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Deus Irae

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Another factor in the "winning" stat is when they lost, to whom did they lose? For example, Steve Young may be the most snake-bitten QB when it came to titles. The 1990s 49ers were the "dynasty that could have been", except standing in their way was a loaded Cowboys team in the first half of the decade and the prime Brett Favre Packers in the second half. The Montana 49ers rarely had to go up against a juggernaut and when they did, it showed (*cough* 49-3 *cough*).

Regards,
Chris
Matthew Stafford is a textbook example of when this would be good to know.


Since entering the NFL in 2009, Matthew Stafford is 8-67 (.106) against teams that finished the season with a winning record.

Matthew Stafford: Record against winning teams | QBs vs winning teams



And, this is obviously a very limited sampling of the total QB pool, but look at the difference between Brady/Mahomes and Rodgers/Watson/Ryan/Prescott.

NFL Quarterback records against winning teams | Sports & Fitness Digest
 

chris_in_sunnyvale

In the Starting Line-Up
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chris_in_sunnyvale

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Now it's time to play "fun with math" using #s from that link...

An Aaron Rodgers-led team has a 0.456 winning percentage against winning teams on average. Let's apply that to his team's expected winning percentage against an average playoff team. Let's also assume a SB title consists of 3 straight wins against such teams. So the odds of his team winning a title in any year are 0.456^3 = 9.48%. He's played 13 years, so he should have won 13 x 9.48% = 1.23 Super Bowls. He's won one, so he's underperformed by 0.23 titles.

Brady should win 0.611^3 = 22.8%. At 19 seasons, that's 4.33 Super Bowls. He's won effing seven. Jesus.

Edit: And we lament the losses in 07, 11 and 17. Heh.

Regards,
Chris
 
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jmt57

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Staff member
@Ice_Ice_Brady - nice work. You obviously put a lot of time and effort into it.

The fact that various decades are represented at the top of the rankings gives this list much more credibility than the majority of "best all-time" lists that appear periodically. Those tend to be far too heavily represented by current or recently retired players.

Comparing players across different eras is an extremely challenging task. The fact that you have adjusted for passer rating based on the year is a big step towards resolving that issue.

Some in this thread have mentioned wins, playoff wins, etc. If that metric is going to be used then it too needs to be adjusted dependent on the year. The number of regular season games played as well as number of playoff games has had several alterations.
  • 1926-32: 11-14 regular season games; no postseason
  • 1933-60: 10-12 regular season games; one postseason game
  • 1961-65: 14 regular season games; one postseason game
  • 1966: 14 regular; max two postseason (first super bowl)
  • 1967-77: 14 regular; max three postseason (two playoff games, plus the SB)
  • 1978-89: 16 regular (15 in '87); max 3-4 postseason games (two wild card games)
  • 1982 (strike): 9 regular; four postseason
  • 1990-2019: 16 regular; 3-4 postseason (playoffs expand from 10 to 12 teams)
  • 2020: 16 regular; 3-4 postseason (playoffs expand from 12 to 14 teams)
  • 2021: ?17? regular, plus 3-4 postseason games
The point being that a change in rules and the way games are officiated is not the only difference resulting in passer stats increasing. Going from a ten to 12 to 14 to 16 regular game season, as well as going from one single championship game to four games between 14 teams, that too will alter number of wins and won-lost percentages. These factors also apply to comparisons and rankings of franchises and other positions across various eras. The playoff wins in particular are difficult to compare; it's almost like you should add two wins for anything prior to 1965.

One tool I have found to be useful when comparing players of different eras is to see where they ranked each year in various statistical categories. To me it creates a far more meaningful picture than raw stats do. It also helps explain how Vinny Testaverde retired with the 6th most career passing yards in NFL history, and Kerry Collins was 9th.

Philip Rivers is an example of the above, and where current era players benefit not only from rules geared to the passing game, but also those rules resulting in longevity - thus larger career numbers. Rivers retired with the fifth most career passing yards, yet was in the top-5 in passing yards only one-third of his 15 years as a starter. In 2006 Rivers ranked 9th with 3,388 passing yards; that number would have put him at #19 this past season.

One caveat to the yearly ranking comparison above: keep in mind there were fewer teams back then, so the further back you go the less meaningful a high ranking is. Ranking fourth in the AFL meant you were average, since it was an eight-team league. For that group it is more along the lines of ranking 2nd then equals 5th now, 3rd=9th, 4th=13th, etc. Same goes for pre-merger NFL, with 16 or fewer teams.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
IF wins were simply team stats, they wouldn't follow the QBs. But they do follow the QBs. It's fair to say that there's not a constant 1:1 equation, but it's not fair to say that wins are simply a team stat that aren't in any way pinned to QBs, either.

I think the entire exercise is based on the idea that quarterbacks are responsible for team success. And then the rest of the debate is the degree to which this isn't a 100% pure idea. But I often have to remind myself that all things about the QB and team are connected, so I've never understood why someone would highly value something like passer rating and then crap on win %. Passer rating is dependent on 10 other guys on the field.
 

Deus Irae

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I think the entire exercise is based on the idea that quarterbacks are responsible for team success. And then the rest of the debate is the degree to which this isn't a 100% pure idea. But I often have to remind myself that all things about the QB and team are connected, so I've never understood why someone would highly value something like passer rating and then crap on win %. Passer rating is dependent on 10 other guys on the field.
Yeah


The notion that wins shouldn't matter with a QB is an odd one to say the least. There's a difference between saying something like "Wins aren't the end all and be all, and they must be put into context when you're doing something like ranking QBs throughout history" and what Yukon is saying. I mean, it's a team sport, so every single position is dependent on other positions to some degree, but we know that the QB is both the most dependent, and the most impactful. So, of course, one measurement of impact will be wins.
 

Ivan

Hall of Fame Poster
Brady would have the score to get in back in 2003, though it was closer to the cutoff. See ranking below.

Mahomes is really high because he's on a ridiculous pace and should make it if he retired tomorrow. In three seasons, he's probably created more value than some Hall of Fame guys have in their caeers. Winning at 80%,, he's 30 games over .500. Winning 65% of your games, which is well above Hall of Fame standard, it would take about 100 games and six seasons (twice Mahomes) to be at +30. And this outlier stuff is all algned very well in his championship/playoff score, his accolades, and his adjusted passer rating. So really, there's not much of an argument that he's already achieved Hall of Fame value, and not just that, but he's pretty obvious unless people have some kind of rule of thumb.

Pretty remarkable stuff, but I'm guessing Aaron Rodgers would have already met the threshold after 2011 too. The thing is, though, these guys have somewhat maxed out their efficiency scores. The formula does account for a dip as it expects a slight regression to the mean, so someone like Mahomes won't fall off, but he's also only moving up to another class by winning championships. There's just no other way. Rodgers has likely been in the top 20 for 10 years, but even years of MVPs, all-pros, etc. don't move the needle enough. You need those titles. Otherwise, Rodgers will always be someone hovering around #9-12...and will likely get passed before long too.

View attachment 30852
The debate on Mahomes brings me to the idea that Brady had 3 separate HOF caliber careers. Mahomes has already played in 2 Super Bowls, winning 1, and He has been in 3 AFCChampionships, winning 2. He’s got off the chart passing numbers and a great win loss %, so just a few more seasons like this and he will have had a HOF worthy career, and regardless of what happens after that. 1 more Lombardi, and 2-3 more seasons playing at the level he’s played at so far should make him a lock.
 

BobDigital

Pro Bowl Player
Super bowl appearances is kind of a weird stat and so should be weighted down slightly. Take Montana for instance. During his time the NFCCG was the real super bowl. The AFC was well behind the NFL at that time. Just like in the 70s the AFC most dominated. It shouldn't be held against Bradshaw he went to only 4 either. Also there should be a weighted cost to championship games that weren't a super bowl. Fewer teams mean a higher chance to win championships after all.

I don't know how you do it, but something needs to be done about Otto Graham. His browns were in the AAFC from 46-49 and then the NFL from 50-55. The AAFC was clearly at least a half step below the NFL at the time. This led to inflated numbers. His Browns were easily good enough (as was he) to be in the NFL but they beat up on weaker competition. Everything went down the instant he joined the NFL. Stats, win %, championship wins. His Browns were still likely the best team in the NFL at the time, but at least they faced fairer competition

Otto Graham vs AAFC 4 championships 4 appearances 86 TD 41 Ints 47 wins 4 losses 3 ties 99.1 passer rating
Otto Graham vs NFL 3 championships 6 appearances 88 TDs 94 Ints 57 wins 13 losses 1 tie 78.2 passer rating

Was Graham still a great player and poineer for his position? Yes. Is he still a HOF and arguably the best QB of the pre super bowl era? Yes. But he was not as good as his numbers say. He was a major league player on a major league team playing in what was akin to the minors for 4/10s of his career. That has massively inflated his legend. Which is good enough without it clearly.

Edit: Slight correction for you. Graham appeared in 10 championship games and won 7. You had a different number
 

BaconGrundleCandy

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pretty cool

i still have a hard time placing much weight on 'wins' when looking at QBs......wins are team stats, and i have a hard time letting go of that.....yes, a QB directs an offense that is one of the major components of a teams performance........but.....it's still a team stat
I've always agreed with this. At the same time I have seen so many "good" teams lose a game by 3-7 points, playing really well and almost win despite their QB. Maybe just weigh it less if possible?
 

stinkypete

In the Starting Line-Up
I think the entire exercise is based on the idea that quarterbacks are responsible for team success. And then the rest of the debate is the degree to which this isn't a 100% pure idea. But I often have to remind myself that all things about the QB and team are connected, so I've never understood why someone would highly value something like passer rating and then crap on win %. Passer rating is dependent on 10 other guys on the field.
I'm going to use this to argue that there is some bias towards pre-1950's QBs. For example, Tommy Thompson and Ed Danowski ranking above Dan Fouts or Warren Moon or Eli Manning is suspect at best. We have to consider that the relationship between QB success and team success didn't emerge until around the time of the Otto Graham Browns. However, I am picking nits at this point.

This entire board needs to get over its Peyton Manning hate. I hated the hell out of Peyton, but by no objective measure could I rank him any lower than 3rd all time. Despite some playoff chokes, his teams were in the thick of it every single year but two from 1999 - 2015. After all, I recall our GOAT had a ten year run of playoff chokes himself. Give the man some respect. To deny Peyton's status as a top 3 all time QB is willful ignorance.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
I also think it's natural for biases to skew towards modern QBs. The sophistication in passing offenses, the specialization in defensive substitution patterns, the game planning against offenses and QBs in particular have all gotten better year after year, learning from past mistakes and successes. So much more falls on the QB than ever before.

Could a legend from the old days, even with today's advantages in training, video review, etc. read a modern-day nickel D in real time and make the correct throw against a much faster D than what they played against? Could a naturally gifted athlete like John Elway go back to then, lose the benefits of modern training, etc. and light up the teams of those days and win titles in the process? He went to 5 SBs and won 2. I don't think it's a stretch to say he could. I'm not sure about the former scenario, though.

Regards,
Chris

This is exactly what I’m looking at too.

I’ve put an era adjusted passer rating score and a pure passer rating score. You can specify how much you want it to lean towards one way. The era-adusted one, in my opinion should have most of the weight. At the same time, there is something to be said about Sid Luckman lapping someone like Troy Aikman when it comes to their performance score. Neither way of looking at it is really wrong, especially when you consider, in my spreadsheet anyway, that passer rating is the only thing that can provide some advantage for a modern player since winning pct, championships, and awards are all peer-adjusted. The way I’d prefer to tweak it is by making it an era-adjusted ranking but favoring the modern player in a tiebreaker. So a guy like Steve Young should have a little better score than a guy like Roger Staubach.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
Now it's time to play "fun with math" using #s from that link...

An Aaron Rodgers-led team has a 0.456 winning percentage against winning teams on average. Let's apply that to his team's expected winning percentage against an average playoff team. Let's also assume a SB title consists of 3 straight wins against such teams. So the odds of his team winning a title in any year are 0.456^3 = 9.48%. He's played 13 years, so he should have won 13 x 9.48% = 1.23 Super Bowls. He's won one, so he's underperformed by 0.23 titles.

Brady should win 0.611^3 = 22.8%. At 19 seasons, that's 4.33 Super Bowls. He's won effing seven. Jesus.

Edit: And we lament the losses in 07, 11 and 17. Heh.

Regards,
Chris

How would you calculate the chances of a .700 team winning a Super Bowl in a season? Or a .600 team? This doesn’t assume they’re automatically in the playoffs.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
are they pinned to kickers who kick a game winning FG?

are they pinned to the '85 bears defense?

i know they ARE pinned to QB's......i just don't agree to it

are their times and teams where the QB bears more of the responsibility for the success.....sure.....just like there are times they bear too much of the blame, or really DIDN'T contribute any more to the win than any other player, or even less

but was trent dilfer's record really 10-1 with the Ravens in 2000.......or did the Ravens win 10 of 11 with Dilfer in at QB........

it's just a hard number to quantify, and to attribute wins as a stat to a QB imho doesn't really hold up that well

you HAVE to use team success and playoff success as a means to quantify who's the greatest, I guess...........but to simply say QB Y's record was 100-82 is a gross over simplification of the game

hell, i've seen very, very compelling arguments why wins shouldn't be a starting pitcher stat, and they have a way, way more influence on the outcome of a game than a QB does

just a pet peeve of mine.........doesn't take away from a very interesting tool

You bring up some good points. There’s never a perfect way to quantify this.

Regarding the randomness and football and the idea of good fortune of playing with a great all-time defense or getting a lucky field goal, I think my goal is make sure none of those things alone can cause a major difference in the rankings. It’s the totality of their careers together that forms the final score. Guys like Trent Dilfer and Jim McMahon are way down the list, as their championships are very heavily outweighed by other factors.
 

chris_in_sunnyvale

In the Starting Line-Up
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How would you calculate the chances of a .700 team winning a Super Bowl in a season? Or a .600 team? This doesn’t assume they’re automatically in the playoffs.
Well, a 0.700 team is 11.2 wins. If we round down to 11, we know only two 11-win teams have ever missed the playoffs. So, let's put the "making playoffs" odds at 99.5%. After that, it's up to the odds against each playoff opponent. Let's assume 3 wins to a title. Let's assume the following odds in each game:

- Divisional: 70% chance of victory
- Conference title game: 40% chance of victory (assume game against #1 seed)
- SB: 50% chance of victory

Then the odds of winning a title are 0.995 x 0.7 x 0.4 x 0.5 = 13.9%.

For a 0.600 team, that's 9.6 wins, so you're a 9--10 win team. I'm guessing such teams make the playoffs 70% of the time, but I'm sure this number is available somewhere. You're also likely looking at a 4th playoff game, so assuming the opponents line up as:

WC: 50%
Div: 40%
CCG: 35%
SB: 30%

The odds in total would be 0.7 x 0.5 x 0.4 x 0.35 x 0.3 = 1.47%

I'm sure there are averages available of the winning percentage in a single playoff game of 9, 10, 11, 12, etc. win teams. To simplify the math, that same percentage could be used for each playoff game like I did with my Rodgers and Brady examples.

Regards,
Chris

P.S. This also highlights how huge the bye is. One less % to bring down the championship odds.
 

Tony2046

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I'm going to use this to argue that there is some bias towards pre-1950's QBs. For example, Tommy Thompson and Ed Danowski ranking above Dan Fouts or Warren Moon or Eli Manning is suspect at best. We have to consider that the relationship between QB success and team success didn't emerge until around the time of the Otto Graham Browns. However, I am picking nits at this point.

This entire board needs to get over its Peyton Manning hate. I hated the hell out of Peyton, but by no objective measure could I rank him any lower than 3rd all time. Despite some playoff chokes, his teams were in the thick of it every single year but two from 1999 - 2015. After all, I recall our GOAT had a ten year run of playoff chokes himself. Give the man some respect. To deny Peyton's status as a top 3 all time QB is willful ignorance.

Yikes. No. Top 3? No.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
Super bowl appearances is kind of a weird stat and so should be weighted down slightly. Take Montana for instance. During his time the NFCCG was the real super bowl. The AFC was well behind the NFL at that time. Just like in the 70s the AFC most dominated. It shouldn't be held against Bradshaw he went to only 4 either. Also there should be a weighted cost to championship games that weren't a super bowl. Fewer teams mean a higher chance to win championships after all.

I don't know how you do it, but something needs to be done about Otto Graham. His browns were in the AAFC from 46-49 and then the NFL from 50-55. The AAFC was clearly at least a half step below the NFL at the time. This led to inflated numbers. His Browns were easily good enough (as was he) to be in the NFL but they beat up on weaker competition. Everything went down the instant he joined the NFL. Stats, win %, championship wins. His Browns were still likely the best team in the NFL at the time, but at least they faced fairer competition

Otto Graham vs AAFC 4 championships 4 appearances 86 TD 41 Ints 47 wins 4 losses 3 ties 99.1 passer rating
Otto Graham vs NFL 3 championships 6 appearances 88 TDs 94 Ints 57 wins 13 losses 1 tie 78.2 passer rating

Was Graham still a great player and poineer for his position? Yes. Is he still a HOF and arguably the best QB of the pre super bowl era? Yes. But he was not as good as his numbers say. He was a major league player on a major league team playing in what was akin to the minors for 4/10s of his career. That has massively inflated his legend. Which is good enough without it clearly.

Edit: Slight correction for you. Graham appeared in 10 championship games and won 7. You had a different number

Good stuff Bob. I’m going to reevaluate the AAFC stuff. I had been assigning it half value with the thinking that Graham won championships half the time when he went to the NFL. That’s why I have the 5 championships and 8 appearances, as a compromise.

May have to reduce this to something like a .25 instead and make sure to separate out NFL passer rating and win %. Maybe just prorate him two NFL seasons, which comes out to about the same thing.

In terms of championship game appearances, I’ve struggled to assign the right weights.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
I'm going to use this to argue that there is some bias towards pre-1950's QBs. For example, Tommy Thompson and Ed Danowski ranking above Dan Fouts or Warren Moon or Eli Manning is suspect at best. We have to consider that the relationship between QB success and team success didn't emerge until around the time of the Otto Graham Browns. However, I am picking nits at this point.

This entire board needs to get over its Peyton Manning hate. I hated the hell out of Peyton, but by no objective measure could I rank him any lower than 3rd all time. Despite some playoff chokes, his teams were in the thick of it every single year but two from 1999 - 2015. After all, I recall our GOAT had a ten year run of playoff chokes himself. Give the man some respect. To deny Peyton's status as a top 3 all time QB is willful ignorance.

Fouts and Moon are two interesting players, statistically. I have been working on a way to move guys like that up the list without affecting others too much. There needs to be some more weight for longevity and playing at a pro bowl level over many years. It seems obvious, but the problem is it tends to cause a big “double dipping” problem at the top, where you’re redundantly giving more value to guys who don’t need and making the order up there more random. You reward Moon and Fouts by upping the value for longevity and pro bowls, and now Manning‘s 17 seasons vs. Montana’s 11, and Favre‘s long career versus Staubach’s short one, come into play. Trying to find some formulas that work though.
 
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Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
@Ice_Ice_Brady - nice work. You obviously put a lot of time and effort into it.

The fact that various decades are represented at the top of the rankings gives this list much more credibility than the majority of "best all-time" lists that appear periodically. Those tend to be far too heavily represented by current or recently retired players.

Comparing players across different eras is an extremely challenging task. The fact that you have adjusted for passer rating based on the year is a big step towards resolving that issue.

Some in this thread have mentioned wins, playoff wins, etc. If that metric is going to be used then it too needs to be adjusted dependent on the year. The number of regular season games played as well as number of playoff games has had several alterations.
  • 1926-32: 11-14 regular season games; no postseason
  • 1933-60: 10-12 regular season games; one postseason game
  • 1961-65: 14 regular season games; one postseason game
  • 1966: 14 regular; max two postseason (first super bowl)
  • 1967-77: 14 regular; max three postseason (two playoff games, plus the SB)
  • 1978-89: 16 regular (15 in '87); max 3-4 postseason games (two wild card games)
  • 1982 (strike): 9 regular; four postseason
  • 1990-2019: 16 regular; 3-4 postseason (playoffs expand from 10 to 12 teams)
  • 2020: 16 regular; 3-4 postseason (playoffs expand from 12 to 14 teams)
  • 2021: ?17? regular, plus 3-4 postseason games
The point being that a change in rules and the way games are officiated is not the only difference resulting in passer stats increasing. Going from a ten to 12 to 14 to 16 regular game season, as well as going from one single championship game to four games between 14 teams, that too will alter number of wins and won-lost percentages. These factors also apply to comparisons and rankings of franchises and other positions across various eras. The playoff wins in particular are difficult to compare; it's almost like you should add two wins for anything prior to 1965.

One tool I have found to be useful when comparing players of different eras is to see where they ranked each year in various statistical categories. To me it creates a far more meaningful picture than raw stats do. It also helps explain how Vinny Testaverde retired with the 6th most career passing yards in NFL history, and Kerry Collins was 9th.

Philip Rivers is an example of the above, and where current era players benefit not only from rules geared to the passing game, but also those rules resulting in longevity - thus larger career numbers. Rivers retired with the fifth most career passing yards, yet was in the top-5 in passing yards only one-third of his 15 years as a starter. In 2006 Rivers ranked 9th with 3,388 passing yards; that number would have put him at #19 this past season.

One caveat to the yearly ranking comparison above: keep in mind there were fewer teams back then, so the further back you go the less meaningful a high ranking is. Ranking fourth in the AFL meant you were average, since it was an eight-team league. For that group it is more along the lines of ranking 2nd then equals 5th now, 3rd=9th, 4th=13th, etc. Same goes for pre-merger NFL, with 16 or fewer teams.

Great post.

What I’m trying to do is break it down by seasons. So I’ll take someone like Brady and divide his total career games by 16. For the 14-game era, I divide by 14. The old timers, sometimes it’s 11 or 12. If it’s a split, I’ll usually just do a quick math estimate (like perhaps 15 if the player was right in between the schedule expansion.)

By standardizing it by season, I’m able to then apply winning pct uniformly. I’m trying to apply some value like this:

A .700 quarterback gets you a +.400. Because you are .700 wins and .300 in losses. A .600 quarterback is +.200.

So if a player has 10 seasons at .700, you multiply 10 X .400 for a score of 4.0. It isn’t 1.2 wins...just a relative number of 1.2 which can be used to scale or compare to others.
 

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