In looking at the table of the leading passer ratings in the NFL this year, I was disgusted to find how easy it has become to post a huge rating. Take a look at the top 10 passers in the NFL:
Last year, there were 5 QBs who finished the year at 95 or better. Peyton Manning won the MVP with a passer rating of 95. Now, I realize that his rating was a bit lower than a normal MVP, because he was rewarded for his work over the final 8 games of the season, but still, it's mind blowing to see that there are 10 QBs essentially playing at an MVP level right now. Dig a bit deeper and you find 4 more QBs over 90. It's early in season still, and as the weather worsens some of these ratings will begin to drop on their own, but this is ridiculous.
We've all grown accustomed to the growth of the passing game in the NFL, but this is a quantum leap even from last year, and there is no discernible rule change to cause it. I don't like the 'Brady rule', but I seriously doubt it's the sole reason QBs are posting massive numbers all over the league.
In fact, the culprit is obvious. There are a crapload of bad teams. Just check out Sunday's Hangover (ho ho! I snuck that plug in on you. You are permitted to feel violated.). It's one blowout after another.
My theory is that the 6 worst teams (those with zero or one win) in the NFL are so bad that they are skewing the passing stats. Check out the top 10 QBs by passer rating against the other 26 NFL teams and verses the Sh***y Six (Cleveland, Detroit, Tampa, Tennessee, the Rams and the Chiefs...a combined 3-37):
|Rating||Other 26||Sh***y Six||Games against the SS
The six worst teams in football are ruining the game. Take out the Six, and you have 7 players over 95 (compared with 5 last year) and just three over 100. The only guys who haven't benefited from the 6 are Manning (who is incredibly at 114.5 against the other 26 and 114.5 against the 6) and Kyle Orton (and nobody knows what the hell is up with him). Tom Brady, Tony Romo, and Aaron Rodgers have feasted on the 6, and their numbers are greatly inflated.
We see three players over 100 (verses 7 this year) and 8 over 94.7 (verses 10 this year).
I think it shows that:
1. There is clearly inflation this year (although i suppose it could be argued that it's largely just the result of Brady and Manning being healthy).
2. There will be some regression (see Campbell, Jason and Edwards, Trent)
For the record, here are last year's final standings:
|1||Philip Rivers, QB||SDG||105.5|
|2||Chad Pennington, QB||MIA||97.4|
|3||Kurt Warner, QB||ARI||96.9|
|4||Drew Brees, QB||NOR||96.2|
|5||Peyton Manning, QB||IND||95|
|6||Aaron Rodgers, QB||GNB||93.8|
|7||Matt Schaub, QB||HOU||92.7|
|8||Tony Romo, QB||DAL||91.4|
|9||Jeff Garcia, QB||TAM||90.2|
|10||Matt Cassel, QB||NWE||89.4|