By Aaron Schatz
Special to Page 2

Note: Go to the bottom of the table for a more complete explanation of how Aaron's QB rating system works.

  • Get overall season rankings at

    Quarterback Skinny DPAR
    1. Drew Brees
    22/25, 281 yards
    5 TDs, 0 INTs
    Named Sportsman of the Year by "Setting Yourself Up For Free Agency" Magazine, narrowly beating out Derek Lowe. 19.0
    2. Peyton Manning
    25/44, 472 yards
    5 TDs, 1 INT
    KC's pass defense has actually been above average, and Manning torched them anyway. 353 yards just on first-down passes alone. 18.3
    3. Trent Green
    27/34, 389 yards
    3 TDs, 0 INTs
    The Indy pass defense, however, is definitely not underrated. They are as porous as advertised, which bumps Green's value down from 22.0 points. 18.1
    4. Michael Vick
    18/24, 252 yards (115 rush)
    2 TDs, 0 INTs
    Apparently, for Halloween Michael Vick dressed up as Michael Vick. Of 2002. 15.1
    5. David Carr
    26/34, 276 yards
    1 TD, 0 INTs
    Similar to Steve Young in ways: a pocket passer who can do the 3-step drop, slither around in the pocket, or take off and still fire bullets. One first quarter play saw him slide out the right, pump-fake, run-fake, pull up, and then hit Bradford for the score. 9.2
    6. Donovan McNabb
    18/33, 219 yards
    1 TD, 0 INTs
    Baltimore's (relative) weakness is defending tight ends, and McNabb took advantage with important completions to LJ Smith and Chad Lewis on each scoring drive. 8.9
    7. Jake Delhomme
    19/36, 248 yards
    2 TDs, 1 INT
    I always enjoyed the Twilight Zone episode where the Super Bowl quarterback wakes up and discovers everyone else on the team has been replaced with fourth-stringers. 8.6
    8. Jake Plummer
    31/55, 499 yards
    4 TDs, 3 INTs
    Halloween costume was Oscar the Grouch, because all he did yesterday was play around in garbage time. 7.8
    9. Ben Roethlisberger
    18/24, 196 yards
    2 TDs, 0 INTs
    Steelers went into total shutdown mode with the lead; Big Ben tossed only four passes in final 28 minutes. 7.6
    10. Kyle Boller
    24/38, 223 yards
    1 TD, 1 INT
    For once, can't be blamed for loss; this was his best game of the year. 6.1
    11. Tom Brady
    24/38, 271 yards
    2 TDs, 2 INTs
    Maybe the lesson to be learned is that Brady is, in fact, not perfect, but also that Pittsburgh's defense is for real. Brady's value is 0.0 points before opponent adjustment. Donovan McNabb, watch out. 5.1
    12. Matt Hasselbeck
    21/30, 201 yards
    1 TD, 1 INT
    It was good to see Largent back on the field yesterday; that's just an amazing comeback at his age. 4.6
    13. Kerry Collins
    24/39, 263 yards
    1 TD, 2 INTs
    Interesting season tidbit: -14.6 DPAR in the fourth quarter, worst of any quarterback in the league. 4.4
    14. Billy Volek
    21/32, 211 yards
    2 TDs, 1 INT
    Highly regarded backup proves that he is, in fact, a highly regarded backup. 3.6
    15. Vinny Testaverde
    19/24, 235 yards
    3 TDs, 3 INTs
    With most of the receivers injured, we got the Vinny we expected: very cautious, throwing to the TE and RB a lot, and only hitting Keyshawn when he really needed to. 3.5
    16. Joey Harrington
    19/32, 255 yards
    2 TDs, 1 INT
    No Roy Williams on Roy Williams confrontation? I demand a rematch! 3.2
    17. Daunte Culpepper
    24/42, 231 yards
    1 TD, 2 INTs
    When the game was over, I got up and went to eject my tape of the 2000 NFC Championship out of the VCR, only to discover I had never hit play. 2.8
    18. Drew Bledsoe
    8/17, 81 yards
    2 TDs, 0 INT
    Threw one complete pass on first down. One. 2.7
    19. Brett Favre
    20/33, 289 yards
    1 TD, 3 INTs
    Will retire at end of year; grateful Kerry administration offers him job as Secretary of Hunting and Fishing. 1.3
    20. Carson Palmer
    20/36, 247 yards
    0 TDs, 1 INT
    Years from now we'll look back at this mediocrity and have a laugh, right? 0.8
    21. Josh McCown
    9/24, 101 yards
    1 TD, 0 INTs
    It was windy and raining, but I'm guessing if the QBs were Manning and Culpepper instead of Bledsoe and McCown nobody would have noticed the weather. 0.2
    22. Byron Leftwich
    25/40, 227 yards
    0 TDs, 2 INTs
    For the season, averaging 7 yards per pass play in the shotgun, 5 yards per pass play otherwise (including sacks). -0.4
    23. Mark Brunell
    25/44, 218 yards
    2 TDs, 2 INTs
    Did not have single positive yardage play on third down: 2 sacks, 5 incompletes, a pass that lost a yard, and an INT. -1.5
    24. Craig Krenzel
    13/25, 168 yards
    1 TD, 1 INT
    Probably should have walked off field after first pass, freezing safety with a head fake and tossing a beautiful 49-yard touchdown to Bernard Berrian. Special teams and defense got him the win. -2.7
    25. Kurt Warner
    13/21, 144 yards
    0 TDs, 0 INTs
    It's all about field position from Culpepper's miscues. When the Giants went up 17-0, Warner had been worth a grand total of 12 yards, counting sacks. -2.9
    26. Ken Dorsey
    16/36, 122 yards
    0 TDs, 1 INT
    Ken, Eric Johnson is the team's leading receiver and he was open the entire game. Perhaps you should consider throwing to him more than once before the final four minutes? -6.5

    How DPAR (Defense-adjusted Points Above Replacement) works

    The success of each play is judged based on yardage gained towards both a touchdown and a first down. Then each play gets compared to the NFL average on similar plays, based on down, distance, and other variables. Quarterbacks are judged not based on how many yards they get, but on how important those yards are in the context of the game.

    Ratings are also adjusted for the quality of the opposing defense. The quarterback's performance is then translated into an approximate number of actual points that such success (or failure) is worth when compared to a "replacement level" quarterback (defined as any quarterback named "Billy Joe").

    When all offensive, defensive, and special teams plays are added together for one team, the result comes very close to the actual difference between points scored and allowed.

    Among the advantages of this system:

    1. Gives value for first downs, which are not really included in any other QB rating system but are hugely important.

    2. Does not punish quarterbacks who are always in bad field position because of a poor defense, nor does it punish quarterbacks who are always stuck in third-and-long because of a poor running game.

    3. With enough data to begin including defensive adjustment, quarterbacks receive bonuses when they play well against good defenses, and they don't get rated as world-beaters when they shred the 49ers

    4. Includes both passing and rushing plays, which obviously helps a QB like Michael Vick.

    5. DPAR punishes quarterbacks for turnovers but also for fumbles that his own team recovers. Different kind of fumbles have different penalties depending on how often defense recovers for a turnover. Sacks are punished as well.

    6. 5-yard scramble on 3rd-and-10? Worthless!

    7. Actual points! Easy to understand!

    An even longer explanation of these numbers can be found here.

    Aaron Schatz is editor-in-chief of


  • Aaron