FanPost

Studying the Quarterback Position: Part Three

Opening Statement

I have been busy with the National Guard over the past few weeks and didn't get to finish Part Three of my study on the statistics that matter most when analyzing the success of a quarterback.

Each study measures the correlation between a specific statistic or measurement and wins by that team.

  • Part One studied gross passing yards - you can view the findings here.
  • Part Two studied passing yards per throw - you can view the findings here.

This study will discuss the correlation between a good touchdown-turnover ratio and total wins. Rushing touchdowns are included with the passing touchdowns and fumbles lost are included with the interceptions for each quarterback.


The first category records each QBs win-loss record when they have at least a 2:1 touchdown to turnover ratio. The next category is for a ratio of 1:1 to just under a 2:1 ratio of touchdowns to turnovers. The final category measures games under a 1:1 ratio.


For example:

  • Game 1: 5 Tds, 2 TOs (2.5:1, 1st category)
  • Game 2: 3 Tds, 2 TOs (1.5:1. 2nd category)
  • Game 3: 1 Td. 2 TOs (1:2, 3rd category)
  • Game 4: 0 Tds, 0 TOs (0:0, 3rd category)

The results are after the jump. The same 37 quarterbacks have been used in this study as the previous two articles.

Here are some quick stats that should help before reading the chart:

  • The 37 QBs totaled a 923-282 record (0.766) when registering at least a 2:1 touchdown to turnover ratio in a single game.
  • These QBs were 286-264 (0.520) when registering between a 1:1 and 2:1 ratio in a single game.
  • These QBs were 281-598 (0.320) when registering less than a 1:1 ratio in a single game.
  • 9 Qbs have registered at least 50 2:1 ratio games in their careers. 12 QBs have registered at least 40 2:1 ratio games in their careers. 18 Qbs have registered at least 30 2:1 ratio games in their career.
  • 21 of the 26 Qbs that have recorded at least 15 2:1 ratio games have a winning percentage over 70 percent.
  • 13 of the 26 Qbs that have recorded at least 15 2:1 ratio games have a winning percentage over 75 percent.
  • 11 of the 26 QBs that have recorded at least 15 2:1 ratio games have a winning percentage over 80 percent.
  • Only 3 of the 37 QBs have a sub.-500 winning percentage in games where they registered a 2:1 TD:TO ratio.
  • 32 of the 37 Qbs have their highest winning percentage in the 2:1 ratio category. Of the 5 that did not, all 5 either tied or surpassed the winning percentage in the 2:1 ratio with their winning percentage in the middle category.
  • 27 out of the 37 Qbs had an increase in their winning percentage from category with the lowest ratio to the middle category to the category with highest category.

The Veterans


Player W 2:1+ L 2:1+ Perc. W 1-1.9:1 L 1-1.9:1 Perc. W <1:1 L <1:1 Perc.
1 Tom Brady (NE) 81 8 0.910 17 7 0.708 24 11 0.686
2 Peyton Manning (DEN) 93 13 0.877 23 21 0.523 18 30 0.375
3 Jay Cutler (CHI) 27 5 0.844 8 11 0.421 6 21 0.222
4 Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) 47 9 0.839 18 6 0.750 14 20 0.412
5 Drew Brees (NO) 63 13 0.829 12 15 0.444 16 34 0.320
6 Donovan McNabb (MIN) 58 14 0.806 25 17 0.595 15 32 0.319
7 Philip Rivers (SD) 37 9 0.804 15 12 0.556 11 13 0.458
8 Eli Manning (NYG) 41 10 0.804 15 11 0.577 13 28 0.317
9 Tony Romo (DAL) 30 9 0.769 11 8 0.579 6 12 0.333
10 Kerry Collins (IND) 40 15 0.727 21 24 0.467 24 62 0.279
11 Matt Hasselbeck (TEN) 41 16 0.719 22 13 0.629 16 38 0.296
12 Aaron Rodgers (GB) 33 13 0.717 6 5 0.545 2 5 0.286
13 Kyle Orton (DEN) 20 9 0.690 4 9 0.308 10 19 0.345
14 Matt Schaub (HOU) 22 10 0.688 7 9 0.438 3 15 0.167
15 Carson Palmer (OAK) 26 24 0.520 10 8 0.556 14 22 0.389


Quick Observations

  • Only 3 QBs have won over 40 percent of their games when they fail to register at least a 1:1 ratio game (Brady, Roethlisberger, Rivers). Only Brady is has won at least 60 percent of these games. Brady is the lone QB that has won consistently over the course of his career despite playing a sub-par game. However, while it may appear that Brady gets bailed out by his defense, he also has the highest winning percentage in the NFL over the past decade when he registers as least a 2:1 ratio game.
  • Only 2 QBs have won over 60 percent of their games when they only register a 1:1-2:1 ratio game (Brady, Hasselbeck). Only Brady has won over 70 percent. Even with increased success in touchdowns and fewer turnovers, Qbs tend to have a mixed bag of results. Remember running backs score a significant number of touchdowns, too, along with the defense and special teams. This explains why simply having slightly more touchdowns than turnovers doesn't equate to many wins.
  • 12 of the 15 Veterans have won at least 70 percent of their games when they record at least a 2:1 ratio game. As is the case with most quality stats, teams that perform well in these stats should win at least 70 percent of their games.
  • 8 of the 15 Veterans have won at least 80 percent of their games when they record at least a 2:1 ratio game. For just over half of the veterans, a ratio of 2:1 in QB touchdowns alone is enough to win 80 percent of the time, regardless of whether they get touchdowns elsewhere on their team.
  • The Veterans are 659-177 (0.788) in the 2:1 ratio category. They are 214-176 (0.549) in the middle category. They are 192-362 (0.347) in the sub-1:1 ratio category. This makes perfect sense. Most teams are built around their veterans. If they perform well, it is extremely likely they will win. If their touchdowns are canceled out by their turnovers, it becomes a coin flip, depending on how good the rest of their team is. Finally, when they do not perform well, their team wins about 1/3 of the time.
  • Kyle Orton simply never won as much as other QBs when he was the focus of the offense. He is the only veteran to have less than 30 2:1 ratio games and is 13th in winning percentage in the group.
  • This chart illustrates how effective Roethlisberger and Cutler are when they play efficient and mistake-free football. Both of them have higher winning percentages than Brees, Rodgers, Rivers and Eli Manning.
  • Only 4 of the 15 Qbs (Rodgers, Brady, P. Manning, Romo) have registered a 2:1 ratio game in over 50 percent of their career games. Rodgers (72%) and Brady (60%) are way ahead of the rest of the veterans. What makes Hall of Famers so good is not just the height at which they can perform, but the consistency they have in their career. Of the 4 HOFers in this group, 3 of them are over this 50 percent mark. P. Manning is 3rd with 53 percent. Brees is 5th in percentage of 2:1 ratio games in his career.

The Potential Rising Stars


Player W 2:1+ L 2:1+ Perc. W 1-1.9:1 L 1-1.9:1 Perc. W <1:1 L <1:1 Perc.
1 Joe Flacco (BAL) 28 4 0.875 6 6 0.500 9 11 0.450
2 Matt Ryan (ATL) 31 5 0.861 7 2 0.778 4 12 0.250
3 Chad Henne (MIA) 8 2 0.800 3 6 0.333 3 11 0.214
4 Michael Vick (PHI) 34 13 0.723 11 2 0.846 8 26 0.235
5 Matthew Stafford (DET) 13 5 0.722 0 2 0.000 0 9 0.000
6 Matt Cassel (KC) 17 12 0.586 2 1 0.667 9 14 0.391
7 Jason Campbell (OAK) 17 15 0.531 3 6 0.333 12 18 0.400


Quick Observations

  • 5 of the 7 Younger Qbs have won at least 70 percent of their games when registering at least a 2:1 ratio game. 3 of the 7 have won over 80 percent of their games. Even though it is a smaller sample size than the veterans, the numbers are similar even though the experience and talent levels are far less.
  • These younger Qbs have a better winning percentage, 32-25 (0.561), than the veterans in the middle category, even if it is only a slight advantage. Part of this is because of the lack of sample size. These Qbs are all over the place when they are almost equal in touchdowns and turnovers. Some are bad (Stafford) while others are great (Vick, Ryan).
  • Interestingly enough, Matthew Stafford has yet to win a game where he does not record at 2:1 ratio game. He does have the highest percentage of 2:1 ratio games in his career at 62.1 percent compared to the rest of these QBs.
  • It should come as no surprise that with all the talent around them since they were drafted, Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan have excellent winning percentages when they record a 2:1 ratio game. This biggest difference, however, is Matt Ryan has recorded a 2:1 ratio game in 59 percent of his career games while Flacco has only recorded one in 50 percent of his games.
  • As much as fans for Oakland might have wanted to keep Jason Campbell, he simply was not capable of leading their team to much success, no matter how he played. Unfortunately, they gave up on him for a guy who has not performed much better in Carson Palmer. The same can be said for Matt Cassel. He doesn't do enough as a quarterback and it will be up to their top 5 team on paper to take them to the playoffs.

The Young Quarterbacks


Player W 2:1+ L 2:1+ Perc. W 1-1.9:1 L 1-1.9:1 Perc. W <1:1 L <1:1 Perc.
1 Matt Moore (MIA) 9 1 0.900 0 8 0.000 4 3 0.571
2 Rex GrossMan (WAS) 13 3 0.813 6 5 0.545 8 11 0.421
3 Mark Sanchez (NYJ) 15 4 0.789 5 2 0.714 6 14 0.300
4 Tim Tebow (NYJ) 7 2 0.778 0 1 0.000 1 3 0.250
5 Tarvaris Jackson (SEA) 6 2 0.750 6 8 0.429 5 8 0.385
6 Alex Smith (SF) 19 7 0.731 4 5 0.444 9 22 0.290
7 Andy Dalton (CIN) 5 2 0.714 3 2 0.600 1 3 0.250
8 Josh Freeman (TB) 12 5 0.706 3 6 0.333 2 12 0.143
9 Ryan Fitzpatrick (BUF) 12 5 0.706 5 10 0.333 3 20 0.130
10 Kevin Kolb (ARI) 4 2 0.667 1 2 0.333 0 7 0.000
11 Cam Newton (CAR) 6 3 0.667 0 3 0.000 0 4 0.000
12 Sam Bradford (STL) 4 4 0.500 3 3 0.500 1 11 0.083
13 Colt McCoy (CLE) 3 5 0.375 1 4 0.200 2 6 0.250
14 Christian Ponder (MIN) 1 2 0.333 0 2 0.000 1 5 0.167
15 Blaine Gabbert (JAC) 0 2 0.000 3 2 0.600 1 6 0.143


Quick Observations

  • As I stated in the previous article, this is where a stat shows its worth. 9 of the 15 QBs have a winning percentage of at least 70 percent when recording a 2:1 ratio game.
  • 2 of the 15 Qbs (Moore, Grossman) have a winning percentage of at least 80 percent when recording a 2:1 ratio game. Moore is the only QB other than Brady with a percentage of at least 90 in these games, even if Brady has 10 times the number of these games compared to Moore.
  • When Cam Newton scored touchdowns, his team won a good percentage of the games. When he didn't score a lot of touchdowns to counter his turnovers, the Panthers did not win a single game. This was the difference between him and Andy Dalton, who was every bit as good of a QB as Newton, despite what ESPN says. Cincinnati was simply a better team than Carolina and didn't rely on one player. Had the Panthers focused on their running game more instead of asking Newton to pass all the time and get gaudy numbers, they may have won a few more games where they had the lead in the second half.
  • For all the criticism Tebow receives, he does a good job in taking care of the football for a young quarterback. He has the highest percentage of 2:1 ratio games in his career at 64 percent. Tebow and Newton (56%) are the only young QBs with over 50 percent of 2:1 ratio games in their career. Unfortunately for Tebow, he struggles to win a game when he doesn't play very well.

Summary and Conclusion

  1. The purpose of this study is to find statistics that have a high correlation to success so we can analyze players more accurately. This article showed that the 37 QBs have won 76.6 percent of the time when they perform at the highest level (at least a 2:1 TD:TO ratio), while the 15 Veterans are slightly higher with a 78.8 winning percentage.
  2. Since 21 of the 26 Qbs that have recorded at least 15 2:1 ratio games have a winning percentage over 70 percent, it appears that regardless of overall skill and experience that the majority of QBs will have success if they perform well in this statistic.
  3. Since 27 of the 37 Qbs have won more games each time their TD-TO ratio has increased in the three categories as well as 32 of the 37 QBs having their highest winning percentage in the highest TD-TO ratio, this study shows that this is a great way to measure a QBs performance over the course of a game, season and career.

Now that we have 3 stats (Pa Yards, YPT, TD-TO Ratio) to compare and contrast, here are a few rankings:
Best Winning % In Highest Performance Category (Category 1) For All 37 Qbs

  1. YPT (0.774)
  2. TD-TO Ratio (0.766)
  3. Pa Yards (0.588)

Best Winning % In Highest Performance Category (Category 1) For Veterans

  1. YPT (0.790)
  2. TD-TO Ratio (0.788)
  3. Pa Yards (0.615)

Best Winning % In Middle Performance Category (Category 2) For All 37 Qbs

  1. YPT (0.598)
  2. TD-TO Ratio (0.520)
  3. Pa Yards (0.588)

Best Winning % In Middle Performance Category (Category 2) For Veterans

  1. YPT (0.596)
  2. TD-TO Ratio (0.549)
  3. Pa Yards (0.615)


Worst Winning % In Lowest Performance Category (Category 3) For All 37 Qbs

  1. TD-TO Ratio (0.320)
  2. YPT (0.408)
  3. Pa Yards (0.534)

Worst Winning % In Lowest Performance Category (Category 3) For Veterans

  1. TD-TO Ratio (0.347)
  2. YPT (0.435)
  3. Pa Yards (0.568)

YPT edges out TD-TO ratio based on average to great performances (Categories 1 and 2). However, their is a significant edge to the TD-TO ratio when players perform poorly (Category 3). In the end, it comes down to how good were the Qbs being studied in their YPT average in the positive games vs. how bad these Qbs were in the TD-TO ratio in their negative games.


For example, Brady has recorded an 8.0+ YPT average in 36.1 percent of his games. P. Manning has recorded an 8.0+ YPT average in 39.2 percent of his games. Tom Brady has recorded a sub 1:1 TD-TO ratio game in 23.6 percent of his games. P. Manning has recorded a sub 1:1 TD-TO ratio game in 20.2 percent of his games.


For their careers, Tom Brady has a YPT average of 7.5 and P. Manning has a YPT average of 7.6. For their careers, Tom Brady has a TD-TO Ratio of 2.08:1 and P. Manning has a TD-TO ratio of 1.93:1.


It is amazing how well these two have performed in their careers. I know who I think is the more prolific QB vs. the more efficient QB. I will let you decide for yourselves.


Again, it is important to keep each statistic in its context and look at the whole picture instead of which stats support the claim you support. YPT and TD-TO ratio are great stats to use when analyzing a QB and they both should be considered. However, passing yards is a rather useless statistic and should be ignored unless you play fantasy football.


The next stat I will research before I get to the always scrutinized QB passer rating is completion percentage.

As always, go Broncos!

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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