Ranking NFL quarterbacks is a complex process with competing statistical approaches. Below I’ve taken two stats published separately by FootballOutsiders, Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement for both passing and running with the ball and added them together. Here are the 14 NFL quarterbacks who accounted for at least 500 yards more than would have a theoretical replacement-level quarterback. Not too surprisingly, Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay comes out #1 in combined Passing and Rushing yardage production for the 2014 regular season.
|Player||Team||DYAR Pass||DYAR Rush||DYAR Total|
This DYAR statistic benefits durable quarterbacks who are heavily involved (pass or run) with most plays, such as Ben Roethlisberger, rather than ones who hand off more, such as Tony Romo (early in 2014) or Russell Wilson. They have a second measure, DVOA, under which Romo’s passing looks better than Roethlisberger’s:
DYAR means a quarterback with more total value. DVOA means a quarterback with more value per play.
And here’s ESPN’s proprietary QBR system:
|1||Tony Romo, DAL||82.7|
|2||Aaron Rodgers, GB||82.6|
|3||Peyton Manning, DEN||77.2|
|4||Tom Brady, NE||74.3|
|5||Ben Roethlisberger, PIT||72.5|
|6||Drew Brees, NO||71.6|
|7||Eli Manning, NYG||70.9|
|8||Joe Flacco, BAL||67.3|
|9||Matt Ryan, ATL||67.0|
|10||Philip Rivers, SD||66.8|
|11||Andrew Luck, IND||63.8|
|12||Russell Wilson, SEA||62.4|
|13||Nick Foles, PHI||62.2|
|14||Ryan Tannehill, MIA||59.1|
|15||Mark Sanchez, PHI||58.2|
|16||Cam Newton, CAR||56.9|
|17||Colin Kaepernick, SF||55.9|
|18||Ryan Fitzpatrick, HOU||55.3|
|19||Andy Dalton, CIN||55.2|
|20||Matthew Stafford, DET||55.1|
It remains fascinating that after decades of Establishment campaigning for more black quarterbacks in the NFL, year after year we wind up with results like this, with Russell Wilson, last year’s Super Bowl winner, the only black quarterback to be clearly in the league’s elite.
Perhaps there has been a huge subterranean shift among large white youths and their football savvy dads toward: Go quarterback or go do some other kind of sport.
For example, the best football player of my high school class was about 6’3″ and 220 pounds. He played, as I vaguely recall, defensive end and tight end, so he could knock guys down. He was a smart guy (he’s an architect today), although it was kind of hard to tell back then because, as he joked at a high school reunion, at the time he totally bought into his coaches telling him not to worry about all that pussy book stuff when the important thing in life was knocking guys down.
Forty years ago it didn’t seem implausible that a white kid of that size and strength could wind up playing, say, defense in the NFL. Sure, the trend in the early Seventies was toward more and more blacks at most positions, but that was simply catching up for past discrimination, right? The Eighties, in contrast, would surely be an age of racial equality in which the natural equality of the races will cause the distribution of positions by race to stabilize.
Well, that racial stabilization didn’t happen and NFL positions became more segregated by race over time.
And, over the decades, white people have drawn lessons from that. Such as: if your son is tall, strong, and fairly fast, his best hope of a college and, especially, pro football career is at quarterback. So you’d better start sending him to quarterback summer camps young and if he shows promise, hire him his own quarterbacking tutor.
If quarterback doesn’t seem to be working out for him, well, there are a lot of other sports where his traits are wanted and the competition from African-Americans is much less fierce.