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Pro Sports Wrap - Sports Personality of the Day:Tony Romo

The Desk: New Quarterback Mistake Factor Stat

January 26th 2011 14:58
A lot of people are talking about the lack of interceptions thrown by certain star quarterbacks- Tom Brady and Michael Vick- and the many number of picks thrown by other stars- Drew Brees and Peyton Manning. I am trying to create a statistic that incorporates yardage and touchdowns to find out a QB's true "INT Factor". There is a far greater chance of an interception when you are launching it deep- Peyton- than it is to throw a dinky-do pass- Brady. I am trying to come up with a formula that normalizes the variables involved.

The first proposed way is to use this formula (yards/interceptions) (TDs/INTs). Let's use the following formula for these quarterbacks: Brady, Vick, Peyton, Brees, and Rodgers. Brady's score is 984, Vick has a 506.5, Peyton has a 278.4, Brees has a 211.5, and Rodgers has a 359.1. As you can see, this statistic helps normalize the stats to some degree, but every statistic is flawed in away. This stat does a good job of finding a balance, but it really should only be used as a way of determining a quarterback's mistake factor.

Let's try it with this new formula: (yards per completion/INTs) (TDs/INTs). The numbers won't be as big here as we are working with smaller numbers, so there won't be a score of 984. We will obviously use the same quarterbacks as they are the control group. Yup, science is important in sports. Brady has a score of 12, Vick has a score of 5.66, Peyton Manning has a 2.55, Brees has a 1.97, Rodgers has a 3.69.

If we multiply each score by one hundred, we see that these scores are very similar to the scores above. It seems like both formulas are interchangeable, but the second formula is more accurate. Most quarterbacks average 12 yards per completed pass. If a QB throws 350 complete passes in a season, then that's 420 yards right there. It is more accurate to go by average yards per completed pass. The touchdowns and interceptions aren't normalized per pass, so the first formula is better in this instance as we are not looking to average everything. We are just looking at the big picture, for now.

Tom Brady
Only 4 INTs to 36 TDs
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4 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Michael Wasco

January 26th 2011 16:45
Interceptions are so difficult to quantify, but the interpretation has to be subjective. In the stat line, and in your analysis, a pick is still a pick. But nothing separates the pick-six from the deep bomb that ends up working more or less like a punt. There's not really any set of statistics I've ever found that attaches "yards against an INT" or "points against an INT". That would be the true measure of a QB's "interception rank." You'd want to avoid the guy whose picks lead to points against but can tolerate the guy whose picks are absorbed by the defense. I like the idea. I just don't know how to continue refining it.

Comment by Joe Soriano

January 26th 2011 18:06
I avoided doing that. This statistic only measures what is in the quarterbacks hands. The amount of yardage gained after the pick has little to do with the quarterback, and thus should not penalize him. This stat is strictly about the QB. Again, this stat isn't a be-all-tell-all. It just shows the number of interceptions relative to the yards thrown. The INTs are the most important factor here because this stat is about INTs. Thanks for dropping by Mike!

Comment by Gabe Lock

January 26th 2011 22:20
I really like what you are trying here Joe. It's fun to try to figure something like this out. The one variable that would be tough to throw in there would be tipped interceptions. If a receiver has a ball go threw his hands and it's an INT, there is no measure taken into account for that when it comes to QB's - at least that I know of.

Comment by nbageek

January 27th 2011 00:44
This is a great idea. The NFL needs something like this to distinguish the great quarterbacks from one another. Good stuff!

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