Jan 13, 2013; Foxboro, MA, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (8) drops back to pass during the first half of the AFC divisional round playoff game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

On Judging QBs

Lets play a little game. I’ll give you the stats of 2 QBs and you tell me which you’d rather have as your QB:

Comp % TD Int Yd/A Rat QBR
Player A 63.6% 24 12 7.61 92.0 57.9
Player B 54.8% 17 13 6.49 75.3 48.0

Does it matter that Player B ‘s team won 11 games and Player A’s team only won 6? It shouldn’t. Player A is the better player, and it’s clear from their statistics.

No more mystery: Players A is Matt Schaub and  Player B is Mark Sanchez. The stats are from 2010, when Sanchez and the Jets won 11 games and made the AFC Championship game. That team was powered by a great defense and running game, and won in spite of Sanchez’s poor play.

Schaub had a great year in 2010, but his team only won 6 games because the Texan’s defense was horrible, and they hadn’t yet found their running game in a consistent way.

But… but… but… 11 wins > 6 wins. Doesn’t that mean Sanchez is better than Schaub?

I’m going to let you in on a secret. This may come as a surprise, but judging an quarterback based on wins, is an absolutely horrible way to judge a QB.

Doing so is commonplace. We see it just about any time someone talks about a how good or bad a QB might be. “He went 8 and 4, how bad can he be.” Yawn… Unfortunately, this is nothing more than poor analysis by those that are either too lazy to look deeper, or simply don’t know any better.

Don’t believe me, take a look at this chart:

If you honestly believe that Brees is a lesser QB than Tebow, Sanchez or Dilfer, then feel free to navigate way from this page, since rational thought wont make sense to you anyways. The same goes for Matt Hasselbeck, The fact that he’s above Brees, and below Sanchez and Tebow should be enough to make my point incredibly clear.

Football is the ultimate team sport. No one player can not make up for the rest of the team if the others can’t pull their weight. That is often true is basketball, and occasionally in baseball, but not in the NFL.

The other side of that coin is true though. A solid team can make up for a bad individual player, no matter the position. This was the case with Trent Dilfer in Baltimore, and with the Seahawks in 2005 with the play of their safeties.

Lets also not get ourselves confused by the difference between poor play and poor players. Any player have have a awful day and cost their team a win. It’s more noticeable when it’s a QB and they throw 4 picks, but position matter little in this case. A corner back or safety getting beat deep multiple times will have the same effect, as would halfback fumbling the ball a few times.

Don’t get me wrong, we all know that the QB has more influence on the outcome of a game than any other player. I’m not saying that he doesn’t. But exactly how much of the outcome does the QB determine? 10%? 20%? If you believe it’s anything over a third you’re kidding yourself. QBs are important, obviously, but do not discredit the efforts of the rest of the team.

So can we please stop bringing up win totals when comparing QBs? Please? It’s a stupid, asinine, thing to do, and it’s time we stopped doing it. We should judge a QB based on the contribution he makes to his team, instead of based on the quality of the team as a whole.

Doing so will only make for better analysis and more thoughtful discussion. I’m ready to make the change, are you?

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