All posts by Adam Steele

QB Defensive Support: Part 2

Last week I outlined my methodology for measuring QB defensive support, and looked at the best and worst seasons using that metric. Today’s post will explore the career numbers for the 107 quarterbacks in my study. I originally planned to simply tally the seasonal numbers without adjustment, but that presented a problem: The top of the support leaderboard was disproportionately filled with QB’s who were exceptional at avoiding interceptions. This makes sense because throwing picks generally makes it harder to prevent the opponent from scoring,…

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QB Defensive Support: Part 1

I’ll start by stating the obvious: QB wins is a terrible metric for evaluating the performance of quarterbacks. But since this criteria remains at the forefront of the public discourse about NFL signal callers, I figured it would be worthwhile to provide some important context. The game of football is won and lost in three phases, two of which have very little to do with the QB. In this post I’m going to present a cursory analysis of which QB’s benefited the most and least…

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Surplus Yards: QB Seasons

Earlier this month, I introduced a new stat called Surplus Yards over at Football Perspective. If you haven’t read that post, please do so before perusing the data I’m presenting today. The intro article looked back at the 2017 season, and this post will cover the 24 years for which I have appropriate data. I calculated and archived every 40+ yard completion since 1994. The chart below shows the league average Surplus % for each of the last 24 seasons: The overall average from 1994-2017…

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Greatest QB of All Time: Consensus (2018)

Last year I attempted to distill the public opinion of quarterback greatness into a mathematical formula, but I left out active players which made the ranking feel incomplete (ok, it was incomplete). In this post I’m going to update the list with a new formula and active QB’s included. I have two main purposes for this exercise: 1) To provide a baseline of the general consensus to measure other ranking systems against, and 2) I love to create rankings and look for any excuse to…

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Greatest QB of All Time: 10,000 Careers

Imagine if every QB throughout history could play his career out 10,000 times. Each signal caller would be subjected to the full spectrum of circumstances, ranging from the good fortune of being drafted onto a ready-made dynasty, to the rotten luck of being stuck with a talent starved, mismanaged franchise. In some careers he would manage to play 15+ years without a significant injury, in others he’d spend half of his days on IR or watch his career end suddenly with one unlucky hit. The…

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Positive Yards Per Attempt: Update

If I could only share one thing from my time doing football analytics, it would be the following principle: Positive plays carry more weight than negative plays in determining the winner of a football game. I’ve already written a couple of articles on this subject and hope to further the cause with this update. Overview For those of you who don’t feel like reading the previous two posts, I’ll give you the basic gist. Since passing has a far greater impact on winning than running, I’ve…

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Passing First Downs: Career Rankings

Yesterday I detailed the best and worst QB seasons as measured by first down percentage. Today’s post will reveal how these signal callers stack up over the course of their careers. I chose to exclude any QB who totaled at least 100 dropbacks in any season prior to 1991, because incomplete data can often be worse than no data at all. From there, I’m including QB’s who took a significant numbers of snaps in at least two seasons (a  judgment call). This gives us a…

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Passing First Downs: Best and Worst Seasons

I’m a huge fan of using first downs to measure quarterback performance. Despite ignoring yards, touchdowns, and interceptions, the simple operation of dividing passing 1D by dropbacks does a terrific job of telling us how well a QB has played. Like all statistics, passing 1D% has its flaws, but in my opinion it harbors less distortion than any other simple input passing stat. I place 1D% slightly ahead of NY/A in terms of relevance for making solid evaluations, and miles ahead of everything else. Setting…

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Adjusted Points Per Drive 2016

Last year, I created a metric for measuring offensive efficiency called Adjusted Points Per Drive (AdjPPD). Today I’ll be updating the numbers for 2016. If you aren’t familiar with AdjPPD, I strongly encourage you to read the full explanation here. Overview When measured on a per-drive basis, 2016 was the highest scoring season in the last twenty years, and probably in the history of the NFL (drive stats only go back to 1997, so we can’t be absolutely certain). After adjusting for field position, the average…

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Realigning the NFL

I’ll begin my tenure at GridFe with a relatively light-hearted topic, but it’s a topic that I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about: NFL division alignments and schedules. I am not a fan of the current setup consisting of eight divisions of four teams each. With so few teams in each division, it drastically increases the likelihood of imbalance, and as we’ve witnessed a few times, that imbalance can be extreme. I’m appalled at the yearly occurrence of a mediocre team receiving a…

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