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On Thursday, I looked at quarterbacks from 2016 who started at least 8 games and threw at least 150 passes. For those passers, I calculated how many standard deviations above average they were in Relative ANY/A (i.e., how much better they were, statistically, than average) and in winning percentage. I sorted the list by the difference between the two, to find the quarterbacks whose stats and winning percentages diverged by the largest amounts. And yesterday, I looked at the quarterbacks whose passing stats most greatly exceeded their winning percentage in any given season.

Today, the reverse: the quarterbacks whose winning percentages were much more impressive than their passing numbers. And the 1973 season had by Terry Bradshaw stands out as the most extreme example. In ’73, Bradshaw went 8-1, despite passing stats that were bad even by 1973 standards: he threw 10 TDs, 15 interceptions, and averaged just 4.89 NY/A. Bradshaw ranked 21st in ANY/A at just 2.56 out of 24 qualifying passers.

RkQuarterbackTeamYearStWin %RANY/AStDv Win%StDv RANY/ADiff
1Terry BradshawPIT197390.889-1.331.96-1.12-3.08
2Peyton ManningDEN201590.778-1.741.40-1.47-2.87
3Kyle OrtonCHI2005150.667-2.140.84-1.80-2.65
4Trent DilferBAL200080.875-0.741.89-0.62-2.52
5Rodney PeetePHI1995120.750-1.271.26-1.07-2.33
6Marc WilsonRAI1985130.846-0.571.75-0.48-2.23
7Gary CuozzoMIN197180.750-1.141.26-0.96-2.22
8Terry BradshawPIT197080.375-3.30-0.63-2.78-2.15
9Joe FergusonBUF1973140.643-1.680.72-1.42-2.14
10Mike PhippsCHI1979100.900-0.132.02-0.11-2.13
11David WoodleyMIA198290.778-0.851.40-0.72-2.12
12Joe TheismannWAS1985110.545-2.200.23-1.85-2.08
13Mike PhippsCLE1973140.571-2.030.36-1.71-2.07
14Ryan LeafSDG199890.333-3.38-0.84-2.85-2.01
15Bobby HebertNOR199190.889-0.031.96-0.02-1.99
16Gus FrerotteMIN2008110.727-0.981.15-0.83-1.98
17Brock OsweilerHOU2016140.571-1.880.36-1.58-1.94
18Heath ShulerNOR199790.444-2.64-0.28-2.22-1.94
19Rodney PeeteDET1993100.600-1.670.51-1.40-1.91
20Jim MillerCHI2001130.846-0.181.75-0.15-1.90
21Danny KanellNYG1997100.750-0.741.26-0.62-1.89
22Steve FullerKAN1979120.500-2.230.00-1.88-1.88
23Phil SimmsNYG1986160.8750.031.890.03-1.87
24Mark MalonePIT1987120.500-2.190.00-1.84-1.84
25Bob LeeATL197490.222-3.85-1.40-3.24-1.84
26Michael VickATL2004150.733-0.761.18-0.64-1.82
27Jim PlunkettOAK1980110.818-0.221.61-0.18-1.79
28Cliff StoudtPIT1983150.600-1.500.51-1.27-1.77
29Trent DilferTAM1999100.700-0.901.01-0.76-1.77
30Jim PlunkettRAI198290.8890.271.960.23-1.73
31Rex GrossmanCHI2006160.813-0.171.58-0.14-1.72
32Steve GroganNWE1976140.786-0.291.44-0.24-1.69
33Ben RoethlisbergerPIT2008160.750-0.501.26-0.42-1.68
34Kerry CollinsCAR1997130.462-2.22-0.19-1.87-1.68
35Terry BradshawPIT1972140.786-0.281.44-0.23-1.68
36Ken StablerHOU1980160.688-0.860.95-0.73-1.67
37John ElwayDEN1992120.667-0.890.84-0.75-1.59
38John ElwayDEN1984140.8570.261.800.22-1.59
39Tim TebowDEN2011110.636-1.050.69-0.89-1.57
40Steve BonoKAN1995160.8130.011.580.01-1.57
41Kyle BollerBAL2004160.563-1.470.32-1.24-1.55
42Rodney PeeteDET199180.750-0.351.26-0.29-1.55
43Marc WilsonRAI198680.625-1.090.63-0.92-1.55
44Doug FlutieNWE198890.667-0.840.84-0.70-1.55
45Dan PastoriniHOU1979150.667-0.790.84-0.67-1.51
46Kyle BollerBAL200390.556-1.460.28-1.23-1.51
47Rick MirerSEA1995130.538-1.560.19-1.31-1.51
48Tony BanksBAL200080.625-1.040.63-0.87-1.50
49Tarvaris JacksonMIN2007120.667-0.780.84-0.66-1.50
50Mike PhippsCLE1972130.769-0.161.36-0.14-1.50
51Mark SanchezNYJ2009150.533-1.570.17-1.33-1.49
52Jeff GeorgeIND1992100.600-1.160.51-0.98-1.48
53Jim McMahonCHI1985111.0001.252.531.05-1.47
54Chris ChandlerIND1988130.692-0.590.97-0.50-1.47
55Todd BlackledgeKAN198680.625-0.980.63-0.83-1.46
56Elvis GrbacKAN1997100.8000.071.520.06-1.45
57Marc BulgerSTL2003150.8000.081.520.07-1.45
58Geno SmithNYJ2013160.500-1.700.00-1.44-1.44
59Nick FolesPHI201480.750-0.201.26-0.17-1.43
60Ben RoethlisbergerPIT2004131.0001.302.531.10-1.43
61Joe FlaccoBAL2011160.750-0.201.26-0.17-1.43
62Gary CuozzoMIN1970120.8330.301.680.26-1.43
63Christian PonderMIN2012160.625-0.940.63-0.79-1.43
64Teddy BridgewaterMIN2015160.688-0.560.95-0.47-1.42
65Cam NewtonCAR2015160.9380.942.210.79-1.42
66Vince YoungTEN2007150.600-1.080.51-0.91-1.42
67Cam NewtonCAR2013160.750-0.181.26-0.15-1.41
68JaMarcus RussellOAK200990.222-3.34-1.40-2.81-1.41
69Jake PlummerDEN2006110.636-0.850.69-0.71-1.40
70Alex SmithSFO2011160.8130.231.580.19-1.39
71Pete LiskeDEN197090.556-1.310.28-1.10-1.38
72David WoodleyMIA1981150.767-0.041.35-0.03-1.38
73Neil O'DonnellPIT1994140.714-0.321.08-0.27-1.35
74Erik KramerDET199180.750-0.091.26-0.08-1.34
75Billy KilmerWAS197690.7780.081.400.07-1.33
76Jay CutlerCHI2012150.667-0.570.84-0.48-1.32
77Steve McNairBAL2006160.8130.321.580.27-1.31
78Marc WilsonOAK198190.556-1.220.28-1.03-1.31
79Vince YoungTEN2006130.615-0.860.58-0.73-1.31
80Donovan McNabbPHI2000160.688-0.420.95-0.35-1.30
81Earl MorrallBAL197190.7780.121.400.10-1.30
82David WoodleyMIA1980110.545-1.270.23-1.07-1.30
83Joe FlaccoBAL2008160.688-0.410.95-0.35-1.29
84Kordell StewartPIT1999120.455-1.80-0.23-1.52-1.29
85Tom BradyNWE2001140.7860.201.440.17-1.28
86Ryan FitzpatrickBUF200980.500-1.520.00-1.28-1.28
87Johnny UnitasBAL1970130.8080.331.550.28-1.28
88Randall CunninghamPHI1989160.688-0.390.95-0.33-1.27
89Tom BradyNWE2003160.8750.741.890.62-1.27
90Mark BrunellJAX1999150.8670.691.850.58-1.27
91Kerry CollinsTEN2008150.8000.301.520.26-1.26
92Jay SchroederWAS1987100.8000.311.520.26-1.26
93Dan PastoriniHOU1975140.714-0.201.08-0.17-1.25
94Jim PlunkettRAI1983130.7690.141.360.12-1.24
95Mark SanchezNYJ2010160.688-0.350.95-0.29-1.24
96Steve WalshCHI1994110.727-0.111.15-0.09-1.24
97Jim McMahonCHI198890.7780.211.400.18-1.23
98Warren MoonHOU1993140.714-0.161.08-0.14-1.22
99A.J. FeeleyMIA200480.375-2.20-0.63-1.85-1.22
100Eli ManningNYG2007160.625-0.700.63-0.59-1.22
  • Paul

    Crazy to see peyton manning at #2. In his defense, the broncos did have 4 comebacks in games he started. And he had a total qbr of 47.5 (for whatever thats worth), so according to espn he was closer to average than all time bad.

    Terry bradshaw twice in the top 10 though, amazing he could go from gimp on a great team to mvp just a few years later.

    • sacramento gold miners

      Bradshaw began to emerge in 1974, his fifth NFL season, he’s one of those QBs which needed more time to develop. The Steelers ran out of patience with Terry Hanratty, and Bradshaw saw significant action as a rookie with a team with a losing history.

      In terms of 1973, the Steelers took a step back from 1972, and struggled when they faced adversity after a 8-1 start. The decline happened after a road win at Oakland, and the Raiders easily beat the Steelers in the first round of the playoffs that season. Bradshaw’s performance was affected by a injury-plagued year by Franco Harris, who managed only 698 yards. And the wide receivers were below average, a situation the Seelers would remedy in the 1974 draft.

      • Paul

        Interesting. Im from western pa, so steelers fandom is pretty widespread, but im too young to know anything about them before i was born, other then what i read on sites like this and their stats on pro-football-reference.

        • sacramento gold miners

          Paul, I strongly suggest YouTube for old Steelers material. Fewer breaks and snapping the ball faster are a couple of differences when you watch the old games as they were first broadcast. For that matter, any NFL fan should enjoy these vintage games. There’s also player and coach specific material available as well.

        • Tom

          Paul – yeah, check out the Steelers playoff games and Super Bowls from the 1970’s. Same QB, same wide receivers, same running backs, same guys on defense (not *all* the same, but you get the point). I don’t think there’s been a more dominant *team* (not franchise mind you; Patriots are probably the most dominant franchise) in the (modern) history of the league…save perhaps the 1960’s Packers.

    • FWIW, that Chiefs game really torpedoed Manning’s stat line. He averaged 4.52 ANY/A, which is terrible, but he was at 5.30 ANY/A without that game. He never should have played that day due to injury, but it really distorts the stat line. 5.30 is still really bad, but the diff between 5.30 and 4.52 is close to the difference between 5.30 and league average.

      • Topher Doll

        We do have to be careful, removing one horrible game for one QB to boost their overall ANY/A is a bit unfair to other QB’s who could benefit from that but weren’t as well known as Peyton.

  • I like to see that there are TWO quarterbacks from the 2000 Ravens on here.

  • It’s “impressive” that Bob Lee, JaMarcus Russell, and Ryan Leaf all make the list with 3-6 or 2-7 seasons.

    • Also interesting: the undefeated seasons of McMahon and Big Ben on here.

    • And a shoutout to Heath Shuler’s lost season in New Orleans!

  • David Woodley made this list in ’80, ’81, and ’82 — good explanation for why Miami made the Super Bowl in ’82 and then still drafted Marino.

    • Paul

      That was a very fortunate situation for Marino, to have all time great skills and be drafted by such a successful team.

      • sacramento gold miners

        Marino’s draft situation was similar to that of Aaron Rodgers. Was projected to be selected sooner, but instead of getting picked by a struggling franchise, they went to a winner with many pieces in place. The point of difference was each player’s final college season, Marino unexpectedly struggled, while Rodgers had a great year.