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It’s never been easy to evaluate a quarterback and the impact a quarterback has on whether a team wins or loses. We have had the Quarterback rating which has been used over the years to put a value on signal callers after each game.
Now ESPN has unveiled a new way to evaluate arguably the most important position on the football field; it is called the Total Quarterback Rating.
ESPN describes this new system as a way of “understanding what each play means to the team, then gives credit to the quarterback for what happened on a play based on what he contributed”
In this new approach to the position, a quarterback will be graded from a scale of 0-100, of course 100 being the highest, 50 being average or middle of the pact and 0 being the lowest; I doubt we will see any one ranked that low, unless Jimmy Clausen starts for Carolina.
The probability of winning becomes important in rewarding points to a player, in this new system every play in which a particular quarterback is involved will affect his overall rating.
A player like Michael Vick will benefit in this new system because last year, the 600 plus yards he gains on the ground did not affect his rating as signal caller; he will be rewarded for those yards in the system but at the same time, so will fumbles and yardage lost.
Every aspect of playing the position will be accounted for- interestingly enough, players will be penalized for overthrowing or under throwing receivers, an aspect of this that seemed to be a little hard to compute. If a quarterback places the ball in a great spot that allows the receiver to gain more yards after the catch that will bode well for his total rating.
There are those who believe this will answer the question of who is the best quarterback in a season yet meaningless numbers won’t be rewarded like they have been in the past. In fact, you will be rewarded as a quarterback for making the right play when it means the most to the outcome of the game.
The clutch factor which we have seen in many quarterbacks and that which many other quarterbacks lack will play a large role in how their season will be judged.
“A clutch play is defined before the play by how close the game appears to be. Down four points with three seconds to go and facing third-and-goal from the 3-yard line — that is a high-pressure and high-clutch index situation because the play can realistically raise the odds of winning to almost 100 percent or bring them down from about 40 percent to almost zero percent.”
As described by the ESPN article, a play of this nature at midfield is relatively less meaningful therefore the clutch index is lowered. The outcome of that same play at midfield will mean less to the overall outcome of the game.
The whole premise of this new approach is that, football is played by a team and the offense functions as a team. In order to evaluate one position (the Quarterback), it is important to understand how he contributes to the team winning. It becomes less about the totality of the yards or touchdowns scored by the team and more about the individual plays, when they were made and how they were made.
There is more to examine about this new approach to evaluating quarterbacks in the NFL. The Total Quarterback Rating will take some getting used to, but sports fans and NFL fans will have to learn and adapt quickly.
Many former signal callers appreciate the way this has been done because it tries to incorporate everything involved in running a play in the National Football League. As Cosell was quoted saying in the article, “Football is not complex, but it is very detailed.” That is clearly evident in the Total Quarterback Rating.