One way to measure Rodgers’ greatness is to look at passer rating. Now we know that passer rating is wildly overrated, so perhaps you shouldn’t be too impressed to hear that Rodgers has the highest passer rating in history. But consider: Rodgers has a career 104.9 passer rating, well ahead of Steve Young, who is second at 96.8. Chad Pennington sits at #13 on the career passer rating list (an example of why this metric is one I don’t use), but Young is closer to Pennington (90.1) than he is to Rodgers. But there’s an even better way to show Rodgers’ dominance in this statistic.
Passer rating is made up of four metrics. Let’s take a look at how Rodgers ranks in those four categories:
Among active quarterbacks, Rodgers is the career leader in completion percentage (in the next four tables, the age is the player’s age at the end of the 2012 season):
|1.||Aaron Rodgers (29)||65.7%||2005-2012||gnb|
|2.||Drew Brees (33)||65.6%||2001-2012||2TM|
|3.||Peyton Manning (36)||65.2%||1998-2012||2TM|
|4.||Tony Romo (32)||64.7%||2004-2012||dal|
|5.||Matt Schaub (31)||64.3%||2004-2012||2TM|
|6.||Tom Brady (35)||63.7%||2000-2012||nwe|
|7.||Philip Rivers (31)||63.6%||2004-2012||sdg|
|8.||Ben Roethlisberger (30)||63.1%||2004-2012||pit|
|9.||Matt Ryan (27)||62.7%||2008-2012||atl|
|10.||Carson Palmer (33)||62.5%||2004-2012||2TM|
Rodgers is also the active leader in interception percentage, and it’s not particularly close.
|1.||Aaron Rodgers (29)||1.7%||2005-2012||gnb|
|2.||Tom Brady (35)||2.1%||2000-2012||nwe|
|3.||Joe Flacco (27)||2.2%||2008-2012||rav|
|4.||Sam Bradford (25)||2.3%||2010-2012||ram|
|Matt Ryan (27)||2.3%||2008-2012||atl|
|6.||Jason Campbell (31)||2.4%||2006-2012||3TM|
|Shaun Hill (32)||2.4%||2005-2012||3TM|
|8.||Matt Schaub (31)||2.5%||2004-2012||2TM|
|9.||Kyle Orton (30)||2.6%||2005-2012||4TM|
|Philip Rivers (31)||2.6%||2004-2012||sdg|
Rodgers is also the career leader in interception rate among all quarterbacks in football history.
What about touchdown rates? Rodgers has an death grip on the top spot in this statistic, too.
|1.||Aaron Rodgers (29)||6.4%||2005-2012||gnb|
|2.||Tom Brady (35)||5.6%||2000-2012||nwe|
|Peyton Manning (36)||5.6%||1998-2012||2TM|
|4.||Tony Romo (32)||5.5%||2004-2012||dal|
|5.||Philip Rivers (31)||5.3%||2004-2012||sdg|
|Drew Brees (33)||5.3%||2001-2012||2TM|
|7.||Ben Roethlisberger (30)||5.1%||2004-2012||pit|
|8.||Matt Ryan (27)||4.8%||2008-2012||atl|
|9.||Eli Manning (31)||4.7%||2004-2012||nyg|
|10.||Jay Cutler (29)||4.6%||2006-2012||2TM|
|Carson Palmer (33)||4.6%||2004-2012||2TM|
Rodgers just barely makes the top ten on the career list of touchdowns per pass attempt, but everyone ahead of him started their career before 1960.
Yards per Attempt
The fourth and most useful metric involved in calculating passer rating is yards per attempt. Guess who ranks first in this category among active passers?
|1.||Aaron Rodgers (29)||8.1||2005-2012||gnb|
|2.||Tony Romo (32)||7.9||2004-2012||dal|
|Ben Roethlisberger (30)||7.9||2004-2012||pit|
|Cam Newton (23)||7.9||2011-2012||car|
|5.||Philip Rivers (31)||7.8||2004-2012||sdg|
|Matt Schaub (31)||7.8||2004-2012||2TM|
|7.||Peyton Manning (36)||7.6||1998-2012||2TM|
|8.||Tom Brady (35)||7.5||2000-2012||nwe|
|Drew Brees (33)||7.5||2001-2012||2TM|
|10.||Jay Cutler (29)||7.2||2006-2012||2TM|
|Matt Ryan (27)||7.2||2008-2012||atl|
|Carson Palmer (33)||7.2||2004-2012||2TM|
|13.||Joe Flacco (27)||7.1||2008-2012||rav|
|Eli Manning (31)||7.1||2004-2012||nyg|
|15.||Michael Vick (32)||7.0||2001-2012||2TM|
So yeah, Aaron Rodgers is pretty good. However, let’s call a spade a spade: we have stacked the deck in Rodgers’ favor by looking at career rate statistics. In addition to climbing the career lists because he’s operating in a passer-friendly era, Rodgers has three other advantages working in his favor relative to even his contemporaries:
- He didn’t start his first game until he turned 25 years old; comparing his career rate numbers to quarterbacks who played when they were in their early twenties — and on the far left side of this curve — is a bit unfair.
- Rodgers doesn’t turn 30 until December, so his career rate statistics exclude the far right side of the curve, too. Nearly Rodgers’ entire career has existed in the sweet spot on the quarterback age curve, from age 25 to 29.
- There’s an important metric that is ignored by every stat we’ve mentioned so far: sack rate. And as we all know, that’s been his Kryptonite to date: Rodgers has the seventh-worst career sack rate of any active quarterback, ahead of only David Carr, Charlie Batch, Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger, Alex Smith, and Tarvaris Jackson. If he had started at a younger age, he’d likely have an even worse career sack rate. As it stands, Rodgers has led the league in sacks taken in two of his five seasons as a starter.
Now, here’s the good news: there is a way to control for all four of these variables (era, missing out on early years, missing out on late years, sack rate) and to properly evaluate Rodgers. If we use Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt as our statistic, we solve the last problem. And if we use ANY/A+ — the era-adjusted metric created by Pro-Football-Reference — we solve the first problem. And if we only look at quarterbacks during their ages 25 to 29 years, well, then we’ve solved them all.
So, drumroll please…. where does Rodgers rank in ANY/A+ for all passers since 1970 during his age 25-to-29 seasons? Let’s use a minimum of 50 starts and 1500 pass attempts, too:
Previous “Random Perspective On” Articles:
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