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Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
So here's the application of the new peak score. A before-and-after would be good here, but here's what it looks like. As suspected, (the impetus for this change), Unitas moves up and Starr moves down. Marino separates from Griese. It solves a lot of problems down the list. Jim McMahon and Joe Theismann are no longer coming up as a Hall of Fame snubs.

Also, I gave a friend of ours a 0.1 passer rating for now to move him down the list so he wouldn't destroy constructive discussion about the top of the list. I think the top tends to dominate how we see the rankings system...but a lot of the bigger issues (believe it or not) are less fixable than adjusting playoff weight to push Manning down or emphasizing era rating to push Young up.

The only guys outside the Hall of Fame predictive index here are Namath and Blanda, which tells me that, for a Hall of Fame monitor, the AFL accomplishments are vasly overrated. They're not only getting full credit for their accomplishments but I think also getting like 2X or 3X the weight because of historical factors.

This is also the first time I think Eli is about where he should be.

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Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
I should have just put Unitas and Starr in this era to make things easier to evaluate against each other and stop the freaking out about their placements...that's the thing about the all-time list...a drop of or rise of 5 spots isn't really that big a deal. They're still in the same tier but different emphasis on the intra-tier order.

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Bleedthrough

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
So here's the application of the new peak score. A before-and-after would be good here, but here's what it looks like. As suspected, (the impetus for this change), Unitas moves up and Starr moves down. Marino separates from Griese. It solves a lot of problems down the list. Jim McMahon and Joe Theismann are no longer coming up as a Hall of Fame snubs.

Also, I gave a friend of ours a 0.1 passer rating for now to move him down the list so he wouldn't destroy constructive discussion about the top of the list. I think the top tends to dominate how we see the rankings system...but a lot of the bigger issues (believe it or not) are less fixable than adjusting playoff weight to push Manning down or emphasizing era rating to push Young up.

The only guys outside the Hall of Fame predictive index here are Namath and Blanda, which tells me that, for a Hall of Fame monitor, the AFL accomplishments are vasly overrated. They're not only getting full credit for their accomplishments but I think also getting like 2X or 3X the weight because of historical factors.

This is also the first time I think Eli is about where he should be.

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Brady with a sizable lead over #2.

I do think Namath is historically overrated because of his guarantee. He didn’t do anything spectacular in that Super Bowl, but he didn’t really need to because the defense shut down Morrall and Unitas. I was also surprised to see his career win/loss is 62-63–4.
 
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Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
Now that the
Brady with a sizable lead over #2.

I do think Namath is historically overrated because of his guarantee. He didn’t do anything spectacular in that Super Bowl, but he didn’t really need to because the defense shut down Morrall and Unitas. I was also surprised to see his career win/loss is 62-63–4.

I don't believe there's even a 1% chance Blanda makes the Hall of Fame without the AFL; maybe a 5% chance for Namath.

Blanda, at his best, was a borderline NFL starter. He came out of retirement and went to the AFL in 1960, at age 33, having won 8 career starts. In the AFL, he got on a pretty stacked team, as Houston had Billy Cannon and some other star players. After Blanda had his peak success from 1960-62, going 28-8, he again quickly regressed...with a 17-30 record the rest of the way. He's a great story of the underdog making a comeback for a second act, and of course, he went on to serve as a backup until at 48. Those are great stories...but there are at least a dozen quarterbacks more worthy of the Hall than him.

Namath, maybe a little stronger argument for the Hall, because he played his prime years in the AFL, so there's some argument he might have been decent in the NFL, too, but I don't think he would have been. After the merger, 1 pro bowl selection in 8 seasons. His best record was 7-6. He was never that great in the AFL - solid but flawed - and average in the NFL. At his peak in the AFL, he was a big volume guy with a ton of passes and a ton of turnovers, too.
 

Bleedthrough

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
@Ice_Ice_Brady I'm assuming Graham's 34.40 score is his NFL years only according to the chart? Was going over some things in my data yesterday and running into the same problems you've had. AAFC and AFL may be given too much credit.

I completely agree about Blanda and Namath.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
@Ice_Ice_Brady I'm assuming Graham's 34.40 score is his NFL years only according to the chart? Was going over some things in my data yesterday and running into the same problems you've had. AAFC and AFL may be given too much credit.

I completely agree about Blanda and Namath.

The point total is off right now because I'm working on scaling it...the 34.40 is just short of Graham's full total because it's accounting for a period of time and then shrinking everyone's score proportionately. If you run everything according to norms, you'll usually get Brady's score around 50-55, depending on some variables, and then Montana and Graham are around the 38-42 range.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
I know people get all worked up about certain guys being left out of the Hall of Fame, but usually those players are borderline cases.

Red Dunn is not just the best football player not in the Hall; I'm willing to bet there's no one even close in any of the four major sports. It's bizarre that a handful of his contemporaries are in, considering he was better than all of them, won 4 championships (with two different teams), dragged Paddy Driscoll to his only championship, and was considered to by Curly Lambeau to be the best QB he ever coached. Lambeau is often credited for the late 20s/early 30s Packers successs, but the fact is, as a player, he stopped playing QB at a high level in the mid-20s. Dunn had just won a championship with the Cardinals and went to the Packers, where he won 3 more and was, besides Friedman, arguably the best passer in football. At the time, the quarterbacking standards, like all-pro, pro bowl, etc. took kicking, punting, defense, running, etc. into consideration. It's like the league didn't realize that Dunn was the greatest of his generation because during that time, the passing game was still considered some kind of gimmick, and they haven't bothered correcting it.

I'm wondering if his Wikipedia article is actually some kind of prank...stating he was a running back and great punter, when he was the passsing quarterback and among the league leaders every year in TD passes. In fact, what I'm seeing with all of these numbers...is that Dunn was the first actual great quarterback...though many of his peers could legitimately be accused of being running backs. I've been separating out the actual passing game responsibilities.
 
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Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
I've brought up two guys lately who are going to be pretty high up the charts when all of the stats and accolades have been accounted for. I've been compiling all of the touchdown passes from the 1920-32 period, where they're not listed in PFR, so you have to pull them out of the game logs. I'll post a longer thread about the method I'm using, but here's something interesting here...it's a chart of the career passing leaders after 1929 (without adding Friedman's 1929s season yet.)

Red Dunn - So, this guy has the most touchdown passes, and in 29, he won his second championship, this time with the Packers. Just as he went to the Cardinals and won with a team that Driscoll could never win with, he went to the Packers and won with a team that Lambeau could never win with. That is, itself, a sure-fire Hall of Fame career. But he isn't done. He would lead the Packers to another championship in 1930, stringing along something like 25 straight wins. And a 3-peat in 1931. And while he was mostly replaced by Herber in 1932, he still would have been an active player during a 4-peat in 1932...if it weren't for a controverial seeding/playoff issue that ultimately led to the first every championship game playoff in 1933. But just think how absurd Dunn's resume is and how he isn't in the Hall.

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Benny Friedman - I said I hadn't added his touchdown total for the 29 season yet to highlight Dunn's accomplishments...but here it is: 20 touchdowns in 1929, which basically desroys this list. He throws for, in one season, more touchdowns that all but two other guys have thrown for in the 10 preceeding years. That brings his total to 41..and he's accumulated that total in just three seasons, with three different teams.

I should point out that the league, at this point, isn't some gigantic crapper with a bunch of semi-pro teams mixed in. Around 1927, those teams all bit the dust and the best players consolidated with about 12 teams instead of 20. Standardized schedules, more consistent competition. The passing game was finally settling in...teams were catching on to its value. So Friedman may be wearing a leather helmet, but he isn't out there throwing against JV squads.

So if you're wondering how this unknown dude from the 1920s can jump over Dan Marino on the list, if you're really valuing an era-adjusted peak score, well, I've actually tried to adjust it downwards to be conservative, but it's hard to overstate Friedman's impact. He's arguably the most important ever in terms of breaking the ceiling and influencing the next generation (Herber, Baugh, Luckman.)

BONUS:

The 1930 championship, if they'd played it instead of the stupid non-playoff format they had, would have matched up the 13-1-1 Giants (2) and the 12-0-1 Packers (1) in a rematch from the regular season.

It's really hard to assign points for the championships pre-1933 when it went by win %. For one thing, you want to reward the 2nd place team, and even the 3rd place team, with a bigger share than usual.
 
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Bleedthrough

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
I've brought up two guys lately who are going to be pretty high up the charts when all of the stats and accolades have been accounted for. I've ben compiling all of the touchdown passes from the 1920-32 period, where they're not listed in PFR, so you have to pull them out of the game logs. I'll post a longer thread about the method I'm using, but here's something interesting here...it's a chart of the career passing leaders after 1929 (without adding Friedman's 1929s season yet.)

Red Dunn - So, this guy has the most touchdown passes, and in 29, he won his second championship, this time with the Packers. Just as he went to the Cardinals and won with a team that Driscoll could never win with, he went to the Packers and won with a team that Lambeau could never win with. That is, itself, a sure-fire Hall of Fame career. But he isn't done. He would lead the Packers to another championship in 1930, stringing along something like 25 straight wins. And a 3-peat in 1931. And what should have been a 4-peat in 1932...if it weren't for a controverial seeding/playoff issue that ultimately led to the first every championship game playoff in 1933. But just think how absurd Dunn's resume is and how he isn't in the Hall.

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Benny Friedman - I said I hadn't added his touchdown total for the 29 season yet to highlight Dunn's accomplishments...but here it is: 20 touchdowns in 1929, which basically desroys this list. He throws for, one season, more touchdowns that all but two other guys have thrown for in the 10 preceeding years. That brings his total to 41..and he's accumulated that total in just three seasons, with three different teams.

I should point out that the league, at this point, isn't some gigantic crapper with a bunch of semi-pro teams mixed in. Around 1927, those teams all bit the dust and the best players consolidated with about 12 teams instead of 20. Standardized schedules, more consistent competition. The passing game was finally settling in...teams were catching on to its value. So Friedman may be wearing a leather helmet, but he isn't out there throwing against JV squads.

So if you're wondering how this unknown dude from the 1920s can jump over Dan Marino on the list, if you're really valuing an era-adjusted peak score, well, I've actually tried to adjust it downwards to be conservative, but it's hard to overstate Friedman's impact. He's arguably the most important ever in terms of breaking the ceiling and influencing the next generation (Herber, Baugh, Luckman.)

BONUS:

The 1930 championship, if they'd played it instead of the stupid non-playoff format they had, would have matched up the 13-1-1 Giants (2) and the 12-0-1 Packers (1) in a rematch from the regular season.

It's really hard to assign points for the championships pre-1933 when it went by win %. For one thing, you want to reward the 2nd place team, and even the 3rd place team, with a bigger share than usual.
Fascinating stuff. Can't say enough about the great work you're doing.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
Just want to clarify what I'm planning to do with this thread....I'm going through the 1920-1932 era right now and focusing heavily on the QBs, their roles in the offense, and how to assign points, without breaking away from the rest of the methods I'm using. The difference in this era is that we don't have effficiency stats. We we know how many TDs a QB threw for, and what the league average is, and I'm working on using those to give a performance score; by switching the peak score to touchdowns over league avg, that also helps us with this era.

The biggest factors:

1. How do we assign points to a quarterback with consistency across eras? I'm focusing on the degree that a quarterback is actually a passing quarterback. For 1920-1932, that means looking at the TD passes to see what pct. they are to the team's total TD passes. If the team has 12 and the "QB" has 2, then he would be mostly a QB in name only, by the standards we're using today, and frankly, we should be comparing someome like that to a running back in today's game. This is going to have some consequences from 1920-32. Players who were all-decade or Hall of Fame at the QB position might not be ranked as high when only their passing contributions are boiled out.

I'm also likely going to add a percentage-based multiplier to end of year awards. So an all-pro award for a QB who threw 1 TD passes isn't going to give many points; same with championships. We're looking at: to what degree did this person earn awards, win championships, and win games due to his passing skills. I might be creating a synthetic all-star nod (they didn't have a pro bowl back then) for players who meet a certain criteria, such as most TD passes that year, etc. This is only pre-1932.

2. To what degree is the quarterback fully responsible for being the QB? Since a lot of these guys were platooning, they receive less credit. Some players only threw about 25% of the team's TD passes, so it follows they should not get as much credit as a guy who threw all of his team's TD passes. This is the main reason why most of the guys in the 1920s aren't going to stack up with modern players...not really the touchdown totals and smaller numbers but the lesser number of actual seasons they played, when you consider that many only played a few seasons at QB when it's all adjusted for passing responsibility.

This is is going to be even more interesting when we get into the next era, 1933-1950, because we have the passer ratings and passing attempts, but we're still looking at QB responsibility. So guys like Sammy Baugh and Sid Luckman, for example, are going to be effected for their win/loss responsibility and the end of year awards. If Sammy Baugh played 65% of QB snaps one season and was all-pro, it follows that he's likely going to get 65% of the accolades. I will have some sliding scale where at like 75-80%, the player gets almost full credit. But overall, we want to make sure guys aren't getting their other skills - like punting, defense, etc. - mixed in too much with their passing/quarterbacking skills. I think in 1950, that's when we start getting into the 100% "starting quarterback" territory where guys are evaluated, awarded, etc. based on their offensive skills and there's a high correlation to passer rating. And that's also the year when starting QB record becomes recorded.

I'm still using the simple data points - same as before - but I'm looking to make adjustments in those ways. Because of this, I can just include these guys without applying some kind of blanket deduction, and hopefully the scores will come out right, within their own eras, and also when compared to other eras.

So I'll continue with 1920-1932 until I've entered in everyone who threw a TD passes; I'm also at that point now, and then post more details on the rankings and methods. Then I'll be moving onto 1933-1949 and, while using a lot of the same methods, be looking at the specific challenges posed by that era. For one, we have some of the "backup" and "platoon" QBs being pretty big contributors in that era. I'll also be going through how to address the AAFC/Graham. After that, 1950-1968, which has some more tricky situations with starter/backup designations on some teams (like the Giants) and also the AFL point assignments.
 

betterthanthealternative

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
I grew up and fell in love with football with Sonny J as my QB. Still love watching him work. And have yet to see someone with better touch on the ball.



So here's the application of the new peak score. A before-and-after would be good here, but here's what it looks like. As suspected, (the impetus for this change), Unitas moves up and Starr moves down. Marino separates from Griese. It solves a lot of problems down the list. Jim McMahon and Joe Theismann are no longer coming up as a Hall of Fame snubs.

Also, I gave a friend of ours a 0.1 passer rating for now to move him down the list so he wouldn't destroy constructive discussion about the top of the list. I think the top tends to dominate how we see the rankings system...but a lot of the bigger issues (believe it or not) are less fixable than adjusting playoff weight to push Manning down or emphasizing era rating to push Young up.

The only guys outside the Hall of Fame predictive index here are Namath and Blanda, which tells me that, for a Hall of Fame monitor, the AFL accomplishments are vasly overrated. They're not only getting full credit for their accomplishments but I think also getting like 2X or 3X the weight because of historical factors.

This is also the first time I think Eli is about where he should be.

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Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
I grew up and fell in love with football with Sonny J as my QB. Still love watching him work. And have yet to see someone with better touch on the ball.


It's a testament to his skills that he has no championship points (not even an appearance) and doesn't have fantastic accolades (he has some all-pros, but he played for 17 years), and he's still ranked roughly top 5 of his era and top 25 post-merger. He is the first QB to appear on the list without even a runner-up.
 

Bleedthrough

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
It's a testament to his skills that he has no championship points (not even an appearance) and doesn't have fantastic accolades (he has some all-pros, but he played for 17 years), and he's still ranked roughly top 5 of his era and top 25 post-merger. He is the first QB to appear on the list without even a runner-up.
Being in the top 25 post-merger is quite the accomplishment considering he’s 0-0 in the playoffs as well.
 
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Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
Why don't people have cool names nowadays?

1920-1931 All-Name Team (1 TD pass, minimum)

Elmer Oliphant
Father Lumpkin
Wild Bill Kelly
Johnny Blood
Rip King
Rat Watson
Sonny Winters
Shorty Barr
Cub Buck
Hoot Flanagan
Dick Vick
Wildcat Wilson
Bullet Baker
Frosty Peters
Tiny Feather
 
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Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
1920-1931

Finished the data entry and basicaly finished with the formulas. Here's the methodology I used to rank the quarterbacks from this era, and there are only about 5-6 of them whose career extends from pre-1931 to post-1931, so for those guys, I'm able to smooth out the transition from the old stats to passer rating.

Tables and Indexes Used

A chart of the seasons played and the passing TDs each season...I then took the total number of games played in the league in order to standardize the average TDs/team. The number on the left is the on referenced at PFR; the number on the right is a slight variation due to standarizing. This smoothes out the problems with a leagues where there are like 20 teams, some of them playing 5 games, some of them playing 13 games.

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Index of Season Standings with no alternations.

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List of every player who threw a passing touchdown and which season/team. It took me a few hours to go through 1923, but after that the season TD logs are are centralized on PFF and

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That's it, folks. Standings, touchdowns per player/season, and the average touchdowns per year. Those are the only three data points being used to generate this entire ranking system. I know it sounds crazy, but I'll go through the the ways this data goes a long way. The one other thing is just the all-pro selections, but those were simple to add.
 

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Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
TD Passes are used to (a) assign a performance score (TD Rating %) and (b) assign a win/loss responsibility record.

The TD Rating % is based on .500 being average. So if the league average is 4 TDs, and a player throws 6 TDs, he might have a score of around ~.650. There are a couple here early on with really high scores, but those are blips because of the low TD average (they're quickly taken down by being small sample sizes)...the scoresnormalize as the TD rates go up around the league, it standardizes performance and getting higher than .700 is really difficult, maybe just for a few guys per season.

I also convert passer rating into a number like this, so this is nothing new. A guy with a score of .500 would be a like a QB with a passer rating of 75 in the 70s or 92 in present day. They're all adjusted and converted into a percentage, with .500 being average.

So that's performance, and next is the win/loss/tie, which is where the QBs TD passes are compared against his own teammates rather than against the league. The win/loss record is based on the percentage of TD passes. I'm also assigning that percentage to championship points, but there's more of a cutoff...guys don't get 15% of championships. If someone has over 50% of the passing TDs, he gets the full share, but in cases where there's a committee approach and no one is over 50%, you might have a few players sharing responsibility, each getting a 50% share..but they still need to have over 25% of the TD passes.

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For accolades, I mentioned before I'm pretty leery of the all-pro awards handed out because they're not focused on passing stats so much as the overall quarterback play, which at that time included defense, running, kicking, etc....so here's what I went with:

-The top 3 TD passers each year get an all-star nod (since they didn't actually have those back then)
-The guys who were voted all-pro keep their all-pros, along with an all-star nod, provided they were specifically given all-pro nods at the quarterback posiiton and not at another position.
-You can't double dip for any seson.

I'll note again that players don't "win" ponts in these rankings by winning accolades. The accolades serve to confirm or deny the level of play that's already suggested in their winning pct and performance score. Since we don't have a ton to go off of here, this is just the best we can do...using the actual awards but also trying to fill in some gaps since we're looking for different quarterbacking achievements than the voters of that day were.

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Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
Here are your overall touchdown leaders from 1920-31

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But - let's remember that this is all era-adjusted. So we're even adjusting within the era...throwing 10 TD passes in 1924 is a lot better than throwing 10 passes in 1930. This is a weighted scale of who threw what pct. of TDs in which season and how that compares to average.

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Now, those flukey guys at the top with their max winning pct aren't going too far...why? Because the system is based on establishing a larger sample size...so here's when you add in the games/seasons played perspective...

The chart below isn't perfect because it's using a straight up "wins added" type of measure when the system uses something in between...Friedman will come out ahead of Dunn in the end...but the list is pretty close now. For one, peak score isn't included in this chart...but the tiers are forming nicely.

You might notice the ~ Passing Seasons in column 1 are smaller numbers...and that's why these guys will stack up well with each other but it will be an uphill battle rank Ernie Nevers over Dan Fouts. Nevers has been responsible, roughly, for five seasons of being the team's passing quarterback. Some guys get 5 seasons by playing 10 seasons where they get 50% of snaps; other guys like Friedman get there by playing 5 seasons with all of the QB passing production.

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Finally...here are the win loss records, adjusted for team responsibility, along with the championship shares and accolades.

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Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
@Bleedthrough

Atop the rankings, what's good for Marino, Unitas, etc. is not so good for Montana, Graham, and Starr. That's not suprising though because if those guys are going to move up, it's gong to be at someone else's expense. For Montana, it's nothing major that he never had a monster season where he threw 42 TDs; all of his other stats fill in that gap, and it's not like he has a bad score...just not other worldly.

Starr, on the other hand, didn't have a season where he threw the league average for TD passes. That's going to be hard to overcome; I personally don't put too much stock into that, but I think the option should be there to adjust for it. I would personally put it at about half of where I had it before; it would move Unitas/Marino types up and do the job down the list but not so extreme.

Graham is the surprising faller. His passer rating is so dominant that it's easy to overlook his big numbers really aren't that impressive. 20 TDs at his peak is the same number Benny Friedman threw for 32 years prior. Graham's fall in the recent rankings were all about that peak score...his AAFC experience barely even effects his score. He gets credit for four full additional seasons prorated at the same rate as his NFL experience; it's almost the same...just a few ticks down. Graham's ranking score has gone through a bunch of iterations with trying to be consistent with leagues, awards, championships, but none of the changes are dramatic....basing a peak score on TD volume per season is the area where he's not as strong as others in the top 10.
 
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Bleedthrough

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
@Bleedthrough

Atop the rankings, what's good for Marino, Unitas, etc. is not so good for Montana, Graham, and Starr. That's not suprising though because if those guys are going to move up, it's gong to be at someone else's expense. For Montana, it's nothing major that he never had a monster season where he threw 42 TDs; all of his other stats fill in that gap, and it's not like he has a bad score...just not other worldly.

Starr, on the other hand, didn't have a season where he threw the league average for TD passes. That's going to be hard to overcomine; I personally don't put too much stock into that, but I think the option should be there to adjust for it. I would personally put it at about half of where I had it before; it would move Unitas/Marino types up and do the job down the list but not so extreme.

Graham is the surprising faller. His passer rating is so dominant that it's easy to overlook his big numbers really aren't that impressive. 20 TDs at his peak is the same number Benny Friedman threw for 32 years prior. Graham's fall in the recent rankings were all about that peak score...his AAFC experience barely even effects his score. He gets credit for four full additional seasons prorated at the same rate as his NFL experience; it's almost the same...just a few ticks down. Graham's ranking score has gone through a bunch of iterations with trying to be consistent with leagues, awards, championships, but none of the changes are dramatic....basing a peak score on TD volume per season is the area where he's not as strong as others in the top 10.
Great stuff. I'm learning a lot about 1920-1931.

Do you have a screenshot of the current rankings? I'd be curious to see the scores for the five quarterbacks you mentioned above. It makes sense that Montana, Graham, and Starr would take a hit if looking at monster seasons. Graham is very interesting though. Perhaps I need to take a deeper dive into his career.
 

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