Career Total Adjusted Yards per Play Index Scores

Earlier this week, we looked at the top single quarterback seasons as measured by Total Adjusted Yards per Play (and New TAY/P) Index Scores.1 Today, we’ll take it a step further and look at career Total Adjusted Yards per Play Index Scores. For a full explanation of how I calculated the Index Scores, check out the previous article. The method I used to arrive at career numbers was simple and straightforward:

  1. Find the Index Scores for each season
  2. Multiply each quarterback’s season score by his number of plays in the season
  3. Divide the sum of the QB’s products from step two by the sum of his plays

That’s it. Not complicated at all. Now that you know the methodology, let’s look at the results.

Career Total Adjusted Yards per Play Index Scores

The following table contains TAY/P and New TAY/P Index Scores for every quarterback with at least 750 plays since 1992 (146 QBs in all). It is sorted by NTAYP+, but you can sort and search as you wish. Read the table thus: Steve Young had 3722 plays at a rate of 9.76 TAY/P and 8.19 NTAYP. After accounting for his era, that comes to Index Scores of 124 for TAY/P and 123 for NTAYP.

Steve Young37229.768.19124123
Peyton Manning99149.828.30119119
Aaron Rodgers46759.898.21116115
Russell Wilson22479.538.05112113
Tom Brady85039.387.75113112
Drew Brees85999.357.69113112
Tony Romo47069.427.78112112
Joe Montana8908.497.04112111
Ben Roethlisberger60709.217.65111111
Troy Aikman40628.236.94110111
Dan Marino38918.296.93111111
Steve McNair53948.247.06109110
Jeff Garcia42658.497.09110110
Kurt Warner44448.797.16111110
Trent Green41948.577.06111109
Doug Flutie21518.006.85107109
John Elway37628.056.74109109
Philip Rivers58379.287.55110109
Cam Newton31448.937.60106109
Chad Pennington27498.517.08109108
Matt Ryan49098.967.51107108
Carson Palmer58398.697.27107108
Rich Gannon41348.016.63108107
Mark Brunell55157.836.67105107
Matt Schaub35478.937.32107107
David Garrard27718.277.06104106
Daunte Culpepper39798.056.71106106
Michael Vick43088.097.00103106
Randall Cunningham25067.626.43104105
Brett Favre112108.056.53106105
Donovan McNabb63088.096.67105104
Kirk Cousins10138.947.27106104
Jeff Hostetler22837.416.28103104
Andrew Luck23788.577.16103104
Vinny Testaverde54277.646.29104103
Marc Bulger34887.946.58103103
Colin Kaepernick17648.447.18100103
Warren Moon35157.456.20103103
Erik Kramer21567.416.15103103
Stan Humphries26047.416.16103103
Jim Kelly24877.406.18103103
Scott Mitchell26737.196.16101103
Jeff George35547.446.16103103
Elvis Grbac27377.506.14103102
Brian Hoyer10988.387.05100102
Neil O'Donnell33687.306.07102102
Jay Fiedler20387.396.14102102
Bobby Hebert16477.376.00103102
Matt Hasselbeck59417.876.50101101
Chris Chandler40567.286.04101101
Andy Dalton28278.436.89102101
Brad Johnson48187.506.12102101
Eli Manning66528.096.69101101
Jim Everett26277.285.98102101
Kordell Stewart30776.935.9998101
Aaron Brooks35187.366.17100101
Jay Cutler48808.186.70101101
Steve Beuerlein31827.245.96101101
Matthew Stafford40348.426.79102101
John Friesz9387.215.91101100
Rob Johnson10867.065.9699100
Jake Delhomme31987.686.26101100
Jeff Blake38927.215.92100100
Robert Griffin13908.346.82100100
Byron Leftwich18057.406.2399100
Jim Harbaugh34927.005.8299100
Wade Wilson9097.025.8499100
Jake Plummer50017.246.0099100
Brian Griese31767.365.9510199
Drew Bledsoe75267.125.899999
Vince Young16227.486.279799
Mike Tomczak13357.045.789999
Gus Frerotte34797.165.839998
Charlie Batch19037.135.839998
Steve Bono14956.975.729898
Craig Erickson12516.885.689898
Joe Flacco45008.006.509898
Ty Detmer10856.975.689898
Dave Krieg20116.955.629897
Jason Campbell28597.736.219897
Kyle Orton29517.706.209897
Nick Foles13728.316.609997
Jake Locker8527.806.499597
Kerry Collins69206.985.739797
Josh Freeman23197.666.309697
Ryan Fitzpatrick39987.656.259696
Shaun Hill13227.746.189796
Ryan Tannehill25557.876.509596
Derek Anderson16707.115.919596
Jon Kitna50226.895.679596
Boomer Esiason23486.895.449896
Tim Rattay8056.835.659595
Damon Huard10797.005.669695
Shaun King9126.485.389495
Alex Smith42637.576.089695
Mark Rypien13206.615.329695
Chris Miller12876.625.389595
Kent Graham15606.255.259294
Seneca Wallace8976.995.759394
Tarvaris Jackson12757.185.839494
Tommy Maddox13526.515.339394
Teddy Bridgewater10078.006.369593
Quincy Carter11776.435.409293
Jim Miller11406.555.279493
Shane Matthews9086.575.229493
Matt Moore8686.985.799193
Billy Joe Tolliver11896.225.129292
Rodney Peete20176.275.139292
Trent Edwards10606.955.539392
Matt Cassel29527.235.819292
Jay Schroeder7536.025.009192
Rex Grossman16866.805.509292
Chad Henne21827.185.799191
Bubby Brister9896.195.009191
Sam Bradford25047.345.859291
Colt McCoy10087.115.779191
Josh McCown23016.755.549091
Tony Banks28256.174.969191
Mark Sanchez25397.015.719091
Brandon Weeden10697.365.889291
Trent Dilfer36646.184.979190
Patrick Ramsey10186.345.089190
Kevin Kolb8667.025.559190
Derek Carr12687.396.058990
Blake Bortles12827.346.008889
Tim Couch19956.064.879089
Dave Brown20075.964.848989
Joey Harrington27596.315.009089
Kelly Holcomb9976.264.939089
Rick Mirer24785.794.768788
David Carr27896.204.958988
Christian Ponder12566.925.558888
Frank Reich8235.564.628687
A.J. Feeley8326.024.798887
Geno Smith10446.925.658687
J.P. Losman11436.034.768787
Todd Collins8395.744.528786
Kyle Boller17635.814.678586
Charlie Frye8135.684.528484
Chris Weinke8035.304.228282
David Klingler8795.124.018282
Bruce Gradkowski8255.564.318281
Danny Kanell10604.983.928181
JaMarcus Russell7805.404.158080
Blaine Gabbert12475.854.527877
Ryan Leaf7793.812.867070

I think the list speaks for itself, but I’ll speak for it anyway.

Young has an enormous lead on every other player, but that comes with a caveat. Yes, he was arguably the most dominant quarterback in history at his peak, but he also benefits from having his sub par performances in Tampa Bay excluded from the metrics. With them, he’d still probably be in the lead, but it wouldn’t be quite as stark as it currently appears.

Peyton Manning sits in second place, well behind Young and well ahead of Aaron Rodgers. The primary reasons Manning rates so much better than Rodgers (who tends to be neck and neck with him by most other measures) are his ability to avoid sacks and pick up first downs. Manning picks moved the chains at a nearly unprecedented rate throughout his career, and he is second only to Dan Marino in sack avoidance.

Rodgers is the last of only three quarterbacks to maintain a career NTAYP a full standard deviation ahead of the rest of the league. His numbers are hurt by his output in 2015, as well as his spotty play prior to taking over as Green Bay’s starter.

Russell Wilson has incredible efficiency metrics and a title ring on his finger. It’s safe to say that, barring injury, he’ well on his way to a bust in Canton after he calls it quits. His Index Score will likely decrease once he plays out the down slope of his career, but he will have probably built up enough capital prior to that to skate into the Hall of Fame.

Tony Romo, for his part, has probably already supplanted Ken Anderson as the best quarterback not to don a Gold Jacket.2 A Super Bowl victory would likely turn the tide and leave that dubious distinction with Anderson (or Philip Rivers), but I doubt it will happen.

Tom Brady and Drew Brees are, as they often have been throughout their careers, neck and neck statistically. They achieved their results differently, but they were among the most dominant  passers in history all the same.

A trio of Hall of Famers follow Brady and Brees. Joe Montana and Dan Marino likely suffer from having their prime years excluded from the calculations, but it is a testament to their prowess that they still rate so high. Troy Aikman, on the other hand, benefits from having his early career woes ignored by this study. Of course, this study also focuses on the regular season, leaving out the games where Aikman put to bed any doubts about whether he was worthy of HOF honors.

There are plenty more observations to be made here, but I’d rather leave further commentary to the reader. Let me know what you think in the comments.

  1. Since 1992, the earliest season for which I have air/YAC splits for passers.
  2. Yes, I am predicting that he will never be enshrined.