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Leader in Fu Manchus among active quarterbacks (sorry, Mark)

Leader in Fu Manchus among active quarterbacks (sorry, Mark).

Let’s be honest: we all know Aaron Rodgers is great, so we don’t spend much time talking about him. Debating his ability is pointless, so we instead spend countless hours discussing Tony Romo’s intangibles, Tim Tebow’s throwing motion, Colin Kaepernick’s tattoos, and Joe Flacco’s eliteness. Talk radio dies when it discusses Aaron Rodgers: debating the Packers quarterback is as fun as watching paint dry and as illuminating as asking if water is wet.

But we’re doing a disservice to us all when we ignore how great Rodgers is. I mean, we spend lots of time chronicling the feats of Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson — why not Rodgers?

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:

Completion Percentage

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):

Rank Player (age) Cmp% Years Teams
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

Interception Rate

Rodgers is also the active leader in interception percentage, and it’s not particularly close.

Rank Player (age) Int% Years Teams
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.

Touchdown Percentage

What about touchdown rates? Rodgers has an death grip on the top spot in this statistic, too.

Rank Player (age) TD% Years Teams
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?

Rank Player (age) Y/A Years Teams
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

On the career list, only Otto Graham (thanks to his AAFC numbers), Sid Luckman, and Norm Van Brocklin rank ahead of Rodgers.

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:

”Click Show

Previous “Random Perspective On” Articles:
AFC East: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers
AFC South: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans
AFC West: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers
NFC East: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins
NFC North: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings
NFC South: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC West: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams

{ 42 comments }
  • Ryan Marchand August 30, 2013, 12:54 am

    Apologies if discussed in a previous post, but what a fine class of quarterbacks who started in 2004:
    Carson Palmer – #1 from 2003 draft Cincinnati (finally an excellent QB!)
    Eli Manning – #1 by San Diego
    Phillip Rivers – #4 by the Gmen
    Ben Roethlisberger – #11
    Matt Schaub – #90 by Atlanta
    Tony Romo – greatest undrafted QB ever?

    Maybe the Bills will be fortunate with EJ Manuel, but JP Losman at #22 wasn’t.
    Honorable mention to the nearly worst quarterback play of recent vintage: The 2004 Bears team and selection of Craig Krenzel @ #148.

    Reply
  • Sunrise089 August 30, 2013, 1:37 am

    Cool post Chase. My own mental narrative mirrored the post almost exactly: “well, it helps Rogers is only 29,” “wait, let me check PFR for his sack rate,” “ok, so where does his ANY/A shake out?”

    I think this analysis underscores just how great Manning is. His peak is better than Rogers’s and he still has a solid shot at taking most of the all-time passing compiling stats. One other thing on Manning’s favor: the Packers made a good decision to totally ignore high-cost RBs during much of Roger’s career, but by doing so it feels to me like they’ve inflated Rogers’s AY/A and ANY/A by keeping the ball in his hands in the red zone. Looking at the top two TD seasons for Manning and Rogers (not trying to use arbitrary endpoints, it’s just slow to check this on my phone), Rogers’s teams had 6 fewer rushing TDs, which probably contributed to Rogers’s ridiculous ~8% TD rate over the past two years.

    Reply
  • Alex August 30, 2013, 5:14 am

    So, Chase, you don’t use passer rating because of Pennington “problem”. But your metric somehow have Schaub ahead of Brady. Isn’t it a problem?

    Reply
    • Chase Stuart August 30, 2013, 9:18 am

      Saying that Matt Schaub from 2006 to 2010 was a better regular season quarterback on a rate basis than Tom Brady was from 2002 to 2006 doesn’t really bother me. It’s close, and you’d probably vault Brady based on starts (80 vs. 54), but I don’t see an issue.

      Reply
      • Richie August 30, 2013, 2:38 pm

        Yeah, prior to 2007, Brady was thought of more like Troy Aikman: a good QB who won a lot of games, but didn’t really have awesome passing stats.

        PFR lists Mark Brunell as his closest comp through 7 years in the league.

        Reply
  • Danish August 30, 2013, 8:27 am

    I love that you made the last table a top-55 to get Testaverde in :D. The only time arbitrary cutoff are perfectly acceptable.

    Reply
    • Danish August 30, 2013, 8:29 am

      that, or he was the worst qualifying QB. This makes me sad.

      Reply
      • Chase Stuart August 30, 2013, 9:16 am

        Yeah, he was simply the worst qualifying QB. That makes me sad, too.

        Reply
        • Richie August 30, 2013, 2:42 pm

          I, too, have always kind of been a Testaverde fan (to the detriment of a couple fantasy football teams in the early 90s). But those Tampa Bay years were pretty rough.

          Reply
  • Jake August 30, 2013, 9:36 am

    How exactly is ANY/A+ calculated? I looked at PFR but their is nothing in the glossary. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Neil Paine August 30, 2013, 9:41 am Reply
    • James August 30, 2013, 9:54 am

      Take yards per attempt and add in sacks, touchdowns, interceptions, and then scale to that season’s league average and league standard deviation.

      The equation is (passing yards – sack yards + touchdowns*20 – interceptions*45) / (pass attempts + sacks). League average is 100, and every 10 points above/below represents one standard deviation. The weights on TDs and INTs are based on research that (I think) Chase did on the PFR blog that was inspired by the book The Hidden Game of Football.

      Reply
  • Neil Paine August 30, 2013, 9:40 am

    Another way to deal with the “Rodgers hasn’t hit his decline phase yet” problem is to use the RANY/A aging curve and set every QB-season to its “Age-27 Equivalent”:

    http://www.footballperspective.com/another-quarterback-aging-curve-post-adjusted-net-yards-per-attempt-edition/

    Take John Elway 1998, for instance. Elway was 38 that year, and the chart linked above tells us that 38-year-old QBs typically lose 1.9 points of RANY/A by that age, relative to their peak at age 27. Elway had a +1.8 RANY/A that year, so in essence, he had the type of season that would translate to a +3.7 at age 27, if you progressed backwards along the aging curve at average rates. He gets a +3.7, then, as his “Age-27 Equivalent” for 1998.

    Meanwhile, take Ben Roethlisberger 2004. He was 22, so the chart tells us that QBs at that age are typically 1.1 points of RANY/A below what they’ll eventually get to at age 27. Big Ben had a RANY/A of +1.3 that season, which would translate to a +2.4 RANY/A at age 27, if he just followed the typical progression up to age 27. So he gets a +2.4 as his “Age-27 Equivalent” for 2004.

    Do this for every QB, and it puts all of their seasons on the same age scale — we can compare half-completed careers to guys who retired decades ago, because every season is translated to the same age: 27, the Platonic ideal of a peak season.

    Here are the top 100 QBs who debuted in 1969 or later, with 1,000+ career dropbacks, ranks:

    player_name	drpbk	age_27_equiv
    Roger Staubach	3271	+2.5
    Steve Young	4507	+2.4
    Kurt Warner	4330	+2.2
    Doug Flutie	2258	+2.2
    Peyton Manning	8045	+2.1
    Joe Montana	5704	+2.1
    Dan Marino	8628	+2.0
    Warren Moon	7281	+1.9
    Tom Brady	6261	+1.9
    Aaron Rodgers	2876	+1.8
    Dan Fouts	5923	+1.7
    Jeff Garcia	3857	+1.7
    Trent Green	3999	+1.6
    Tony Romo	3418	+1.5
    Brett Favre	10694	+1.5
    Ken Anderson	4873	+1.5
    Drew Brees	6383	+1.5
    Rich Gannon	4508	+1.4
    Cam Newton	1073	+1.4
    Philip Rivers	3783	+1.3
    Matt Schaub	2974	+1.2
    Jim Kelly	5102	+1.2
    Ken Stabler	4074	+1.2
    Brad Johnson	4577	+1.1
    John Elway	7766	+1.1
    Boomer Esiason	5523	+1.1
    V. Testaverde	7118	+1.1
    Roethlisberger	4106	+1.0
    Bert Jones	2783	+1.0
    Mark Rypien	2710	+1.0
    Phil Simms	5124	+1.0
    Matt Ryan	2750	+1.0
    Jeff Hostetler	2545	+0.9
    Doug Williams	2591	+0.9
    Terry Bradshaw	4208	+0.9
    Danny White	3191	+0.9
    Steve Grogan	3840	+0.9
    Chad Pennington	2633	+0.8
    Joe Theismann	3942	+0.8
    Steve Beuerlein	3660	+0.8
    Steve DeBerg	5320	+0.8
    Steve McNair	4798	+0.8
    Dave Krieg	5805	+0.8
    Donovan McNabb	5784	+0.8
    Mark Brunell	5030	+0.8
    Brian Sipe	3663	+0.8
    Troy Aikman	4974	+0.8
    D. Culpepper	3497	+0.7
    Bernie Kosar	3638	+0.7
    Bobby Hebert	3299	+0.7
    Jim Everett	5180	+0.7
    M. Stafford	1956	+0.7
    Chris Chandler	4385	+0.7
    James Harris	1250	+0.7
    Gary Danielson	2115	+0.6
    Carson Palmer	4313	+0.6
    Jake Delhomme	3100	+0.6
    Josh Freeman	1976	+0.6
    Steve Bono	1777	+0.6
    Jim McMahon	2799	+0.6
    Bill Kenney	2625	+0.6
    Neil Lomax	3515	+0.6
    Matt Hasselbeck	5360	+0.6
    Ron Jaworski	4480	+0.6
    Erik Kramer	2421	+0.5
    Lynn Dickey	3422	+0.5
    Neil O'Donnell	3488	+0.5
    Eli Manning	4670	+0.5
    Elvis Grbac	2574	+0.5
    Gus Frerotte	3313	+0.5
    Jim Plunkett	4081	+0.4
    David Garrard	2460	+0.4
    R. Cunningham	4773	+0.4
    Pat Haden	1478	+0.4
    Joe Flacco	2663	+0.4
    Joe Ferguson	4831	+0.4
    Jay Schroeder	3016	+0.4
    Michael Vick	3161	+0.4
    Jim Harbaugh	4279	+0.4
    Drew Bledsoe	7184	+0.4
    Byron Leftwich	1697	+0.4
    Frank Reich	1000	+0.4
    Mike Tomczak	2451	+0.3
    Wade Wilson	2645	+0.3
    Tommy Kramer	3900	+0.3
    Kerry Collins	6598	+0.3
    Jeff George	4325	+0.3
    Ken O'Brien	3955	+0.3
    Marc Bulger	3425	+0.3
    S. Bartkowski	3812	+0.3
    Jim Zorn	3362	+0.3
    Stan Humphries	2660	+0.3
    Jay Fiedler	1831	+0.3
    Craig Erickson	1174	+0.2
    Jeff Blake	3489	+0.2
    Brian Griese	2989	+0.2
    Jay Cutler	3154	+0.2
    Jon Kitna	4765	+0.2
    Damon Huard	1040	+0.2
    Ty Detmer	1013	+0.2
    
    Reply
    • Chase Stuart August 30, 2013, 9:47 am

      Interesting stuff, Neil. That’s a cool idea.

      Reply
    • Neil Paine August 30, 2013, 9:50 am

      Btw… FLUTIE!

      Here’s how it happened:

      year_id	age	team	drpbk	RANY/A	Age27Eq
      -----------------------------------------------
      1986	24	chi	52	+0.8	+1.2
      1987	25	nwe	26	+3.3	+3.4
      1988	26	nwe	190	-0.8	-0.8
      1989	27	nwe	97	-2.1	-2.1
      ---
      1998	36	buf	366	+1.6	+3.0
      1999	37	buf	504	+0.1	+1.7
      2000	38	buf	241	+1.7	+3.6
      2001	39	sdg	546	-0.1	+2.2
      2002	40	sdg	11	+0.5	+3.3
      2003	41	sdg	175	+0.9	+4.4
      2004	42	sdg	39	+1.8	+6.0
      2005	43	nwe	11	-3.9	+1.3
      -----------------------------------------------

      He basically had the majority of his dropbacks at age 36-41, ages where the typical QB should be around 2 points of RANY/A below what he did at age 27. And at those ages, Flutie had a composite RANY/A of +0.6. I’m not saying I buy it, but this implies that if Flutie had been given a real shot in the NFL at his peak, he’d have put up a Manningesque +3 RANY/A.

      So is this a bug in the system or a feature? Not completely sure. Flutie being ranked that high is insane, but you can see how it happened and almost begin to talk yourself into it not being 100% crazy.

      Reply
      • Chase Stuart August 30, 2013, 9:55 am

        Flutie was awesome except when he was actually 27.

        Reply
        • Neil Paine August 30, 2013, 9:59 am

          Yup. And that’s where the logic begins to fall apart, when we’re translating a guy backwards to being the equivalent of way better at 27 than he actually was at, you know, 27.

          Then again, QB stats are so inconsistent from year to year that it may take an entire career’s worth of dropbacks, adjusted for age, to get a reliable rating for each of them.

          Reply
          • Richie August 30, 2013, 2:55 pm

            I don’t know. Those late 80s-early 90s Patriots teams were horrible. The year he was given the biggest shot was 1988, and the team outperformed it’s pythag by 2+ wins. Flutie had bad stats, but still much better than the rest of NE QB.

            He was “too short” so they barely gave him a chance. By the time he came back to the league A DECADE(!) later, he was a pretty good QB. It’s possible that if the Patriots just gave him the job in 1988, that he would have continued to get clobbered and lose confidence and wash out of the league. Maybe playing in the CFL gave him additional confidence that he took to the NFL. Or maybe, he just needed playing time.

            It’s the biggest unanswerable question in sports: what would have happened to player X if he had been given a different opportunity?

            Reply
      • Chase Stuart August 30, 2013, 10:05 am

        On a more serious note, I don’t think it’s a flaw in the system unless you’re asking the system to do too much.

        We know that on average this is how quarterbacks age, but we also know everyone ages differently. I’m sure you can think of countless baseball examples of that would apply, but I’ll use two off of my limited knowledge. Mark Grace was a solid/above average player in his mid-to-late thirties. I’m sure if you did an age adjustment, he would probably be HOF caliber in his mid-20s based off his production a decade later. On the other hand, someone like Albert Belle was HOF caliber in his late 20s but had a sharp career decline. If you looked at only Belle and Grace in their age 30+ seasons, you’d think Grace was the much better player. If you looked at them only in their 20s, you’d prefer Belle (at least, I think). I don’t know if this is a good example.

        Here might be an interesting study — calculate the absolute value of the difference between a player’s expected RANY/A based on his age-adjusted 27 peak value and his actual RANY/A. Then see who had the “weirdest” and “least weird” careers. I bet Elway comes in strong on the weird careers list…. and maybe Trent Green on the not weird list? I dunno. But it would potentially be interesting, and would probably say more about a player’s supporting cast than anything.

        I assume at least part of this reply made sense, even if nobody other than you would understand it.

        Reply
        • Chase Stuart August 30, 2013, 10:08 am

          To add a little color to the above example…. and you would need to drpbk-weight it, of course…. Flutie is considered a +2.2 QB. He should therefore be 0.3 at age 38. In reality, he was at +1.7. Therefore, he gets an absolute value variance grade of 1.4 for his age 38 year, because his production did not perfectly fall on the age curve. Make sense?

          Reply
          • Neil Paine August 30, 2013, 10:16 am

            That’s a pretty great idea. I smell a future post. :)

            Reply
            • Chase Stuart August 30, 2013, 10:28 am

              I speak on behalf of the entire Football Perspective community when I say that we’re really glad that Neil has had more free time lately and has been contributing to FP more than ever. You should get married every year!

              Reply
              • Richie August 30, 2013, 2:57 pm

                Marriage CREATED free time for Neil? How does THAT work?

                Reply
        • Kibbles August 30, 2013, 2:53 pm

          I have a feeling that attempting to measure weirdness would really wind up measuring supporting cast. John Elway’s career is “weird” because he got Shannon Sharpe, Rod Smith, Ed McCaffrey, Terrell Davis, Gary Zimmerman, Mark Schlereth, Mike Shanahan, and a whole host of other upgrades to his supporting cast at age 35 instead of at age 27. Kurt Warner’s career would probably look reasonably weird because he went from injured, to the Giants, to Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Did Rich Gannon age weirdly, or did he just get Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, Charlie Garner, and John Gruden?

          Of course, you could always adjust for both age *AND* receiver quality (using the method outlined in Neil’s post on Ben Roethlisberger), and that would probably give you a pretty good approximation of the truly odd career shapes.

          Reply
    • James August 30, 2013, 10:17 am

      Jeff Garcia gets even less respect than Tony Romo and Philip Rivers…

      Also, I’d still like to hear your and Chase’s thoughts about Brian Burke’s study that showed QBs don’t decline if you remove their last season: ” …the final year of a QB’s career, regardless of age, is usually pretty bad, but not necessarily worse than the usual year-to-year variation in any individual QB’s resume. In fact, the final year of a QB’s career, on average, represents a decline of -0.75 AYPA. This is far worse than any one year of average decline due to age–actually equivalent to about 6 years of decline. To me, this suggests that natural variance is helping end many QB careers. In fact, if you simply remove the very last season of each QB’s career from the data, age-related decline virtually disappears. ”

      http://www.advancednflstats.com/2011/08/how-quarterbacks-age.html

      Reply
      • Chase Stuart August 30, 2013, 11:58 am

        Interesting stuff, James. Players age in every sport — baseball players are probably more analogous to QBs than say, running backs — and I’m pretty sure there’s a similar decline for those players (I hesitate to link to any of those studies with Neil here, as he’s apt to tell me I linked to the wrong one since I don’t know what I’m doing). Burke’s link is interesting, though, and I’d have to give it some more thought.

        Reply
        • James August 30, 2013, 2:19 pm

          Right, there has to be *some* decline from aging, but maybe it’s less pronounced than we usually find due to survivor bias. This might reveal itself if you or Neil ran the ‘absolute difference’ post – Burke’s article suggests the biggest absolute difference will disproportionately be the last year of a player’s career.

          As for the relationship to baseball aging, Mitchel Lichtman (aka MGL who co-author The Book with Tom Tango/Tangotiger) showed that baseball players that didn’t return played significantly worse than their projections based on their previous three years (even the young players, who should still be improving). He accounted for this in his aging pattern by giving the players ‘conservative phantom seasons’. http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/how-do-baseball-players-age-part-2/

          Reply
      • Danish August 30, 2013, 12:16 pm

        Interesting. Thanks for link.

        Reply
      • Richie August 30, 2013, 3:20 pm

        Interesting. Although this did not work for Dan Marino. At age 37, he had probably the worst season of his career, with a career-low 5.54 ANYA. (Other QB’s might have retired after that season.) Then at age 38 he came back with a horrific season with a 4.91 ANYA and his first season with more INTs than TDs.

        Reply
      • Richie August 30, 2013, 3:25 pm

        It looks like there have only been 42 QBs to even attempt 250+ passes in their final season: http://pfref.com/tiny/aT0zA

        And a lot of those guys didn’t play in all the games those seasons. I bet a lot of these guys just get tired of getting beat up. Even some of the younger guys on that list (Lomax, Plummer) just chose to hang up the cleats on their own.

        Reply
        • James August 30, 2013, 5:08 pm

          I think a player getting tired of being beat up is exactly what happens. If they were playing well and/or close to a championship they would keep going, but once they have a down season either they or the team decides it is no longer worth it.

          I think the prototype is Favre: he had a great year and got tantalizingly close to winning a SB in Minnesota so he gave it another shot, but a bad season and injury later and he was ready to call it quits. That has a big impact on apparent age decline when we look back, but I bet if Favre had played another season he would have settled between the 2009 and 2010 extremes, creating a shallower age decline.

          So far the first half is true for Tony Gonzalez (not a QB, but same idea), and I bet it will be the case for Peyton Manning and probably Tom Brady too. Everyone wants to be Elway and go out on top.

          Reply
  • Kibbles August 30, 2013, 2:54 pm

    “This moves Rodgers from #1 by a mile to “in the same tier as Peyton Manning and Joe Montana.” That may not be as impressive, but it’s not too shabby.”

    That’s one way to phrase it. Another way would be to say “This moves Rodgers from #1 by a mile to ‘barely ahead of Philip Rivers and Tony Romo.’ That may not be as impressive, but it’s not too shabby.”

    Reply
    • Chase Stuart August 31, 2013, 4:55 pm

      Twenty-five years from now, 30-year-old football stats geeks are going to think Rivers and Romo were the two most underrated QBs in NFL history.

      Reply
  • Ben September 13, 2013, 8:17 pm

    The missing intangible is the quality of WR of those all-time ANY+ greats.

    Reply

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