Notes from the QB Meter: The Greatness of Aaron Rodgers

You all know I love NFL Quarterback statistics. You might not know that I keep a “QB Meter” spreadsheet which I update every week. It started after Peyton Manning made the jump to Denver and the Indianapolis Star website stopped carrying their “Manning Meter” which tracked everything Manning, ranked him on the all-time stats lists and projected when he would break records in major categories. As a Colts fan, I decided I needed a Manning meter of my own. Then I branched out and made a meter that compared Manning and Andrew Luck at the same point in their careers. I also made a meter of Colts QBs. Finally, I made a big, sortable list of QBs which contained active starters of 20+ games and top 10 historic QBs in most major passing categories. I update it after every week (with my thanks as always to pro-football-reference) and take a look to see if there is anything notable.

Hence, Notes from the QB Meter.

In the inaugural, official edition of this hopefully-ongoing series I want to take a look at Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers. There is no doubt that he is one of the best in the league right now, but seriously, how great is he? Let’s take a look. Continue reading

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Symmetry? – Manning and Luck in game 35

manluck

Last Sunday, Andrew Luck had what has been called a “career day” against the worst team in the league right now. His Colts walloped the Jaguars for their first win of the season.

Since the start of the 2013 season, I’ve been keeping track of exactly how Luck compares to Manning at the same point in each of their careers. When updating for this week, I noted a few things their respective game 35s had in common.

  • Both games were against Jacksonville (though Manning was home and Luck was away).
  • Both were Colts wins: 43-14 in 2000 and 44-17 in 2014.
  • Both QBs threw 4 TDs and 0 INTs.
  • Both QBs were named Offensive Player of the Week after these games.
  • Both QBs passed the 9000 mark for career yardage.
  • The distribution of TD passes per quarter is the same: 1-2-0-1.

Maybe those aren’t remarkable coincidences–heaven forbid I go into Lincoln/Kennedy territory–but they’re worth pointing out. Here’s a look at the QB numbers from both games

QB CMP ATT CMP% Yards TD INT Rating
Peyton Manning 23 36 63.89% 440 4 0 143.3
Andrew Luck 31 39 79.49% 370 4 0 140.4

Though their passer ratings were also similar, Manning had 70 more yards (Matt Hasselbeck produced 20 in relief of Luck halfway through the 4th quarter) and Luck had a much higher completion percentage, the highest of his career to date (Manning has topped 80% several times). It should also be noted that the 2000 game was actually played in week 4 of the season, but was still the third game for the Colts, who had a week 3 BYE.

Lastly, for those of you not keeping track at home, here is the career comparison of Manning and Luck after 35 games.

QB W L CMP ATT CMP% Yards Y/G TD INT AY/A Rating Playoffs
Peyton Manning 19 16 725 1212 59.82% 9027 257.91 61 44 6.82 84.62 0-1
Andrew Luck 23 12 768 1323 58.05% 9108 260.23 55 30 6.70 83.55 1-2

Those numbers are also very similar (except for those INTs). The question is, forgetting Manning’s future, who do you take?  Do you go with the guy who went 3-13 and then 13-3, or the guy who went 11-5 two years in a row, and managed a playoff victory? The correct answer is not “Russell Wilson.”

Peyton Manning’s 2013 Records Chase (after 15 games)

Peyton Manning did it. He broke the single season record for TD passes (even if one wasn’t a complete pass), and he did it in game 15 (just like in 2004). He’s still on pace to break the single-season records for passing yards and he might just add 3-4 more TDs to his total. Let’s take a look at Peyton Manning’s 2013 stats compared to those of other QBs after 15 games in their own record-setting seasons. I’ll probably post a season post-mortem update to this after next week’s game. As always with this football statistics stuff, I never claim expertise, I just do it for fun. Along with whatever’s new,  there’s still some stuff here from last week’s look. Continue reading

Peyton Manning’s 2013 Records Chase (after 14 games)

Peyton Manning is on pace to break the single-season records for touchdown passes and passing yards this year (2013). Let’s take a look at Peyton Manning’s 2013 stats compared to those of other QBs after 14 games in their own record-setting seasons. I’ll probably post updates to this after each of the next 2 games as Manning inches closer to these achievements. As always with this football statistics stuff, I never claim expertise, I just do it for fun. I’m late on this week’s update, so there isn’t much analysis and there’s still some stuff from last week’s look.

Continue reading

Peyton Manning’s 2013 Records Chase (after 13 games)

Peyton Manning is on pace to break the single-season records for touchdown passes and passing yards this year (2013). Let’s take a look at Peyton Manning’s 2013 stats compared to those of other QBs after 13 games in their own record-setting seasons. I’ll probably post updates to this after each of the next 3 games as Manning inches closer to these achievements. As always with this football statistics stuff, I never claim expertise, I just do it for fun. I’ve tried to freshen this up a bit, but I held over some stuff from last week’s look. Continue reading

Receiving Corps Showdown! 2004 Colts vs. 2013 Broncos

BC

After watching the Denver Broncos prevail over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon, with Peyton Manning throwing TDs #37-41 on the season (4 of them to Eric Decker), I thought back to Manning’s record breaking 2004 season with the Colts. A question came to my mind: as a QB, who would you rather have: Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Stokley and Dallas Clark OR Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas?

With four games left in the 2013 season, it’s hard to know how the 10-2 Broncos will end up. The 2004 Colts went 12-4 and lost in the divisional round of the playoffs to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Patriots. Still, I think the question is worth exploring, if only to dive into some fun stats via Pro-Football-Reference and practice making tables in html.

Which team has the better receiving corps in their particular season, the 2004 Colts or the 2013 Broncos? It might be a moot point, or an apples/oranges situation considering the 9-year gap, plus the (projected) difference in pass attempts of 143 (in the Broncos’ favor). As usual, there are several other things that could factor in as well. Still, this is just for fun (and far from expert), so let’s dive in and see who has the edge. (Don’t forget to vote at the end). Continue reading

Peyton Manning’s 2013 Records Chase (after 12 games)

Peyton Manning is on pace to break the single-season records for touchdown passes and passing yards this year (2013). Here’s a quick (and dirty?) look at Peyton Manning’s 2013 stats compared to those of other QBs after 12 games in their own record-setting seasons. I’ll probably post updates to this after each of the next 4 games as Manning inches closer to these achievements. As always with this football statistics stuff, I never claim expertise, I just do it for fun. Continue reading

Quarter-Back Again: Elite-ness Revisited

So, Joe Flacco got himself a Super Bowl ring (and a Super Bowl MVP award, despite any arguments in favor of Jacoby Jones). Does that make him an elite quarterback? I expressed some of my thoughts at length earlier and I more or less declared that, prior to the Super Bowl at least, Flacco was not an elite QB. Now that he’s won, I’m prepared to reevaluate and modify my original ideas, if needed. The criteria I laid out in my previous post was meant to be a measurement of who the best active QBs in the NFL are, whether you want to call them “the elite,” as I basically did, or not. “Elite” has been a troublesome word for me as I struggled to write that post, and now this one.

Here’s a bit taken from an earlier draft of my previous post:

The term “elite” is kind of vague. I believe that elite QBs are a smaller group than the “top 10,” perhaps numbering anywhere between 4-8 in a given season. Of course, by saying “in a given season,” I am suggesting that elite status can be temporary. A QB can be really good for 3 years and then wind up playing for another 10 that aren’t so notable. OR, another more likely prospect is that a QB might start slowly and build to elite status. However you try to slice it, the term is kind of hazy. Even if the term isn’t hazy, everyone’s opinion on who fits the term’s definition is different as well.

I left that part out for one reason or another, but now I’m more inclined to embrace it and its suggestion of the potentially fleeting nature of being an elite QB. Rather than being just the top 4-8 QBs in any given year, perhaps the elite are those whom you would want to lead your team, based on recent performance. Obviously, there can be perennial elites, like the 4 gentlemen I mentioned in my last post (Brady, Brees, Peyton Manning, Rodgers). However, maybe it would be more appropriate to call these perennial elites future Hall of Famers (with the possible exception of Rodgers, who just needs to keep it up for a few more years). That would then suggest that the elite status should be extended beyond just the top four. Continue reading

Quarterbackstravaganza!

I’ve been trying to write a post about Joe Flacco and whether he qualifies as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL (let alone, one of the “elite”) for over a week now, with no success. I’ve done all kinds of research, tallying, calculating and clicking around on pro-football-reference.com and wikipedia to find out not just about Flacco, but also about how he compares to most every other long-term starting QB in the NFL since the year 2000. It’s to the point where my thoughts are so disorganized and the information I’ve compiled is so unwieldy that I just need to throw it all (well, not all of it) out there.

Here’s what it boils down to: since at least the start of the 2011 season (or earlier) there has been some discussion about whether Joe Flacco is an “elite” quarterback. Now he’s playing in the Super Bowl and it sounds like he’ll be demanding “Drew Brees money” when he gets a new contract in the off-season. Throughout all of this, and even up to this point, I’ve personally been skeptical of this praise of Flacco and the desire to rank him among the best QBs in today’s NFL. However, maybe there is something to all of these stories and arguments. Maybe Flacco is actually better than I give him credit for. In an effort to see if Flacco is indeed one of today’s best, I’ve compiled a list of criteria for what I think makes an NFL quarterback one of the best. Please be aware that this is a personal, non-professional/expert analysis. It’s just one fan doing amateur statistical and career comparisons in order to convince himself that he’s right, or find out that he’s wrong. Continue reading