QBER/Week 11: Numbers Say MVP Award Is Favre-Fetched Idea

Paul LadewskiCorrespondent IINovember 25, 2009

(QBER is short for Quarterback Efficiency Rating, a more comprehensive, easily understood rating system that I devised to place the emphasis where it belongs—on the ability of a quarterback to advance the ball, avoid negative plays, and score touchdowns in comparison to his peers. A rating of 100.0 is the league average.)

It’s too a bit too early for apologies, but the critics who wrote off Brett Favre months ago should be advised to have their my-bad's ready. 

Not only is Favre the top-ranked quarterback in the league, according to the most recent QBER calculations, but the longer the season progresses, the better he has been. At a time when 40-year-olds are supposed to slow down, his QBER has improved from 125.1 to 138.1 to 138.5 to 141.6 to 148.2 in the last four weeks.

Can you say Most Valuable Player, boys and girls?

There are several worthy candidates for MVP honors, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning also among them, but Favre should rate as the early favorite for the award. Even though feature Adrian Peterson has been fairly average by his standards, the Vikings own a 9-1 record largely because Favre has stepped up as a highly efficient quarterback and unquestioned team leader.

What stands out about Favre is his ability to avoid negative plays, which is in stark contrast to the later stages of his Green Bay Packers career. In 334 pass plays, he has been guilty of only four turnovers, the best rate in the league. He also accounts for one touchdown per 15.9 pass attempts, which is 75 percent above the league average.  

It was in Week 14 of a year ago that Favre began his free-fall because of shoulder problems. His detractors may not like it, but a rerun doesn’t appear to be likely this time around.

The QBER Leaders Through Week Eleven of the Regular Season:

1. Brett Favre 148.2

2. Peyton Manning 134.6

3. Donovan McNabb 130.0

4. Aaron Rodgers 129.3

5. Drew Brees 128.3

6. Tom Brady 127.6

7. Philip Rivers 127.5

8. Matt Schaub 125.3

9. Eli Manning 119.0

10. Kurt Warner 114.5

11. Kyle Orton 114.2

12. Tony Romo 112.4

13. Joe Flacco 110.5

14. Carson Palmer 109.7

15. Ben Roethlisberger 106.6

16. Matt Hasselbeck 104.0

17. Matt Ryan 101.5

18. Matt Cassel 101.4

19. David Garrard 90.0

20. Chad Henne 87.2

21. Jay Cutler 85.8

22. Marc Bulger 82.3

23. Jason Campbell 81.6

24. Matthew Stafford 80.5

25. Trent Edwards 79.3

26. Kerry Collins 78.4

27. Mark Sanchez 59.6

28. Jake Delhomme 57.2

29. JaMarcus Russell 50.1

A Few Observations

  • If Vince Young isn’t a big fan of the QBER system, then he should be. According the NFL passer rating formula, the Tennessee Titans signal-caller would rank 17th overall if he had the required number of pass attempts—two spots worse than he would on be on the QBER list.  The QBER formula credits Young for the 147 yards that he gained on runs off pass plays, while the NFL system ignores them. The Titans haven’t lost since Young regained his starter role, and his improved play has been a primary reason for the turnaround.
  • Maybe Pete Carroll was right, after all. The Southern California head coach said Mark Sanchez would have been better suited to remain in college one more year, and the numbers support his contention. The New York Jets' rookie has been plagued by turnovers—19 of them. Only Jay Cutler has as many in the league.
  • While Sanchez has regressed, Detroit Lions rookie Matthew Stafford has headed the other way. His QBER jumped from 58.7 (28th overall) to a semi-respectable 80.5 (24th) in that span. It should be noted that he played against the Cleveland Browns last week.
  • The play of Philadelphia Eagles veteran Donovan McNabb may be as consistent as any point in his career. His QBER ranking in each of the last six weeks: fourth, fourth, second, third, third, and third.
  • San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers earned the Mr. Clean Award last week. In 22 pass plays, he did not have a scramble, sack, fumble, or interception.


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