Wednesday, June 27, 2007

NFL Passing Titles

Here's a list of the NFL's Passing Rating Leaders going back to 1940. I've thought for awhile that the NFL formula determining passer rating didn't work so well, rewarding high-percentage low-risk passes and thus favoring throwers on conservative offenses (boring!) rather than those who prefer to air it out. However, this list would seem to prove me wrong. There's a really high correlation between the Hall of Fame and the list of QB's who've led the league in passer rating three times or more. Those 7 QB's are:

QuarterbacksPassing titles
Steve Young6
Bart Starr5
Roger Staubach4
Ken Anderson4
Sammy Baugh3
Sid Luckman3
Peyton Manning3

All Hall of Famers except Manning, who's a lock for future induction, and Ken Anderson, a guy who in my opinion is worthy of enshrinement (maybe I'll write about that in the future). If we expand the list to include the guys who've won 2 passing titles we add:

Tommy Thompson
Otto Graham
Johnny Unitas
Kurt Warner

Graham and Unitas---legends. Thompson was a great QB back in the 1940's who won two championships with the Eagles and he might well be an overlooked HOF candidate himself (more on that soon). And former bagboy Warner was great for three years before flaming out spectacularly for still-inexplicable reasons. So out of the 11 men who've led the league in passer rating multiple times, seven are in the Hall, one will be, and two more are decent candidates in my opinion. Only Warner is totally out place on the list. It sure looks like winning two or more passing titles is a sign of passing greatness.

What active players have a shot at joining this elite group in 2007? I'd say none. Besides Manning, the only active passers who've already led the league once in passer rating are Warner, Steve McNair, and Chad Pennington. Warner's finished, McNair's hit the wall, and Pennington's passing crown was 5 years ago now and he's been in decline ever since thanks to injuries and age.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't think "Warner's finished"...he's led two teams to Super Bowls, for one thing, and has the two highest-yardage games in SB history. Lots of people think he should be in the Hall.