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The Sam Bradford Index

Sneak peak at the average length of a Bradford completion

You may have heard that Sam Bradford set the completion percentage record in 2016 by completing 71.6% of his passes.

What you may not have heard: Bradford also ranked last in the league in passing yards gained per completion, which makes his record-breaking performance a somewhat hollow achievement. Bradford is the fifth quarterback in the Super Bowl era to rank 1st in completion percentage and last in yards per completion, joining David Carr (HOU 2006), Eric Hipple (DET 1986), Joe Montana (SFO 1980) in his first year as a starter, and Sonny Jurgensen (WAS 1969). In general, things didn’t work out well for those quarterbacks:  Carr posted a 6-10 record in 2006, while Hipple went 3-7, and Montana went 2-5.  Bradford went 7-8 last season, meaning only Jurgensen (7-5-2) posted a winning record of that bunch (and Washington had a negative points differential and faced a very easy schedule that year).

Expand the list to finishing 1st or 2nd in completion percentage and last or 2nd-to-last in yards per completion, and you bring in four more quarterbacks: Chad Pennington (NYJ 2007, 2nd in both), Joe Montana (SFO 1981, 1st in comp%, 2nd-to-last in YPC), Fran Tarkenton (MIN 1977, 1st, 2nd) and Len Dawson (KAN 1972, 2nd in comp%, last in YPC).  The results there were mixed: Pennington went 1-7, while Montana went 13-3, Tarkenton went 6-3, and Dawson went 7-5.  It is worth pointing out that Montana and Tarkenton both had above-average Y/A ratios that year: in other words, having a high completion percentage is great, but only if it doesn’t come at the expense of your yards per completion average.

How much of a checkdown artist was Bradford last year? He finished 1.95 standard deviations above average in completion percentage last year among qualifying passers, a metric commonly referred to as a Z-score. He also finished 1.82 standard deviations below average in yards per completion. If you take his Z-Score in completion percentage (+1.95), and subtract his Z-Score in yards per completion (-1.82), you get a result of +3.77.

That may not mean much in the abstract, but it ranks as the 3rd most extreme result in the Super Bowl era, behind only Jurgensen 69 and Carr 06. The table below shows the top 200 most extreme checkdown artists — by this metric — since 1966:

RkPlayerTeamYearCmp%Yd/CmpZ-Score (Cmp)Z-Score (Y/C)Total
1Sonny JurgensenWAS196962%11.32.78-1.774.55
2David CarrHOU200668.3%9.22.01-2.024.03
3Sam BradfordMIN201671.6%9.81.95-1.823.77
4Eric HippleDET198663%10.01.72-2.043.76
5Ken AndersonCIN198270.6%11.42.76-0.913.67
6Kelly HolcombCLE200363.9%9.31.19-2.483.67
7Joe MontanaSFO198064.5%10.21.84-1.783.62
8Joe MontanaSFO198766.8%11.52.45-1.133.59
9Chad PenningtonNYJ200768.8%9.91.68-1.863.54
10Fran TarkentonMIN197860.3%10.11.46-1.963.43
11Fran TarkentonMIN197564.2%11.02.27-1.083.35
12Drew BreesNOR201068.1%10.31.81-1.483.29
13Steve YoungSFO199566.9%10.71.94-1.343.28
14Kelly HolcombBUF200567.4%9.71.57-1.633.20
15Steve YoungSFO199667.7%11.32.69-0.483.16
16Joe MontanaSFO198163.7%11.51.97-1.193.16
17Matt RyanATL201367.4%10.31.56-1.583.14
18Virgil CarterCIN197162.2%11.81.78-1.243.02
19Steve BartkowskiATL198467.3%11.92.16-0.853.01
20Drew BreesNOR200767.5%10.11.36-1.602.96
21Ken StablerHOU198064.1%10.91.76-1.202.95
22Troy AikmanDAL199663.7%10.61.59-1.352.93
23Len DawsonKAN197257.4%10.51.19-1.742.93
24Fran TarkentonMIN197760.1%11.21.71-1.222.92
25Greg LandryDET197756.3%10.10.86-2.042.90
26Shane MatthewsCHI199960.7%9.91.11-1.792.90
27Joe MontanaSFO198970.2%
28Kirk CousinsWAS201569.8%11.01.93-0.872.80
29Roman GabrielPHI197457.1%9.70.68-2.112.79
30Rich GannonOAK200165.8%10.61.75-1.022.76
31Brett FavreGNB199264.1%10.71.23-1.532.76
32Drew BreesNOR201171.2%11.72.37-0.382.75
33Ken AndersonCIN198366.7%11.81.90-0.812.72
34Norm SneadNYG197260.3%11.81.79-0.932.72
35Steve DeBergSFO197960%10.51.24-1.462.70
36Ryan FitzpatrickCIN200859.4%8.6-0.44-3.122.68
37Joe MontanaSFO198561.3%12.11.86-0.822.68
38Peyton ManningIND201066.3%10.41.34-1.332.67
39Dave KriegSEA199165.6%11.11.77-0.902.67
40Christian PonderMIN201262.1%9.80.34-2.322.66
41Kordell StewartPIT199958.2%9.20.25-2.402.65
42Fran TarkentonNYG197158.5%11.41.11-1.542.65
43Joe TheismannWAS198555.5%10.60.22-2.422.64
44Matt RyanATL201268.6%11.21.94-0.632.57
45Charlie FryeCLE200664.3%9.71.06-1.512.57
46Jeff GeorgeIND199160.2%10.00.53-2.022.55
47Bob GrieseMIA197863%12.12.06-0.492.55
48Archie ManningNOR197861.8%11.71.79-0.752.54
49Brett FavreNYJ200865.7%10.11.09-1.452.54
50Dave KriegCHI199659.9%10.10.58-1.942.53
51Gary HuffCHI197555.6%9.50.45-2.052.51
52Drew BreesNOR201469.2%10.91.71-0.802.50
53Matthew StaffordDET201567.2%10.71.20-1.252.45
54Sonny JurgensenWAS197059.9%11.71.57-0.842.40
55Ken AndersonCIN197464.9%12.52.34-0.062.40
56Jim HarbaughIND199761.2%10.91.29-1.112.40
57Ryan TannehillMIA201466.4%10.30.97-1.412.38
58Danny WhiteDAL198559.3%11.81.30-1.082.38
59Steve WalshCHI199460.6%10.00.55-1.832.37
60Ken AndersonCIN197256.8%11.21.08-1.282.35
61Steve YoungSFO199767.7%
62Archie ManningNOR198157.8%10.80.61-1.722.33
63Troy AikmanDAL199369.1%11.42.25-0.062.32
64Mike LivingstonKAN197854.8%9.90.24-2.072.31
65Sonny JurgensenWAS196857.2%11.91.19-1.092.29
66Joe MontanaSFO198364.5%11.81.45-0.822.27
67Jay CutlerCHI201466%10.30.83-1.432.26
68Josh FreemanTAM201162.8%10.40.64-1.632.26
69Greg LandryBAL197959.1%10.91.03-1.232.26
70Bobby HebertNOR198962.9%12.11.49-0.772.25
71Ken O'BrienNYJ198960.4%11.60.90-1.352.25
72Brian GrieseTAM200469.3%11.31.83-0.412.25
73Steve BartkowskiATL198363.4%11.61.23-1.012.24
74Ken AndersonCIN198060.4%10.70.86-1.372.23
75Len DawsonKAN196757.7%12.91.56-0.662.22
76Roman GabrielRAM196954.4%11.70.73-1.492.22
77Warren MoonHOU199264.7%11.31.35-0.862.21
78Joe MontanaSFO198662.2%11.71.54-0.672.21
79Ken StablerOAK197362.7%12.31.89-0.302.19
80John BrodieSFO196955.9%12.41.14-1.052.18
81Jon KitnaSEA200062%10.30.79-1.402.18
82Steve BartkowskiATL198263.4%11.51.29-0.882.17
83Jim KellyBUF198759.7%11.20.78-1.392.17
84Randy WrightGNB198857.8%10.60.60-1.572.17
85Brad JohnsonMIN199760.8%11.01.20-0.962.16
86Neil O'DonnellCIN199861.8%10.51.10-1.052.15
87Cody CarlsonHOU199265.6%11.51.53-0.602.13
88Rich GannonMIN199159.6%10.30.40-1.732.13
89Chris ChandlerHOU199563.2%10.91.08-1.052.13
90Troy AikmanDAL199165.3%11.61.70-0.412.11
91Dan FoutsSDG198462.5%11.81.14-0.972.11
92Ken AndersonCIN198463.6%12.01.37-0.732.11
93Patrick RamseyWAS200462.1%9.90.32-1.782.10
94Sonny JurgensenWAS196658.3%12.61.31-0.782.09
95Philip RiversSDG201264.1%10.70.84-1.252.09
96Dan FoutsSDG197962.6%12.31.82-0.262.08
97Peyton ManningIND200266.3%10.71.37-0.722.08
98Joe MontanaSFO199061.7%12.31.79-0.292.08
99Roman GabrielRAM196654.7%11.70.71-1.372.08
100Joe FlaccoBAL201664.9%9.90.35-1.732.08
101Peyton ManningIND200866.8%10.81.36-0.722.08
102Dieter BrockRAM198559.7%12.21.41-0.662.07
103Brad JohnsonTAM200160.8%10.00.38-1.692.07
104Anthony WrightBAL200561.7%9.60.36-1.712.07
105Brett FavreGNB200365.4%10.91.55-0.512.07
106Ken AndersonCIN198162.6%12.51.72-0.342.07
107Tom BradyNWE200163.9%10.81.24-0.822.06
108Bob BerryATL197058%11.61.18-0.882.06
109Terry BradshawPIT197154.4%11.10.34-1.712.05
110Fran TarkentonMIN197661.9%11.61.38-0.672.05
111Jeff HostetlerOAK199660.2%10.50.65-1.382.04
112Peyton ManningIND200367%11.31.95-0.092.03
113Peyton ManningDEN201268.6%11.61.94-0.072.01
114Drew BreesNOR201670%11.11.57-0.422.00
115Ken StablerOAK197961%11.91.47-0.532.00
116Johnny UnitasBAL196758.5%13.41.73-0.261.99
117Drew BreesNOR201368.6%11.61.86-0.111.97
118Joe FergusonBUF198455.5%10.4-0.37-2.341.97
119Carson PalmerCIN200567.8%11.11.65-0.311.97
120Jim HarbaughCHI199361.5%10.00.67-1.291.96
121Tom BradyNWE200262.1%10.10.51-1.441.96
122Jim KellyBUF199063.3%12.92.320.371.94
123Joe FlaccoBAL201564.4%10.50.40-1.541.94
124Brett FavreGNB199462.4%10.70.86-1.081.94
125Steve DeBergDEN198258.7%10.70.35-1.591.94
126Steve DeBergTAM198460.5%11.50.70-1.231.93
127Jim KellyBUF199463.6%10.91.09-0.831.91
128Sonny JurgensenWAS196756.7%13.01.35-0.561.91
129Jim ZornSEA198159.4%11.80.99-0.901.90
130Len DawsonKAN197458.7%11.41.02-0.871.89
131Bernie KosarCLE198959.1%11.70.59-1.301.89
132John BrodieSFO196857.9%12.91.33-0.561.89
133Dan PastoriniHOU197353.1%9.6-0.42-2.311.89
134Ray LucasNYJ199959.2%10.40.59-1.291.88
135Philip RiversSDG201369.5%
136Billy KilmerNOR197057%11.50.98-0.901.88
137Jim McMahonMIN199360.4%9.80.44-1.441.88
138Ken StablerNOR198261.9%11.51.00-0.881.87
139Chad PenningtonNYJ200268.9%11.31.880.021.87
140Troy AikmanDAL199263.8%11.41.18-0.681.86
141Bobby HebertNOR198858.6%11.30.75-1.101.85
142Norm SneadPHI196852.2%10.90.27-1.581.85
143Ken O'BrienNYJ198759.5%11.50.75-1.101.85
144Jeff GarciaSFO200262.1%10.20.52-1.321.85
145Drew BreesNOR201568.3%11.41.50-0.351.84
146Bobby HebertATL199660.2%10.70.66-1.151.81
147Brian GrieseDEN200161%10.30.42-1.391.81
148Dan MarinoMIA198559.3%12.31.28-0.531.81
149Jeff HostetlerNYG199162.8%11.41.13-0.671.80
150Philip RiversSDG201566.1%11.00.89-0.901.79
151Brian GrieseDEN200266.7%11.01.45-0.331.78
152Tony EasonNWE198661.6%12.11.39-0.391.78
153Matt RyanATL201062.5%10.40.37-1.411.78
154Danny WhiteDAL198362.7%11.91.08-0.701.77
155Chad PenningtonNYJ200664.5%10.71.12-0.661.77
156Jim EverettNOR199464.1%11.11.17-0.601.77
157John BrodieSFO196654.3%12.10.65-1.111.76
158David CarrHOU200560.5%9.70.12-1.641.76
159Rich GannonOAK200267.6%11.21.63-0.131.76
160Sam BradfordPHI201565%10.80.58-1.171.75
161Fran TarkentonMIN197361.7%12.51.64-0.111.75
162Aaron RodgersGNB201267.2%11.61.60-0.151.75
163Daunte CulpepperMIN200164.2%11.11.32-0.431.74
164Steve McNairBAL200663%10.30.76-0.981.74
165Gary CuozzoNOR196751.5%11.70.25-1.491.74
166Ken O'BrienNYJ198662.2%12.31.54-0.201.74
167Alex SmithKAN201667.1%10.70.88-0.851.73
168Steve YoungSFO199470.3%
169Brad JohnsonMIN200562.6%10.20.55-1.141.70
170Archie ManningNOR197755.1%11.40.61-1.091.69
171Dave KriegSEA198760.5%12.00.99-0.701.69
172Kent GrahamNYG199959%10.60.54-1.131.67
173Fran TarkentonMIN197256.9%12.31.09-0.581.67
174Neil LomaxSTL198657%10.80.24-1.421.67
175Ryan FitzpatrickBUF201162%10.90.48-1.181.66
176Chad PenningtonNYJ200465.4%11.01.01-0.651.66
177Richard ToddNYJ198359.5%11.30.41-1.241.65
178Joe NamathNYJ197649.6%9.6-0.51-2.151.65
179Bernie KosarCLE199162.1%11.40.98-0.671.65
180Bert JonesBAL197757%12.01.02-0.621.64
181Sam BradfordSTL201060%9.9-0.28-1.911.63
182Joey HarringtonDET200355.8%9.3-0.84-2.471.63
183Steve DeBergSFO198057.9%10.70.28-1.351.63
184Bob GrieseMIA197758.6%12.51.39-0.241.62
185Peyton ManningIND200968.8%11.51.50-0.111.62
186Bernie KosarCLE198860.2%12.11.07-0.541.61
187Brad JohnsonWAS200062.5%11.00.90-0.701.61
188Steve FullerKAN197954.1%10.2-0.10-1.701.60
189Dave KriegSEA198957.3%11.60.18-1.411.59
190Dan PastoriniHOU197456.7%11.20.59-1.001.59
191Rodney PeeteDET199362.3%10.60.83-0.751.58
192Bart StarrGNB196662.2%14.51.970.401.58
193Bill MunsonDET197456.8%11.30.63-0.951.57
194Kent NixPIT196750.7%11.70.08-1.491.56
195Jon KitnaDAL201065.7%11.31.20-0.371.56
196Chad PenningtonMIA200867.4%11.41.50-0.061.56
197Ken O'BrienNYJ198855.7%10.90.20-1.361.56
198Gary DanielsonDET197856.7%11.50.65-0.901.56
199Alex SmithKAN201465.3%10.80.66-0.891.55
200Kyle OrtonBUF201464.2%10.50.36-1.191.55

As always, please leave your thoughts in the comments. Tomorrow, we’ll look at the opposite result: any guesses as to the leaders in that category?

  • Anders

    Its extreme, but consider the amount of times HoF QBs (or should/would be) are in the top 20, tells you that you can list it as horrible bad to have the combo without looking at other things as well.

    • Well remember, this thing adds one good thing and one bad thing, and you can make the top of the list by being really, really good at the one good thing. Jurgensen 69, Anderson 82, Montana 87, Young 96, Tarkenton 75 all are at +2.25 in the Z-SCore for CMP.

      • sacramento gold miners

        Ken Anderson’s high completion percentage in 1982 is often cited in his HOF case, so it’s good see a reality check here. That’s what I remember from that season, along with the compiling of numbers in the shocking playoff rout by the New York Jets. I forget whether the Bengals or Dolphins were the number one seed, but the perception was how Cincinnati was the safe bet to repeat as AFC Champs.

        • JeremyDeShetler

          In 1982, neither. The LA Raiders (8-1) were the top seed. Miami & Cincy were 2 & 3 at 7-2. Miami got the better seed bc of better conference record (6-1 vs 6-2). Jets were the 6 seed, fyi.

  • Four Touchdowns

    Cian Fahey’s assessment of Bradford over the years has really changed my perception of him. I wonder how many potential elite QBs have been kept from gaining elite stats by weak offensive casts.

    • sacramento gold miners

      Archie Manning would be the poster child for the situation you’re describing. Sam Bradford was the best of a very weak QB crop in 2010, and is 29 years old already. Don’t know if he’ll ever develop into the type of player you expect as the number one overall selection. If he doesn’t progress in Minnesota, they’ll move on with someone else, and that would mark three organizations which have parted ways with Bradford.

      • robert franklin stroud

        He’s got 11 more years to reach Brady levels.

    • Wolverine

      He feels the same way about Ryan Tannenhill.

      I personally take Cian Fahey’s opinion with a grain of salt. I feel like he has his favorites/not favorites, and subconsciously filters out data that doesn’t fit with his views.

    • Ramsey Francis

      For better or worse, at least Fahey watches every play on the All-22 lots of times. He’s a grinder. Now, no one needs to take anyone else’s word if they don’t want to, but you have to credit people who watch the film and don’t look at stats alone. There is a place for metrics, but without context they can be deceiving.

      If it’s 3rd and 9 and opposing team is playing quarters or 3-deep found under and they are near the sticks in depth, what is a QB supposed to do, huck it up and get it picked? Best chance is often hitting the short receiver and him using his ability to made a man miss and pick up a first down.

      With Montana, before they got Wendell Tyler and Roger Craig, the 49ers run game was the pass game, so a short completion on 1st down put them in a 2nd and 5. That’s as good as a run.

      With Bradford, terrible lines whole career, except in Philly in 2015 and even then was down year for Peters and a couple of others (Johnson). Bad WRs with 1 or 2 exeptions. Lots of drops. Especially in 2010-2011 StL and 2015 Philly.

      To have a deep passing game you need (1) QB who can throw deep and accurately (2) a line than can pass protect for 7-step drops and (3) receivers who can separate and (4) receivers who can catch downfield and won’t drop or bobble. Cannot look at yards per completion and then watch Montana who would probe 1st half and then take some killer shots, once he got Rice it was amazing to see how well those shots worked.

      The metics hate Bradford, but coaches see him and give #1 picks for him because they know his skill set can work when he has what others have, run game, blocking, and WRs who can get open an catch. All QBs need that. But, I don;t need to defend him and Montana needs no defending…but scheme and tools are kind of a big deal

      I do like stats and metics, but I like the art of the game more and Fahey’s views, though I don;t agree 100% (I don’t like it when he dumps on QBs) he is giving it a fair shot by seeing every play multiple times.

      • Four Touchdowns

        My feelings exactly.

        I mean, how many times have we seen a QB have a “bad game” but know it wasn’t his fault?

        • sacramento gold miners

          Yes, a QB can have a game which is below his standards in the box score, but still make those key plays I like to mention, which gets his team across the finish line. Conversely, a QB can have a strong game statistically, but not really have a good game on the field. Hitting those third down passes for 8 yards on 3rd and ten to receivers not likely to get the additional yardage don’t extend drives.

          We also have to remember about Joe Montana, he could scramble for the first down in those situations(early in his career), and he rarely completed a third down pass attempt out of bounds, not giving his receiver a chance to pick up the necessary yardage. Schemes and tools are great, but you still need the trigger-man to execute the plays, and that’s easier said than done.

      • Wolverine

        please don’t take my post below to mean I think Fahey is an idiot. To the contrary, I think he’s very knowledgeable about football. I also agree film study is the only way to parse out how much of a QB’s stats (good or bad) are due to himself vs his teammates. The thing with Fahey is, his views often diverge with other people I respect who study film (Greg Cosell for instance). I also, like you, sometimes don’t like the tone of his criticisms of quarterbacks he doesn’t like (I often find it rude and priggish….I would prefer some professional detachment).

      • Student

        I used to like Cian, but I agree with the other poster who mentions that he seems to latch onto players. He is also so dismissive of stats. Film study is useful and important, but at some point there needs to be production and production can be accounted for with stats. By ANY/A, Bradford has had 2 above average seasons. He has *never* had an above average Y/A. At what point does his supporting cast stop being an excuse?

        • John Souba

          Well, for one thing lets look at what his teams have been exactly.

          Drafted in 2010 by the St.Louis Rams, a team that had the number one overall pick that year due to having a 1-15 record the year previously. That team then takes on Jeff Fisher (lol) as his head coach. He takes that 2010-2011 team to 7-9 his rookie year. Nice improvement and nothing to sniff at.

          But then Jeff Fisher does Jeff Fisher things and goes “hey we got our QB, no need to address the offense anymore* and goes and uses all of his future draft capital to build up the Greg Williams schemed defense grabbing guys like Aaron Donald to man it. On a roster that had one of the worst receiving corps and offensive lines in football, coached by Jeff Fisher.

          Sam does his best with his shitty supporting cast, but midway through his rookie contract he gets hurt. Tears his ACL, and his team then bombs around him.

          Fisher and the coaching staff for the Rams say “Sam, we really need you. Were rushing you back earlier then we should and were going to gamble on your health” and they bring him back. Surprise, surprise, he tears the same ACL *again* and suddenly his career was put on pause by nearly two full seasons, stunting his development temporarily, and making his statline look way worse then he plays.

          Because of Fisher’s own idiocy and the whole silliness in their front office, the Rams opt to move on from Sam, trading him to the Eagles for a pick and Nick Foles.

          Now he is under Eagles, who, even with having a Receiver corp that lead the league in drops and shitty hands and a new Chip Kelly offense, he actually does pretty decent. PFF score of 85.2, or a low probowl quality performance.

          But then Chip Kelly gets fired, Teddy Bridgewater gets hurt and he is suddenly traded to the Vikings two weeks less then the season start.

          This is starting to look like a good situation. First time fully healthy in years, receivers who can actually catch a goddamn ball… Only his new team’s offensive line is snake bitten beyond belief, to the tune of eight different Tackles, and over twelve different offensive line combinations of personnel just to patch what was already a subpar line into a historically bad one.

          And through *all* this adversity, he still lead the team to a non-losing record, and putting up a very respectable performance for a QB.

          Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention? This is the first season in his six active NFL seasons (not from injury, basically) that he has had the same offensive coordinator in three years. The first *hint* of consistency.

          And people wonder why he hasn’t performed up to where he was drafted.

  • Richie

    Wild guesses for the opposite: Ken Stabler, Daryle Lamonica, Randall Cunningham, Ben Roethlisberger.

    • eag97a

      You can include Joe Namath in all probablility

      • Yes, though not as much as you might think.

        • eag97a

          So do I make your trivia team then? 🙂

    • Tom

      I’m thinking Bradshaw.

      • I want you on my trivia team.

        • Tom

          Ha. Swear I didn’t look anything up…just thought of all those Super Bowl bombs to Swann and Stallworth, maybe the same type of thing happened in the regular season. Just a guess.

          • sacramento gold miners

            Swann and Stallworth were the type of receivers which could excel in any type of pattern, and were dangerous after the catch. If you didn’t see Swann live, the highlights give the impression he was just a graceful receiver on those long passes. But the reality was, Swann ran those short routes, and took a beating, while also picking up first downs on plenty of bubble screens. Toughness was an underrated part of his game, and Swann was an excellent punt returner in his rookie season.

            • Tom

              Yeah, I saw some show (documentary, whatever) and his teammates were saying Swann was ridiculously tough and constantly took shots…

    • I’d throw in Jay Schroeder as a dark horse candidate.

      • I really want you on my trivia team.

    • Shockingly, no to both Raiders QBs and Cunningham. Roethlisberger ’05 does make it.

      • Richie

        Dang it. Only 1 of 4. I don’t make your trivia team.

        • garymrosen

          I seem to recall that Stabler was thought of as a more “horizontal” passer than Lamonica. Supposedly that is why it took him a while to establish himself as starter because he did not fit the Al Davis ideal as much as Lamonica did. It was a long time ago though, don’t quote me :^).

          • sacramento gold miners

            You are 100% correct, but Stabler’s accuracy was vastly superior to Lamonica’s. I also seem to remember Lamonica having some kind of arm trouble late in his career with Oakland.

          • Yep. Check back tomorrow!

  • In the decade of the ’80s, Joe Montana completed 63.9% of his passes. There were 34 passers who had at least 1500 pass attempts in the ’80s. Among them, Ken Anderson completed 64.1% of his passes, and NO OTHER QB COMPLETED EVEN 60% of their passes.

    OTOH, Montana also ranked 4th from the bottom in YPC at 11.999. Joe Ferguson, Ken Anderson, and Ken O’Brien were the only ones lower.

    Now, this obviously worked for Montana and the 49ers. But that may be a function of era, right? I mean, teams ran way too often, so maybe just by throwing a ton the 49ers had a huge advantage. Also, and this seems pretty important, Montana ranked 5th in Y/A and 2nd in AY/A. So maybe it’s not so much that Montana was a high cmp%/low YPC guy, but that Montana was awesome (he was at 7.54 AY/A, Boomer at 7.64 on half as many attempts, and only Marino and Fouts above 6.9 AY/A) and happened to just get there by completing a ton of short passes.

  • LightsOut85

    Fun fact (according to PFF): Bradford also had the highest accuracy% on passes 20 yards or further down the field. (And his completion% on “deep” (15+) passes was 6th best (min 50 attempts) according to the play-by-play. It’ll be interesting to see if an improved OL will result in more mid/deep shots this season. Even if it doesn’t, I think he’s poised to step into the top rung of QBs this season (providing the added talent pans out).

    • Do we know how often he was throwing deep?

      • LightsOut85

        Not often (by the PBP 15+ measure). I’ve got him at 14.2%, which was 29th of 30 qualifying QBs. Alex Smith (13.3) was 30th.

        • In that case, it’s fair to wonder if he’s only throwing deep in situations where it’s really favorable to do that.

          • LightsOut85

            According to this PFF article from late October (https://www.profootballfocus.com/pro-top-five-nfl-qbs-under-pressure/), Bradford was, then, being pressured at the 5th highest rate and the team had the fastest time-to-sack allowed. This jives with what I noticed when I was able to catch MIN games (out here in CA) – he definitely didn’t have many chances to let deeper plays develop.

  • Is there a plan to post a career ranking for this index?

    • There was not, but not a bad idea!

  • robert franklin stroud

    Yards per attempt would seem more relevant.

    • Relevant to…?

      • garymrosen

        Relevant to winning football games. IOW, if you’re completion percentage is high enough to offset your low YPC to give you good YPA (e. g. Montana) then it’s not much more than a statistical curiosity. Though it does beg the question of whether completion percentage is overrated in the traditional QBR formula(YPA, completion %, INT %, TD %). I have tended to look at YPC as a rough measure of arm strength though as always you have to adjust for era, situation, teammates etc.

        • Sure. But the point of this was to look at style, not winning football games.

      • garymrosen

        I should add that I do think completion % does have some value by itself. Maybe I’m thinking of the old saw from Woody Hayes, “Three things can happen when you throw the ball and two of them are bad”. How much value is another question.

  • SurfinUSA

    So, let’s read another piss-ant sportswriter put out another negative story on Sam Bradford. He’s all over Bradford for averaging less than a half foot from Drew Bree’s in 2010. This a big stew over not a lot. Quibbling just to file a column copy to justify the writer’s existence. There are too many mutts trying to be sportswriters.

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  • Andy Trimble

    I’d love to see team w-l records included in this. Facinating.

    I’ll take Jim Hart, Daryl Lamonica, Don Meredith, Elway, and Marino’s 48 TD year