Monday, October 10, 2011

ESPN's QBR Says Tim Tebow's Game Sunday Better Than Aaron Rodgers

ESPN is bound to get a lot of criticism for this week's QBR (Total Quarterback Rating) rankings.

Here's the top QBs for Week 5 as based on the Total QBR:

  1. Alex Smith
  2. Ben Roethlisberger
  3. Drew Brees
  4. Matt Cassel
  5. Tim Tebow
  6. Aaron Rodgers
  7. Tom Brady
  8. Curtis Painter 
I've discussed it before, both in attempting to explain it and using it to illustrate certain points.  My biggest problem with the QBR is not having any kind of openness to it so that others (those with statistical knowledge which is not me) can examine it for objectivity and accuracy.

Total QBR attempts to try and determine how important each quarterback is to their teams' performance that week.  This includes passing, running, and even penalties that count against the quarterback (intentional grounding, delay of game).
Total QBR is built upon team success, then broken down to the quarterback contribution, so that a quarterback's incentives and his team goals are better aligned. Racking up lots of yards in a meaningless situation doesn't help a QB in QBR like it did with NFL Passer Rating.
So let's look at why Tebow is so highly ranked this week and attempt to explain it (if possible).  First of all, understand that the QBR tries to weight plays based on importance.  A touchdown pass in the first quarter doesn't matter as much in the fourth quarter when you're behind.

What I don't understand, though, is that Tebow's performance also doesn't seem to match up with what the ESPN had previously told us about it. Tebow's lone touchdown pass was a screen pass that Knowshon Moreno took 28 yards for the score.  The QB is supposed to receive little credit for something like that.  His two 20+-yard completions involved one acrobatic catch. The QB is supposed to be downgraded for a poorly thrown ball that his receiver still catches.

I'm not going to pretend to understand why Tebow's score is so high when he really only had any decent play during the fourth quarter.  He should have been downgraded for an ineffective third quarter.  He clearly did make the difference in the Broncos' attempted comeback, but the guys around him played better and made just as many (if not more) key plays while he was quarterback.

Let's see how ESPN breaks this information down this week.  It certainly should make for some interesting double-talk.  ***10/11: Here's ESPN's response to Tebow's high QBR rating. See if you can make sense of it. I certainly can't in light of what they've explained before.

1 comment:

Jeremy Lingo said...

ESPN's QBR is BS to be blunt. The fact that "Total QBR is clutch-weighted, so the QB’s plays where the game was closest – whether those come in the beginning, middle, or end of the game". In effect a QB that has a poor defense or does not drive his team to score a lot is penalized. If a QB has talent around him and they are blowing other teams out in each game, the QB is perceived to be less of an impact player. But as we all know, Running sets up the Pass and Passing can set up the run, so total QB is biased and really doesnt give a good account of who is a quality QB.