Matt Schaub Is a Super Bowl-Caliber Quarterback

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistApril 5, 2012

Matt Schaub can win a Super Bowl.
Matt Schaub can win a Super Bowl.Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Houston Texans can win the Super Bowl.

QB Matt Schaub is certainly good enough to take them there.

A study of the last 20 quarterbacks to make the Super Bowl reveals that Schaub is already playing at a high enough level to take the Texans to the promised land, as long as he can stay healthy.

The following chart shows the last 20 Super Bowl quarterbacks along with their ratings in some key "plus" stats. The "plus" statistics are indexed according to league average. Because passing stats fluctuate, we need "plus" stats to show how a player played relative to league average in a given year.

The concept is easy enough to understand. A "plus" score of 100 is league average. If a player has a score over 100, he is that much better than league average in the metric.

A look at the 20 quarterbacks—with their yards per attempt plus (YPA+), touchdown percentage plus (TD%+), sack percentage plus (Sack%+) and passer rating plus (Rate+)—shows that the vast majority of Super Bowl quarterbacks are better than league average in key numbers.

Anything around 120 to 130 would be a typical league-leading number for the year.

In YPA+, only two quarterbacks rated as below league average in the year they went to the Super Bowl, and 14 of them were rated at least 114. Even notoriously weak Super Bowl quarterbacks like Rex Grossman in 2006 were typically good at some things, rating above league average in multiple categories.

It's not absolutely always necessary to have an All-Pro in order to make the Super Bowl, but even a cursory glance at the list shows that the vast majority of the names were star players having star years.

Some of the worst seasons on the list belong to Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning. All of those guys went on to have other years that rank among the best seasons of the decade.

There's no question that when you look at Schaub's numbers, not only in 2011, but for the last several years, he would absolutely fit the bill as a Super Bowl quarterback. Had he not been hurt last year, his name might already be on the list.