomax

PHO

1988

49

89.2

Jeff Hostetler

OAK

1996

50

89.2

Bernie Kosar

CLE

1991

53

89.0

Steve Bartkowski

ATL

1984

59

88.3

Bobby Hebert

ATL

1996

119

72.2

Joey Harrington

ATL

2007

I posted a copy of my spreadsheet here in case anyone wants to see more data.  It's a 900+ KB file, so it may take a few minutes with a dial-up connection.  Cheers to all you old QBs out there!

<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>

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