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Big Flaws in ESPN's Total QBR Exposed After Tim Tebow Rates Above Aaron Rodgers

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 09:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos looks to deliver a pass against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 9, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Chargers defeated the Broncos 29-24.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2011

ESPN has been pushing its Total QBR rating system since the preseason when the worldwide leader dedicated an entire show to previewing a new way to judge a quarterback's performance.

However, Week 5 proved the system is far from perfect as it rated Tim Tebow's relief appearance higher than Aaron Rodgers' nearly 400-yard outing.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk expressed his strong opinion about ESPN's invention.

Third, I feel like ESPN is trying to force it down our throats.

I’ll un-ignore the Total QBR long enough to point out that I have found justification for ignoring it: Under the Total QBR, Tim Tebow performed better on Sunday than Aaron Rodgers.

Tebow, who entered the game after another ineffective game from Kyle Orton, completed just 4-of-10 passes for 79 yards during his stint as the Denver Broncos quarterback.

While he did have a nice touchdown run midway through the four quarter, his ensuing touchdown pass was on a screen play, and Knowshon Moreno did all the hard work. Nevertheless, he scored a 83.2 on the 100-point scale.

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 09:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a play against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on October 9, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers to an important NFC win over the Atlanta Falcons, throwing for 396 yards and two touchdowns. He didn't throw an interception and completed two-thirds of his passes. Rodgers' Total QBR? 82.1.

Something doesn't add up.

Even though Denver made a comeback after Tebow entered the game, it fell short. He only completed a handful of passes, including one to Brandon Lloyd which was terribly underthrown and saved by a circus catch.

Rodgers, on the other hand, was dominant once again in leading a lethal Green Bay aerial attack. He threw both his touchdown passes in the second half, first to give his team the lead and then to secure the win.

Traditional quarterback rating gave Rodgers 15-point edge. Tebow compiled a 101.7 QB rating, which is a very good score. It just wasn't better than Rodgers' complete game performance.

So, what are the problems exposed by this situation?

First, the late-game actions of a quarterback appear to be weighted too heavily. Yes, leading your team to a comeback is great, but Rodgers' two touchdowns were actually more important than Tebow's because they earned his team the victory.

Secondly, Total QBR is suppose to feature “dividing credit,” where a quarterback is given less recognition on things like screen plays. It's unclear how much the Moreno's touchdown helped Tebow, but he actually played a very small role in the play.

It's not surprising for there to be flaws in the system considering it's the first year of weekly public use. That said, hopefully ESPN recognized that something wasn't right this weekend and will continue to tweak it moving forward.

Otherwise, like Florio, people will start ignoring it all together.

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