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Through 15 weeks, the league-wide Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt average is 5.99, representing a small turn down from the high water marks of the past few seasons.

Tom Brady is second in the NFL in ANY/A at 7.72, just a hair behind Drew Brees (7.75). But because Brady has 52 more dropbacks than Brees this season, that makes Brady the better MVP candidate. Brady leads the NFL in passing value added, which is simply ANY/A minus league average ANY/A, with that difference multiplied by number of dropbacks. The table below shows the amount of passing value added by the 35 quarterbacks this season with 200 pass attempts.

RkQuarterbackTmAttPass YdTDIntSkYdsANYDBANY/AValue
1Tom BradyNWE51641632873118342255477.72952
2Drew BreesNOR47838542171712138384957.75876
3Alex SmithKAN46637382553420438095007.62817
4Jared GoffLAR43935032472415735114637.58741
5Carson WentzPHI44032963372816234794687.43679
6Philip RiversLAC498383824101711337555157.29674
7Case KeenumMIN42732192071711231924447.19536
8Matthew StaffordDET50139202594325537605446.91505
9Ben RoethlisbergerPIT532402526142113937765536.83467
10Matt RyanATL417327817111712330004346.91403
11Kirk CousinsWAS46636362493832033915046.73376
12Blake BortlesJAX43931471982110930584606.65306
13Russell WilsonSEA503366930113726335115406.50280
14Deshaun WatsonHOU20416991981911616032237.19269
15Jameis WinstonTAM32924751482313822573526.41151
16Derek CarrOAK45831132010178629774756.27135
17Dak PrescottDAL426296421112715127384536.0428
18Josh McCownNYJ39729261893926426174366.008
19Aaron RodgersGNB23816751662216815572605.991
20Carson PalmerARI2671978972215016932895.86-36
21Andy DaltonCIN411286021113523025554465.73-113
22Cam NewtonCAR433296221123120326394645.69-137
23Tyrod TaylorBUF35523141343619921953915.61-144
24Marcus MariotaTEN393282312142314922844165.49-205
25Brian Hoyer2TM2081282441611210702244.78-270
26Mitch TrubiskyCHI2711822772515714902965.03-281
27Eli ManningNYG498307318102716528185255.37-323
28C.J. BeathardSFO2241430461914110992434.52-355
29Jacoby BrissettIND41127691174928323914605.20-361
30Tom SavageHOU2231412562115910832444.44-377
31Brett HundleyGNB2521534882415311812764.28-470
32Jay CutlerMIA389237418142015419504094.77-497
33Trevor SiemianDEN349228512143322016753824.38-611
34Joe FlaccoBAL464270114122517922624894.63-664
35DeShone KizerCLE41023989193118015434413.50-1096

Brees may wind up winning the ANY/A crown, but if so, it won’t be a particularly impressive one. In the last 20 years, just once has the ANY/A winner been less than 2.00 ANY/A above average, and Brees — currently +1.76 above league-average — would finish with the second lowest ANY/A above average of any winner since the merger. The current record-holder in that category? Dan Marino in 1996, who averaged 6.65 ANY/A with a league average of 5.14, finishing at +1.51 in a hotly contested race.

The table below shows the ANY/A leader (or AY/A, for seasons pre-1969) in each league and in each season since the merger. To make sorting/searching easier, I have added a category called “post-m” or “pre-m” to represent seasons both before and after the 1970 AFL/NFL merger.

YearLgTmQuarterbackAgeANY/ALg AvgDiffPre/Post
2017NFLnorDrew Brees387.755.991.76post-m
2016NFLatlMatt Ryan319.036.222.81post-m
2015NFLcrdCarson Palmer368.416.262.14post-m
2014NFLgnbAaron Rodgers318.656.142.52post-m
2013NFLphiNick Foles249.185.873.31post-m
2012NFLdenPeyton Manning367.895.931.96post-m
2011NFLgnbAaron Rodgers289.395.903.49post-m
2010NFLnweTom Brady338.255.732.52post-m
2009NFLnorDrew Brees308.315.652.66post-m
2008NFLsdgPhilip Rivers278.045.702.33post-m
2007NFLnweTom Brady308.885.523.36post-m
2006NFLcltPeyton Manning307.935.382.55post-m
2005NFLcltPeyton Manning298.035.342.69post-m
2004NFLcltPeyton Manning289.785.634.14post-m
2003NFLotiSteve McNair307.815.202.61post-m
2002NFLnyjChad Pennington267.495.352.15post-m
2001NFLramKurt Warner307.415.192.22post-m
2000NFLramKurt Warner297.975.212.76post-m
1999NFLramKurt Warner288.315.183.13post-m
1998NFLminRandall Cunningham358.545.313.23post-m
1997NFLsfoSteve Young367.475.162.30post-m
1996NFLmiaDan Marino356.655.141.51post-m
1995NFLgnbBrett Favre267.255.411.84post-m
1994NFLsfoSteve Young338.245.382.87post-m
1993NFLsfoSteve Young327.555.112.44post-m
1992NFLsfoSteve Young318.124.883.23post-m
1991NFLwasMark Rypien298.345.183.16post-m
1990NFLkanSteve DeBerg367.585.292.29post-m
1989NFLsfoJoe Montana338.315.243.07post-m
1988NFLcinBoomer Esiason277.795.022.77post-m
1987NFLcleBernie Kosar247.155.042.11post-m
1986NFLminTommy Kramer317.084.962.12post-m
1985NFLsdgDan Fouts347.024.862.15post-m
1984NFLmiaDan Marino238.945.003.94post-m
1983NFLmiaDan Marino227.395.002.39post-m
1982NFLsdgDan Fouts317.704.762.94post-m
1981NFLcinKen Anderson327.435.002.43post-m
1980NFLphiRon Jaworski296.944.872.07post-m
1979NFLdalRoger Staubach376.824.612.21post-m
1978NFLdalRoger Staubach366.184.032.15post-m
1977NFLdalRoger Staubach356.033.552.48post-m
1976NFLcltBert Jones257.784.073.72post-m
1975NFLcinKen Anderson266.964.042.92post-m
1974NFLraiKen Stabler297.043.913.12post-m
1973NFLramJohn Hadl336.643.892.76post-m
1972NFLnyjJoe Namath296.424.282.14post-m
1971NFLdalRoger Staubach297.813.933.88post-m
1970NFLsfoJohn Brodie357.524.163.37post-m
1969AFLcinGreg Cook236.484.232.24pre-m
1968AFLkanLen Dawson339.134.574.55pre-m
1967NFLnygFran Tarkenton277.464.692.78pre-m
1966NFLgnbBart Starr329.574.704.87pre-m
1965NFLcltJohnny Unitas328.695.493.19pre-m
1964NFLcltJohnny Unitas319.625.114.51pre-m
1963NFLnygY.A. Tittle378.815.333.49pre-m
1962AFLkanLen Dawson278.304.034.27pre-m
1961AFLotiGeorge Blanda348.454.154.31pre-m
1960NFLcleMilt Plum259.974.555.42pre-m
1959NFLnygCharlie Conerly389.314.974.34pre-m
1958NFLcltJohnny Unitas257.884.873.00pre-m
1957NFLcltJohnny Unitas247.524.523.00pre-m
1956NFLchiEd Brown288.024.173.85pre-m
1955NFLcleOtto Graham348.983.935.05pre-m
1954NFLramNorm Van Brocklin287.514.393.12pre-m
1953NFLcleOtto Graham329.833.526.31pre-m
1952NFLramNorm Van Brocklin266.103.492.62pre-m
1951NFLramBob Waterfield317.823.734.09pre-m
1950NFLramNorm Van Brocklin247.693.444.25pre-m
1949AAFCcleOtto Graham289.534.874.65pre-m
1948AAFCbclY.A. Tittle228.435.243.19pre-m
1947AAFCcleOtto Graham2610.255.264.99pre-m
1946NFLchiSid Luckman306.313.722.59pre-m
1945NFLwasSammy Baugh319.393.745.65pre-m
1944NFLwasFrank Filchock286.762.244.52pre-m
1943NFLchiSid Luckman2710.963.127.84pre-m
1942NFLgnbCecil Isbell276.982.634.35pre-m
1941NFLgnbCecil Isbell266.232.483.75pre-m
1940NFLwasSammy Baugh266.542.553.98pre-m
1939NFLramParker Hall233.953.010.94pre-m
1937NFLwasSammy Baugh233.841.522.32pre-m
1936NFLgnbArnie Herber265.050.354.70pre-m

What stands out to you?

  • sacramento gold miners

    Before Carson Wentz was hurt, he was a strong MVP candidate. Tom Brady has cooled off in December, so if LeVeon Bell finishes well, that could be enough to grab the award.

    • Renan

      I don’t see any reason to put Bell ahead of Gurley.

    • Adam

      Carson Wentz would’ve been the worst MVP since Mark Moseley. His only selling points are TD passes and wins, both of which have more to do with the team than the QB himself. Wentz will finish the season around 10th place in NY/A and 1D%, which are the most important basic stats for evaluating QB play.

      • WR

        Actually, Wentz’s best selling points are that he’s 2nd in QBR, and may finish first (Watson won’t qualify), and also that he’s 5th in anypa, and may have finished higher had he stayed healthy. Obviously Wentz won’t get the award, and I wouldn’t have voted for him over Brady or Brees anyway, but he was certainly a strong candidate before the injury.
        Adam hates Wentz, and has been bashing and diminishing him all season. I wouldn’t take anything he says about the Eagles’ QB seriously.

      • Worse MVPs (since Moseley) than 2017 Wentz, in my opinion:
        1985 Walter Payton
        1986 Phil Simms
        1988 Roger Craig
        1991 Thurman Thomas
        2003 Jamal Lewis
        2005 Shaun Alexander
        2006 LaDainian Tomlinson
        2010 Michael Vick and Matt Ryan
        2012 Adrian Peterson
        2014 J.J. Watt

        • Adam

          I guess you could say any non-QB MVP is worse than Wentz, just due to positional importance. But if we use the traditional MVP criteria of best season by a QB or RB, I think Wentz’s 2017 is worse than everyone you listed.

          • I’d put Wentz as MVP over every one of those running backs, given the contexts of all their seasons. I’d definitely have him over Watt. I’d definitely have him over 21 TD-22 INT Simms, especially given that his OLB took the award from most major publications. Given this scenario assumes 16 games from Wentz, I can’t put him behind Vick’s 12 games in 2010, even if Vick was a dynamic player that year.

            That leaves Matt Ryan, who was the PFF MVP in 2010. I don’t think Ryan was the best choice that year, but he’s probably slightly ahead of Wentz in merit.

        • Richie

          Which MVP award are you talking about? Watt, Vick, Ryan, Lewis, Craig, Simms and Payton didn’t win AP MVP awards in those years.

          • I look at UPI, Sports Illustrated, Washington D.C. TD Club, Sporting News, NEA, AP, Bert Bell, Football Digest, PFWA, and PFF. I do this because the AP’s award isn’t special, nor is it the official MVP award of the NFL (there isn’t one, unless you count the Joe F. Carr Trophy).

            • Richie

              Ah, you are just combining the bad awards from all groups.

              I keep thinking about doing a project to create an annual “consensus” MVP, using the combined awards of all the different groups each year.

    • Deacon Drake

      For non-QB options, I like Bell, Andrew Whitworth with the Rams (the Seahawks DE was clearly offsides on the strip sack he gave up last week, which is the extent of his miscues), Calais Campbell…

  • Corey

    Thanks for backing up my twitter observation with real data.

    This would be a really good year to give the MVP to a non-QB. Notably, the last time a non-QB won MVP (2012) was also a relatively weak year for dominant QB performances, as that’s the only other year in which the ANY/A leader was <2.00 above average. And even then it took an historic RB season from Peterson to win.

    The problem is that no non-QB is having that kind of historic year. If Antonio Brown hadn't gotten hurt last week, I would have leaned toward voting for him. I like Gurley's season the best of the RBs, but his edge over other RBs isn't that big. I think I would lean toward supporting Aaron Donald.

    • WR

      I’m not sure why you think Brees or Brady shouldn’t get the MVP. If you look at recent history, Newton got the award in 2015 with 7.20 anypa, Peyton won in 2009 with 7.51, and Peyton also won in 2008 at just 6.88. Brady and Brees are both ahead of those numbers.
      I’m also extremely reluctant to give the award to a wide receiver. I don’t think Brown would have gotten it, even if he had stayed healthy.

      • Corey

        Brees and Brady aren’t bad MVP choices, but I don’t like how the award has basically become a QB monopoly (and before that it was basically a QB/RB monopoly). I’d love to see defensive players and linemen get more consideration (I feel the same way about the Hall of Fame).

        As for the years you cite, Newton’s ANY/A doesn’t fully reflect his value for that year, because it doesn’t account for his rushing. I would not have voted for Manning in 2008. Rivers was the best QB that year, and would have been a better choice. Besides Rivers, I would have voted for Ed Reed or DeMarcus Ware.

        2009 is trickier because Manning’s stats were a little better than the year before and he dragged a not-particularly-good Colts to a great record. Brees and Rivers also had very good cases. But I think I would have leaned toward voting for Darrelle Revis.

        • Richie

          Yeah, from a practical standpoint, there is probably never a non-QB who is more valuable than the 4 or 5 best QB’s in the league.

          When you see the dropoff that a team like Houston has when they go from DeShaun Watson to Tom Savage, it’s clear how valuable a QB can be. But the Vikings can lose Dalvin Cook and still be one of the better running teams in the league. The Jaguars can lose Allen Robinson and Blake Bortles can have his best season.

          The NFL needs some kind of MVP & Cy Young award like baseball has.

          • Adam

            Running backs don’t matter in today’s NFL and shouldn’t even be considered for MVP. Every year we see a star RB go down and it makes no impact on his team.

            I wish OPOY would be reserved for the best non-QB. It’s stupid how MVP and OPOY have usually gone to the same player in recent years.

            • Corey

              What’s especially dumb is when OPOY goes to a QB who doesn’t win MVP (e.g. Brees winning in 2008 and 2011).

              Why don’t they have an award for best lineman?

              • Adam

                Seriously. According to the voters, Brees was a better offensive player than Rodgers in 2011 yet somehow less valuable? Makes no sense.

                I kind of wish the NFL would go the route of hockey and hand out an award for the best player at each position. The All-Pro team accomplishes this to a certain extent, but naming only one player per position would be more exclusive and prestigious.

                • Travis Jones

                  Rodgers 2011 season seems like it doesn’t get enough credit for how dominant it was (perhaps because of his postseason and/or other seasons QBs had that year). I still think I like his 45-6 TD/INT ratio the best of any I’ve seen, It was an outlier-season for a QB who’s whole career is an outler.

        • Adam

          I think Brees is a bad MVP choice this year. His numbers are severely inflated by cheap yards on screen passes and RB dumpoffs, and we shouldn’t give him credit for Kamara and Ingram being superstars at creating YAC. Brady is the only QB worthy of the MVP this year (I would’ve gone with Watson had he played the full season).

    • Richie

      If the Steelers were to lose their final two games, would that help Brown’s case?

      • Josh Sanford

        Prior to the Steelers/Pats game, my analysis was that Brown could probably win the award if the Steelers beat the Pats and he could be given credit by the media for the win. And then he couldn’t finish the first quarter. The media will never get behind him now, even if they do go 0-3 without him. It’s Brady’s award to lose at this point, as I see it.

  • Adam

    I always get drowsy when 1996 comes around in my QB stats projects because nothing notable happened that season. Just a cesspool of mediocrity.

    • I hadn’t really noticed it to such a degree, but yeah.

    • He didn’t have mindblowing stats, but Brett Favre was awesome in 1996.

      • Adam

        Agreed, Favre made a lot of hay with a pretty weak supporting cast and was clearly the best QB of 1996. But from a purely statistical standpoint, it was the dullest season for quarterbacking since probably the 40’s.

        • 1956 doesn’t stand out as a great passing year.
          1971 would look a lot better if Staubach had more than 10 starts.
          1972 wasn’t great.
          1973 wasn’t a prize either.
          1977 was a bad year for offense in general.
          1980 wasn’t a great year for top passing.
          1985 was more of a defense and rushing year.
          1986 was meh, and the by-far-best QB wasn’t the one with the highest ANY/A.

          There are probably others, but those came to mind as seasons between the 40s and 1996 that involved underwhelming top passing, from a statistical perspective.

          • Travis Jones

            Who was the “by-far-best” QB of 1986?

            • Richie

              I would guess Marino, since he had 19(!) more TD passes than anybody else. But he also threw 23 interceptions

              • Marino is my guy. The gap between him and the next guy was huge. Kramer and Esiason were nice, and Schoeder, Simms, and Eason were exciting. None of those guys touched Marino.

                • Richie

                  Has anybody else ever had such a huge lead in TD passes as Marino in 86?

                  • Not that I know of. It was the perfect storm of a high volume season and no other truly great performances that year. Usually, even in huge TD years, there will be at least one other guy who threw a bunch of TDs. Or, in the case of the old days, the leader just wasn’t high enough to have a 19 TD lead on the runner up. When Tittle broke the record, for example, second place had a decent TD output himself. In Marino’s case, the distance between him and second place would have ranked in the top ten in TDs. He may not have had such a big lead if Montana had a healthy season, especially given what Rice did when Joe was out.

  • eag97a

    This season might be an outlier when it comes to the modern trend of high-end passing but it may be a harbinger that pass defenses have caught up and will clamp down soon on high powered passing offenses. We’ll see if this trend continues in the next few seasons.

    • My hunch is no, although it will be interesting to see what happens without Brady, Brees, Rivers, and Ben in a few years. It feels like we are getting a pretty good young influx of talent at the QB position, tho.

      • eag97a

        Yup all the new QB talents are very refreshing and enjoyable to watch but I’m also very hopeful for CBs’ being coached up properly and making life for passing offenses very hard. I’ll probably watch if the secondaries of the present era are forcing a lot of OPI’s, in-completes and other negative plays for offenses. Very interesting to say the least.

      • Adam

        I do think defenses have gotten noticeably better at stopping passes completed at or behind the LOS, and that trend will likely continue. However, offenses may counteract this by throwing deep more often, which would tilt the battle back in their favor. I really hope the NFL doesn’t mess with the rules for a while so we can watch the natural chess game of offensive and defensive strategy evolution.

    • Daniel Menezes

      There actually was a slight down-tick last year as well, but far less noticeable. This year is a sudden drop back to 2010 levels, and it started basically right out in Week 1 which was the lowest scoring week in a while, and that was with a healthy slate of QBs other than Luck.

      I too am curious what happens next season.

      What’s also weird is that using Points Allowed, the top teams aren’t really faring any better. Only 4-5 teams will end up allowing less than 300 points, and only Jacksonville is in line with great defenses pre-lockout (or even post-lockout). But the bottom end is much better. The Texans are the worst defense by points allowed and are on pace to allow just 434 points.

  • Deacon Drake

    So… Otto Graham was good.

    1995 was the year passing numbers blew up across the board, so it makes sense that the deviation from top to mean was less in 95 and 96. The strike years also fall low.

  • Richie

    I’m excited this post has so many comments. The comments section on this blog has been pretty slow the past few weeks.