FAQ’S about the QBV, Quarterback Value Statistic
1. What was the motivation behind doing devising this?
A: We’ve long been believers that intangibles make up greater than 50% of the equation for winning and losing in ALL sports. This feeling turned into frustration and the frustration came to a boil recently after hearing repeated interviews of flummoxed NFL experts unable to explain the success of Tim Tebow this season with the Denver Broncos. Their thinking is now and has always been, “He’s winning, and that’s the most important thing, but he’s certainly not doing it with completion percentage or yards. I can’t explain it.” Cliches are cliches for a reason – they can be applied to frequent occurrences in life. Thus, there are multiple ways to skin a cat, and there are typically a variety of routes to arrive at your planned destination. Just because Tim Tebow isn’t doing it the way you’re used to seeing it, doesn’t mean he’s any less of a player. Again, multiple routes can get you from point A to point B. Is it about winning? Or is it about throwing a pretty spiral for many yards? Aesthetics or results?
2. What questions does QBV answer?
A: Quite a few
A: What stats really matter toward the bottom line? Turnovers, the ratio of tournovers to touchdown passes, all of which when added to intangibles such as work ethic, attitude, and leadership lead to wins.
A: My QB puts up great traditional passing numbers. Why aren’t we winning more? See QBV.
3. Tim Tebow and Alex Smith really seem like they’re more of the “game manager” quarterback than anything else, yet they score highly in your system. You don’t think “game managers” are better players than “playmakers,” do you?
A: The quintessential example of the “game manager” QB is Trent Dilfer of the 2000 Ravens. With lost fumble stats difficult to come by but with total fumbles regularly available and with a typical rate of 2/3 of all fumbles being lost, I estimate Dilfer’s QBV to be 12.0 for the 2000 season. That’s slightly better than average, and Baltimore, with one of the best defenses in NFL history that year, only needed average QB play to win the Super Bowl. Alex Smith’s and Tim Tebow’s QBV shows that they’re contributing much more than Dilfer in 2000. Finally, if your team is winning, and your quarterback is limiting mistakes and playing extremely efficiently, can you really ask for anything more?
4. Are you saying Tim Tebow is a better QB than Tom Brady?
A: Our data suggests that Tim Tebow, through eight starts, has been a slightly more winning and valuable quarterback than Tom Brady has through 13 this season. That said, this has been a pretty typical season for Brady. While I have not compiled his career QBV, I would surmise it to be right around the 26.9 he’s at this year. Would we select a player with a 30.0 QBV in eight starts over a career QBV of 26.9? Would you select a running back averaging six yards per carry in eight starts over the play of Barry Sanders? Of course not. Should Tom Brady earn a win this week over Tebow and the Broncos, Brady will almost assuredly pass Tebow in 2011 QBV.
5. Are you saying Blaine Gabbert is on par with Cam Newton?
A: Cam Newton has made a plethora of positive AND negative plays for the Panthers this season. This comes out as a net wash with the results of Blaine Gabbert, who has considerably less of both. Two coaches, with records of 333-333 and 12-12 both have winning percentages of .500. We expect young quarterbacks to make mistakes, and we would value Cam Newton’s ability to make positive plays more than Gabbert’s ability not to make many mistakes in projecting the future. Cam has the potential to have a very high QBV if he is able to significantly reduce his turnovers. And if he’s able to significantly reduce his turnovers, the Panthers will win many more games.
6. Are you saying Tim Tebow is a better QB than Tony Romo?
A: Our data suggests that Tim Tebow has been a more winning and valuable quarterback than Tony Romo this year. Romo is 7-6 compared to Tebow’s 7-1. Romo has the league’s 16th best defense. Tebow, the league’s 19th. Romo has enjoyed the benefits of having DeMarco Murray, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Laurent Robinson, and Jason Witten on offense. Tebow has enjoyed the benefits of the worst offensive skill players in the NFL. That can be confirmed by listing the top five offensive playmakers on every team and comparing them, 1-32. Hence, Tebow’s QBV of 30.0 and Romo’s of 22.0.
7. What about statistics like completion percentage and passing yards? Are you saying these are irrelevant?
A: Priority # 1 is winning games. Priority # 2 is not turning the ball over. If you achieve #2, there’s a direct correlation in achieving #1. Our data suggests that a high ratio of touchdown passes to turnovers leads to wins. If you’re winning AND not turning the ball over, isn’t that what matters? Certainly, some prefer quarterbacks who throw for a high percentage and a ton of yards, and if that’s your bag, QB’s such as Eli Manning and Philip Rivers are your guys this season. Yet their turnovers lead to a combined record of 13-13 on two mightily talented squads. Style over substance? Or substance over style?
Perhaps we all need to better prioritize how we evaluate NFL quarterbacks. Please allow our new QBV statistic to serve as the first step in this process.