Hyper Inflation

In looking at the table of the leading passer ratings in the NFL this year, I was disgusted to find how easy it has become to post a huge rating.  Take a look at the top 10 passers in the NFL:

1 Peyton Manning IND 114.5
2 Aaron Rodgers GB 110.8
3 Drew Brees NO 106.9
4 Matt Schaub HOU 104.4
5 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 102.6
6 Brett Favre MIN 102.2
7 Kyle Orton DEN 100.1
8 Tom Brady NE 99.9
9 Philip Rivers SD 96.1
10 Tony Romo DAL 94.7

Last year, there were 5 QBs who finished the year at 95 or better.  Peyton Manning won the MVP with a passer rating of 95.  Now, I realize that his rating was a bit lower than a normal MVP, because he was rewarded for his work over the final 8 games of the season, but still, it’s mind blowing to see that there are 10 QBs essentially playing at an MVP level right now.  Dig a bit deeper and you find 4 more QBs over 90. It’s early in season still, and as the weather worsens some of these ratings will begin to drop on their own, but this is ridiculous.

We’ve all grown accustomed to the growth of the passing game in the NFL, but this is a quantum leap even from last year, and there is no discernible rule change to cause it.  I don’t like the ‘Brady rule’, but I seriously doubt it’s the sole reason QBs are posting massive numbers all over the league.

In fact, the culprit is obvious.  There are a crapload of bad teams.  Just check out Sunday’s Hangover (ho ho!  I snuck that plug in on you.  You are permitted to feel violated.).  It’s one blowout after another.

My theory is that the 6 worst teams (those with zero or one win) in the NFL are so bad that they are skewing the passing stats.  Check out the top 10 QBs by passer rating against the other 26 NFL teams and verses the Sh***y Six (Cleveland, Detroit, Tampa, Tennessee, the Rams and the Chiefs…a combined 3-37):

Rating Other 26 Sh***y Six Games against the SS
1 Peyton Manning IND 114.5 114.5 114.5 2
2 Aaron Rodgers GB 110.8 95.4 130.9 3
3 Drew Brees NO 106.9 96.7 137 1
4 Matt Schaub HOU 104.4 100 127.8 1
5 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 102.6 98.9 106.9 3
6 Brett Favre MIN 102.2 99.9 107.2 3
7 Kyle Orton DEN 100.1 104 83.5 1
8 Tom Brady NE 99.9 85.9 137.1 2
9 Philip Rivers SD 96.1 91.8 122.6 1
10 Tony Romo DAL 94.7 80 126.7 2

The six worst teams in football are ruining the game.  Take out the Six, and you have 7 players over 95 (compared with 5 last year) and just three over 100.   The only guys who haven’t benefited from the 6 are Manning (who is incredibly at 114.5 against the other 26 and 114.5 against the 6) and Kyle Orton (and  nobody knows what the hell is up with him).  Tom Brady, Tony Romo, and Aaron Rodgers have feasted on the 6, and their numbers are greatly inflated.

So the next time someone tries to sell you on the idea that so and so is a great QB or is having a great season just because of his numbers, make sure you find out how many of the Sh***y Six he’s played.  It makes all the difference.
UPDATE:  I was asked to produce last year’s passer rating chart through week seven.  I had to recreate it using yahoo sports’ week by week results and manually inputting the totals into a passing calculator.  Here’s what I have.  If it’s not 100%, it should be close.
Philip Rivers SDG 108.5
Tony Romo DAL 103.5
Kurt Warner ARI 102.8
Aaron Rodgers GNB 98.8
Trent Edwards BUF 98.8
Ben Roethlisberger PIT 98.1
Chad Pennington MIA 97.4
Jason Campbell WAS 96.2
Jeff Garcia TAM 93.3
Donovan McNabb PHI 93.2

We see three players over 100 (verses 7 this year) and 8 over 94.7 (verses 10 this year).

I think it shows that:

1.  There is clearly inflation this year (although i suppose it could be argued that it’s largely just the result of Brady and Manning being healthy).

2.  There will be some regression (see Campbell, Jason and Edwards, Trent)

For the record, here are last year’s final standings:

 

1 Philip Rivers, QB SDG 105.5
2 Chad Pennington, QB MIA 97.4
3 Kurt Warner, QB ARI 96.9
4 Drew Brees, QB NOR 96.2
5 Peyton Manning, QB IND 95
6 Aaron Rodgers, QB GNB 93.8
7 Matt Schaub, QB HOU 92.7
8 Tony Romo, QB DAL 91.4
9 Jeff Garcia, QB TAM 90.2
10 Matt Cassel, QB NWE 89.4

 

Quantcast