As week 4 of the 2013 NFL season begins tonight we find some interesting surprises hidden in the stat lines. I find it a bit surprising that Drew Brees is currently ranked 15th among all NFL quarterbacks based upon a passer rating of 91.4. Equally surprising is that RGIII (84.1), Ben Roethlisberger (81.2), Joe Flacco (80.0), Tom Brady (79.4), and Colin Kaepernick (72.5) are ranked 21st through 25th respectively.
Do the numbers always translate into wins or losses? In some cases they do, however, in some cases they do not. For example, Peyton Manning leads the league in QB passer rating at an unbelievable 134.7 and his team is undefeated at 3-0. On the other hand, Phillip Rivers is currently ranked second in QB passer rating at 116.2 but the Chargers are 1-2.
Flacco and Brady are both ranked in the second tier of quarterbacks but the Patriots are 3-0 and the Ravens are 2-1. Aaron Rodgers is ranked #4 at 105.1 and Matt Ryan is ranked #6 at 100.4 but the Packers and Falcons are both 1-2.
We often hear the phrase “numbers don’t lie” but as we have seen that is not always the case. Football is a team sport and much more than quarterback play determines the outcome of the game. It’s true, quarterbacks have a greater impact on the outcome of NFL games than any other position player in football or any other sport for that matter. But it is the ultimate team sport and winning teams hit on all cylinders consistently.
So what is the take away from such an analysis? An average or slightly better than average QB can lead his team to victory if he will protect the ball and not do anything to lose the game. You often hear the experts say that successful quarterbacks manage the game, they protect the ball, and they put their team in a position to win. Even an average quarterback who follows that game plan can win more often than not. That’s good news because the stats show that there is only one Peyton Manning playing in the league.