The new ESPN abacus-unfriendly metrix to determine just how crappy Jimmy Clausen can get


ESPN is so geeked about this, they’ve created a one-hour special on it — today, 5 p.m.

The Total Quarterback Rating. Presented by an underarm deoderant. The suggested retail price of which doesn’t factor into the calculation.


Ron Jaworski, Trent Dilfer, Jon Gruden, Jerry Rice, Lou Holtz and Kirk Herbstreit are on hand to talk you through this latest installment in the “Year of the Quarterback” campaign. Bottom line: Just because Jimmy Clausen had the lowest quarterback rating of any QB last year (linked here) — 58.4, because of the fact he had nine picks versus three TD passes, was sacked 33 times with a league-low 120 yards passing per game — doesn’t mean Derek Anderson is better than you.

From the ESPN press release — and please note: it intentionally is not branded as an ESPN stat — here’s how Total QBR works, minuses the Xs, Os and #s:

== ESPN Stats & Information Group Production Analytics unit of Senior Director Jeff Bennett, Director Dean Oliver (who used to be a stats analyst for the Denver Nuggets) and Analytics Specialists Alok Pattani and Albert Larcada, with the help of Menlo College professor Ben Alamar (who does work for the NBA’s Oklahoma City and the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers) came up with this thing to determine “precisely how much he impacts his team’s performance and chances of winning.”

== ESPN analysts Dilfer, Gruden and Jaworski supplied imput “to understand the mindset and the demands placed upon the modern NFL quarterback.”


== It uses a 100-point system (the existing NFL Passer Rating has a confusing perfect score of 158.3.) A rating in the high 90s is exceptional; a season-long 65-plus rating is Pro Bowl caliber. A season rating of 50 is considered average.

== It takes all of a quarterback’s plays (rushing, passing, sacks, fumbles, interceptions, penalties, etc.), and calculates the per-play net impact of the quarterback on the ability to score.

Each play is weighted by the situation (down and distance, field position, time during the game) and its importance to the game’s outcome.

For example, a completed five-yard pass on 3rd-and-3 would increase a quarterback’s QBR more than a five-yard completion on 3rd-and-15 because the former continues the drive and thus improves the team’s chance of scoring. Also, plays in closely contested games carry a greater value than plays in less competitive situations.

== Division of credit is another important Total QBR principle: It assigns a percentage to how much credit a quarterback should get for a positive play – or blame for a negative play. Also factored in: how far a pass travels in the air, where the ball was thrown on the field, the yards after catch, and whether the quarterback was facing defensive pressure, among other factors.

== QBR is based on analysis of 60,000 plays over the past three years.

== ESPN will use it on its broadcasts as much as possible.

“The quarterback position is played so differently now than when the NFL Passer Rating was adopted in 1973,” said Bennett. “We created QBR to account for all the important categories as well as the game situations in which plays are made to help tell the entire story about a quarterback’s performance. If you want one stat that measures the totality of a quarterback’s performance, it’s QBR.”


In the special, a Sport Science feature will help visualize how the new system works, there’s a look at the top five NFL quarterbacks from the past three seasons based on QBR, and there’s an examination of the new rating by Matthew Berry from a Fantasy Football perspective.

Because, bottom line, if Peyton Manning is no good by this new system, we’re kicking him to the Astro-turf curb.

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