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Adam Steele is back for his third guest post in his Marginal YAC series.


In my two previous two posts, I introduced Marginal YAC and Marginal Air Yards. Today, I’m posting the career mYAC and mAir for the 96 quarterbacks with at least 1,000 pass attempts from 1992-2013. There’s a lot of data here, so I’ll let the readers do most of the commentary.

Here is a table of career Marginal YAC. The “Per 300” column is the rate of mYAC per 300 completions, or roughly equivalent to one full season. And on a “per season” basis, no quarterback benefited more from YAC than Steve Young, who also had four top-40 seasons.

QuarterbackCareerRankPer300RankAttCompYardsYACYAC/CYAC %
Brett Favre233811111210165630071838339665.3947.3
Donovan McNabb1852217555374317037276179535.6648.2
Tom Brady18223131106572417049067234035.6147.7
Steve Young1620424512961198224266114405.7747.1
Philip Rivers1418516264078262932221154655.8848
Trent Green1371618543667222827950123645.5544.2
Kurt Warner10237117113994262431940143215.4644.8
Aaron Rodgers987815572896191023868113145.9247.4
Jeff Blake88791528309217462075196615.5346.6
Boomer Esiason784101933210512161365667985.5949.8
Jason Campbell745111519244814761643285675.852.1
Rich Gannon73812109133313202923119108235.3346.8
Cam Newton70313239214758821129955486.2949.1
Daunte Culpepper6101491163199201624153106125.2643.9
Jeff Garcia5721576213676226425537118825.2546.5
Gus Frerotte5641610814285015611954684055.3843
Ben Roethlisberger5271758244346274934105150295.4744.1
Drew Brees4901833366772446650860237855.3346.8
Vinny Testaverde4681950264798280133343143645.1343.1
Tony Banks396209415232912631512667335.3344.5
Tony Romo3892148283775243929565133815.4945.3
Matthew Stafford365227720240114281692281875.7348.4
John Elway340235325322719222350198735.1442
David Carr306247022220613161402668045.1748.5
Dave Krieg29825901717129961181452415.2644.4
Matt Schaub2802643323020195123221107385.546.2
Jake Delhomme267274927273216181950684515.2243.3
Brian Griese242284234276117331921888605.1146.1
Alex Smith222294235268615991759988065.5150
Charlie Batch2173088181326743901639565.3243.9
Matt Cassel206314629225913341504974025.5549.2
Elvis Grbac204324331239514111638173135.1844.6
Joey Harrington203334333253814241469372185.0749.1
Bobby Hebert17834622314438581002743655.0943.5
Mark Rypien1693581191143623693831975.1346.1
Michael Vick153362738301716972140389335.2641.7
Jay Fiedler13637443016039361104047725.143.2
Aaron Brooks130382339296316732026183755.0141.3
Randall Cunningham114393137185511001348755865.0841.4
Steve Beuerlein92401840265515681927679315.0641.1
Joe Flacco794113413103186921545102355.4847.5
Trent Dilfer5342944302416921972185085.0343.1
Kyle Orton48431242212412411405466375.3547.2
Jeff George3944746300717462167487395.0140.3
Jake Plummer27453474350248429253123694.9842.3
Andrew Luck224610431197682819637445.4945.7
Christian Ponder17478451013610643633405.4851.9
Brad Johnson-1548-2484164257328126128434.9945.7
Dave Brown-1549-5491553846972942635.0443.8
Rex Grossman-5250-22551296723863937675.2143.6
Andy Dalton-5851-175216309921136053905.4347.4
Vince Young-6252-25561268733874537505.1242.9
Steve Bono-7853-35621211663729632724.9444.8
Chris Chandler-9354-1451339320052455598994.9440.3
Stan Humphries-9555-2154235013351608565234.8940.6
Josh Freeman-11056-2857202011641372462345.3645.4
Doug Flutie-11057-346017519831214348334.9239.8
Kerry Collins-12558-11505991334739361166834.9842.4
Kent Graham-13559-67731148607682629264.8242.9
Derek Anderson-14260-56671436756914837534.9641
Jim Harbaugh-15961-2858284216841920982314.8942.8
Ryan Fitzpatrick-17262-3359259915551679082235.2949
Josh McCown-17463-69741258751834535914.7843
Sam Bradford-17664-5166176010321106554435.2749.2
Neil O'Donnell-18665-3561277116101844578014.8542.3
Matt Hasselbeck-21466-21534989301634372152095.0444.2
Jeff Hostetler-23567-6471189810951324651974.7539.2
Chad Pennington-23768-4765228715191670273644.8544.1
Erik Kramer-25269-6772194211361314354284.7841.3
Chad Henne-25770-7075186411101237258175.2447
Jim Everett-26671-5869232013741559765674.7842.1
Tommy Maddox-27572-138901017598700726574.4437.9
Rick Mirer-27973-7877202310781184350784.7142.9
Rodney Peete-28274-907816029371094743334.6239.6
Jay Cutler-30175-45643310202023937104305.1643.6
Dan Marino-30776-42633628216925975105194.8540.5
Kyle Boller-31077-115851432811826036964.5644.7
Byron Leftwich-36178-128881451847963638294.5239.7
Tim Couch-38579-11383171410251113147354.6242.5
Marc Bulger-39380-6070317119692281494724.8141.5
Ryan Tannehill-43081-202951072637720730574.842.4
Jim Kelly-47982-10982221713191589360324.5738
Mark Sanchez-52683-15492186710281209250714.9341.9
Warren Moon-56884-9179310618672141886914.6640.6
David Garrard-59185-13389215113361531263794.7741.7
Drew Bledsoe-72386-57686651379944211181994.7941.2
Kordell Stewart-75087-17394232113001458657474.4239.4
Troy Aikman-86788-114843660228025860104794.640.5
Eli Manning-90589-93805008292935345145274.9641.1
Steve McNair-91890-102814464269230735124884.6440.6
Scott Mitchell-93691-22896219512331493452334.2435
Mark Brunell-102292-115864485267231247123434.6239.5
Matt Ryan-118493-170933288209323472101914.8743.4
Jon Kitna-122694-140914358262329188119874.5741.1
Carson Palmer-124495-127874682293033739140554.841.7
Peyton Manning-134296-73768452553264964270584.8941.7

Next up is career Marginal Air Yards. “Per 500” is the rate of mAir per 500 attempts. In this category, Peyton Manning is king.

QuarterbackCareerRankPer500RankAttCompYardsAirYdsCom %Air/CAir/AAir %
Peyton Manning56081332184525532649643790665.5%6.854.4858.3
Ben Roethlisberger25392292243462749341051907663.3%6.944.3955.9
Kurt Warner23203290339942624319401761965.7%6.714.4155.2
Tony Romo19134253737752439295651618464.6%6.644.2954.7
Carson Palmer180151921446822930337391968462.6%6.724.258.3
Eli Manning177061772150082929353452081858.5%7.114.1658.9
Aaron Rodgers16547286528961910238681255466%6.574.3352.6
Mark Brunell158681771944852672312471890459.6%7.074.2160.5
Chris Chandler14939220933932005245551465659.1%7.314.3259.7
Philip Rivers1367101682340782629322211675664.5%6.374.1152
Trent Green1296111772036672228279501558660.8%74.2555.8
Drew Brees128912953667724466508602707565.9%6.06453.2
Dan Marino1276131762236282169259751545659.8%7.134.2659.5
Scott Mitchell12651428842195123314934970156.2%7.874.4265
Jeff George1227152041130071746216741293558.1%7.414.359.7
Steve Young1221162061029611982242661282666.9%6.474.3352.9
Jim Kelly12121727362217131915893986159.5%7.484.4562
Daunte Culpepper1188181861631992016241531354163%6.724.2356.1
Marc Bulger1152191821831711969228141334262.1%6.784.2158.5
Matt Schaub1127201871530201951232211248364.6%6.44.1353.8
Troy Aikman1124211542836602280258601538162.3%6.754.259.5
Steve Beuerlein1074222021226551568192761134559.1%7.244.2758.9
John Elway1048231622432271922235011362859.6%7.094.2258
Jay Cutler1030241562733102020239371350761%6.694.0856.4
Steve McNair1008251133344642692307351824760.3%6.784.0959.4
Matt Ryan918261403032882093234721328163.7%6.354.0456.6
Michael Vick876271452930171697214031247056.2%7.354.1358.3
David Garrard84328196132151133615312893362.1%6.694.1558.3
Jeff Hostetler69529183171898109513246804957.7%7.354.2460.8
Warren Moon61130983531061867214181272760.1%6.824.159.4
Randall Cunningham59931162251855110013487790159.3%7.184.2658.6
Tom Brady58932454465724170490672566463.5%6.153.9152.3
Jon Kitna56833654043582623291881720160.2%6.563.9558.9
Doug Flutie5513415726175198312143731056.1%7.444.1760.2
Jake Delhomme53935993427321618195061105559.2%6.834.0556.7
Chad Pennington53736117322287151916702933866.4%6.154.0855.9
Tommy Maddox48137237810175987007435058.8%7.274.2862.1
Stan Humphries4093887372350133516085956256.8%7.164.0759.4
Aaron Brooks40339683929631673202611188656.5%7.14.0158.7
Rodney Peete3834011931160293710947661458.5%7.064.1360.4
Drew Bledsoe30341234966513799442112601257.1%6.853.9158.8
Vinny Testaverde24242254847982801333431897958.4%6.783.9656.9
Gus Frerotte20643364628501561195461114154.8%7.143.9157
Vince Young20444813812687338745499557.8%6.813.9457.1
Erik Kramer1664543451942113613143771558.5%6.793.9758.7
Byron Leftwich14746514214518479636580758.4%6.86460.3
Cam Newton143474943147588211299575159.8%6.523.950.9
Ryan Tannehill11748544110726377207415059.4%6.513.8757.6
Jay Fiedler105493347160393611040626858.4%6.73.9156.8
Matt Hasselbeck575065049893016343721916360.5%6.353.8455.8
Jim Everett11512512320137415597903059.2%6.573.8957.9
Bobby Hebert-552-252144385810027566259.5%6.63.9256.5
Mark Sanchez-2753-7541867102812092702155.1%6.833.7658.1
Derek Anderson-3054-105514367569148539552.6%7.143.7659
Jake Plummer-3855-45343502484292531688457.1%6.83.8857.7
Andrew Luck-6456-275711976828196445257%6.533.7254.3
Rex Grossman-7057-275812967238639487255.8%6.743.7656.4
Charlie Batch-7358-285913267439016506056%6.813.8256.1
Jim Harbaugh-9359-165628421684192091097859.3%6.523.8657.2
Dave Krieg-9760-2860171299611814657358.2%6.63.8455.6
Tim Couch-13461-39661714102511131639659.8%6.243.7357.5
Kordell Stewart-13762-30612321130014586883956%6.83.8160.6
Josh Freeman-14263-35652020116413724749057.6%6.433.7154.6
Elvis Grbac-14664-31622395141116381906858.9%6.433.7955.4
Josh McCown-17965-717212587518345475459.7%6.333.7857
Neil O'Donnell-19266-356427711610184451064458.1%6.613.8457.7
Andy Dalton-21767-6671163099211360597060.9%6.023.6652.6
Brian Griese-31168-566727611733192181035862.8%5.983.7553.9
Matthew Stafford-34369-72732401142816922873559.5%6.123.6451.6
Joe Flacco-35070-566831031869215451131060.2%6.053.6452.5
Chad Henne-38771-104771864111012372655559.5%5.913.5253
Kerry Collins-38772-326359913347393612267855.9%6.783.7957.6
Jeff Garcia-44573-616936762264255371365561.6%6.033.7153.5
Trent Dilfer-46774-777430241692197211121356%6.633.7156.9
Dave Brown-46775-1518215538469729546654.5%6.463.5256.2
Rich Gannon-51976-787533132029231191229661.2%6.063.7153.2
Kent Graham-53577-2338411486076826390052.9%6.433.457.1
Kyle Orton-57578-135812124124114054741758.4%5.983.4952.8
Tony Banks-60779-130802329126315126839354.2%6.653.655.5
Steve Bono-61180-2528812116637296402454.7%6.073.3255.2
Brad Johnson-66181-797641642573281261528361.8%5.943.6754.3
Jeff Blake-69182-1127830921746207511109056.5%6.353.5953.4
Christian Ponder-76783-3799510136106436309660.2%5.083.0648.1
Mark Rypien-80684-3539311436236938374154.5%63.2753.9
Matt Cassel-81985-181832259133415049764759.1%5.733.3950.8
Rick Mirer-100586-248872023107811843676553.3%6.283.3457.1
Sam Bradford-102687-291901760103211065562258.6%5.453.1950.8
Kyle Boller-105488-3689414328118260456456.6%5.633.1955.3
Donovan McNabb-122389-1147953743170372761932359%6.13.651.8
Ryan Fitzpatrick-126290-243852599155516790856759.8%5.513.351
Boomer Esiason-132591-315922105121613656685857.8%5.643.2650.2
Jason Campbell-132692-271892448147616432786560.3%5.333.2147.9
Alex Smith-133193-248862686159917599879359.5%5.53.2750
Brett Favre-133594-6670101656300718383787262%6.013.7352.7
David Carr-134995-306912206131614026722259.7%5.493.2751.5
Joey Harrington-235596-464962538142414693747556.1%5.252.9550.9

This table puts mAir and mYAC side-by-side for comparison. The “Total Diff” column is mAir – mYAC while “Rate Diff” is mAir/500 attempts – mYAC/300 completions. For the Differential stats, please note that a negative number isn’t necessarily bad; it just means the QB contributed more to his team with YAC than he did with Air Yards.

QuarterbackAttmAirRankmYACRankAir/500RankYAC/300RankTot DiffRankRate DiffRank
Brett Favre10165-13359423381-667011112-367396-17779
Peyton Manning845256081-1342963321-7376694914042
Drew Brees67721289124901895363336799256242
Drew Bledsoe665130341-723862349-57681026218040
Tom Brady65725893218223454413110-123387-8668
Kerry Collins5991-38772-12558-3263-1150-26262-2157
Donovan McNabb5374-12238918522-114791755-307695-28989
Eli Manning500817706-9058917721-9380267532699
Matt Hasselbeck49895750-21466650-2153270442747
Vinny Testaverde4798242424681925485026-22661-2558
Carson Palmer468218015-12449519214-12787304523206
Mark Brunell448515868-10229217719-11586260842928
Steve McNair4464100825-9189011333-102811926921517
Jon Kitna435856833-1226946540-1409117941020520
Jake Plummer4350-38552745-453347-6555-854
Ben Roethlisberger43462539252717292258242012723514
Brad Johnson4164-66181-1548-7976-248-64676-7867
Philip Rivers407813671014185168231626-5054649
Kurt Warner3994232031023729031171112971817327
Tony Romo377519134389212537482815251520619
Jeff Garcia3676-4457357215-61697621-101784-13673
Trent Green366712961113716177201854-7556-855
Troy Aikman3660112421-8678815428-114841992826810
Dan Marino3628127613-3077617622-426315821321816
Chris Chandler339314939-93542209-145115861223415
Rich Gannon3313-5197673812-787510913-125788-18780
Jay Cutler3310103024-3017515627-456413311720021
Matt Ryan328891826-11849314030-17093210363097
John Elway3227104823340231622453257092910935
Daunte Culpepper319911881861014186169116578349539
Marc Bulger3171115219-3938018218-607015451424213
Warren Moon310661130-568849835-917911792019024
Joe Flacco3103-350707941-56681341-42969-6964
Jeff Blake3092-691828879-112781528-157890-26488
Trent Dilfer3024-467745342-7774944-51971-8669
Matt Schaub3020112720280261871543328462414330
Michael Vick301787627153361452927387232811834
Jeff George300712271539442041174611891919722
Aaron Brooks2963403391303868392339273424546
Steve Young296112211616204206102451-39967-3961
Aaron Rodgers2896165479878286515576673013132
Gus Frerotte28502064356416364610814-35865-7265
Jim Harbaugh2842-9359-15961-1656-285867481248
Neil O'Donnell2771-19266-18665-3564-3561-650050
Brian Griese2761-3116824228-56674234-55273-9870
Jake Delhomme2732539352672799344927272434944
Alex Smith2686-13319322229-248864235-155389-28990
Steve Beuerlein265510742292402021218409832218525
Ryan Fitzpatrick2599-126290-17262-24385-3359-109086-21082
Joey Harrington2538-23559620333-464964333-255894-50795
Jason Campbell2448-13269274511-271891519-207192-42293
Matthew Stafford2401-3436936522-72737720-70877-14876
Elvis Grbac2395-1466420432-31624331-35164-7466
Stan Humphries235040938-95558737-21545053710837
Tony Banks2329-6077939620-130809415-100383-22484
Kordell Stewart2321-13762-75087-3061-173946123314331
Jim Everett23201151-26671251-5869277416043
Chad Pennington228753736-2376811732-47657732616428
Matt Cassel2259-8198520631-181834629-102585-22885
Jim Kelly2217121217-479822736-109821691113823
David Carr2206-13499530624-306917022-165591-37591
Scott Mitchell2195126514-936912884-22896220155161
David Garrard215184328-5918519613-133891433163295
Kyle Orton2124-575784843-135811242-62475-14775
Boomer Esiason2105-13259178410-315921933-210993-50896
Rick Mirer2023-100586-27973-24887-7877-72678-17178
Josh Freeman2020-14263-11056-3565-2857-3353-753
Erik Kramer194216645-252694345-67724184010936
Jeff Hostetler189869529-2356718317-64719292324712
Mark Sanchez1867-2753-52683-754-154924993814629
Chad Henne1864-38771-25770-10477-7075-12958-3459
Randall Cunningham185559931114391622531374863913133
Sam Bradford1760-102687-17664-29190-5166-84981-24086
Doug Flutie175155134-1105715726-34606613219123
Tim Couch1714-13461-38579-3966-11383251467341
Dave Krieg1712-976029825-28609017-39566-11872
Andy Dalton1630-21767-5851-6671-1752-15959-4962
Jay Fiedler1603105491363733474430-3252-1156
Rodney Peete160238340-2827411931-90786653121018
Dave Brown1553-46775-1549-15182-549-45270-14574
Cam Newton1475143477031349432392-56074-19081
Byron Leftwich145114746-361785142-128885073617826
Bobby Hebert1443-55217834-2526223-18360-6463
Derek Anderson1436-3054-14260-1055-5667112474645
Kyle Boller1432-105488-31077-36894-11585-74479-25387
Charlie Batch1326-735821730-28598818-29063-11571
Rex Grossman1296-7057-5250-2758-2255-1851-652
Vince Young126820444-62528138-25562664510638
Josh McCown1258-17965-17463-7172-6974-549-251
Steve Bono1211-61180-7853-25288-3562-53372-21783
Andrew Luck1197-64562246-27571043-8657-3660
Kent Graham1148-53577-13559-23384-6773-40068-16677
Mark Rypien1143-8068416935-353938119-97582-43494
Ryan Tannehill107211748-430815441-202955463525711
Tommy Maddox101748137-275722378-13890756273744
Christian Ponder1013-767831747-37995845-78480-38792

This final table presents a quick comparison of the HoF and potential HoF quarterbacks covered in my study. I purposely excluded Dan Marino, John Elway, and Warren Moon, because a significant portion of their careers came before 1992 when this data started being tracked.

QuarterbackAttAir/500RankYAC/300RankRate DiffRank
Peyton Manning84523321-7394041
Jim Kelly22172735-109113822
Eli Manning50081777-93102693
Troy Aikman36601549-114122684
Ben Roethlisberger434629225872355
Kurt Warner3994290311751736
Aaron Rodgers2896286415531317
Drew Brees67729510338628
Philip Rivers40781688162269
Steve Young296120662451-3910
Tom Brady657245111314-8611
Brett Favre10165-66121116-17712

The first thing that hits me is the lack of correlation between Air Yards and YAC among the upper crust QB’s, indicating a variety of different styles. Peyton, Eli, Aikman, and Kelly have done all their damage with high air yardage, coming at the expense of YAC production. Brady and Favre were successful by gobbling up YAC at the expense of gaining much through the air. Young, Warner, Rodgers, and Rivers have displayed an impressive proclivity for producing high air yards and YAC, while sacrificing sacks (Young, Rodgers) or interceptions (Warner). At least from a statistical perspective, Philip Rivers has no real weaknesses in his game, which makes him a clear HoF’er in my book. Roethlisberger has posted very high air yardage and above average YAC, but has lost significant value with his terrible sack rate. Brees has been moderately above average with both air yards and YAC, but his rates look more impressive in the context of his annual 650+ attempt seasons. What stands out to you guys?

  • Michael

    Chase, I’m curious if the YAC stat for QB’s is also available for the postseason during this timeframe?