Quarterbacks (A Non-Draft Related Post)

If you're like me, the periods called "Free Agency" and "The Draft," are times of mixxed emotions. On the one hand, it's exciting to see which players will soon don the Orange and Blue, and which we will be watching drive off into the orange sunset. It's a time when the imagination can soar. A time when the older fans dream dreams while the younger fans see visions . . . well . . . maybe not quite like that, but you get the idea.

Yet, if you're like me, it is also a time of frustration. It is this way because, to be frank, I don't know squat about how to evaluate college talent, and I have no seer's crystal ball to let me get inside the head of McDaniels and Xanders. When it comes to prognostications, put bluntly, I stink. Now if you were to talk about prestidigitation with cards, I'm fairly good . . . but wait . . . that's not really what I'm here to talk about.

I don't usually build mock drafts (I created my very first one, in 30 years of fandom, last year after joining MHR. Needless to say, my predictions were not particularly accurate . . . okay, okay . . . they were pretty much all dead wrong. As a result, while I appreciate the efforts and expertise, I have little to add to the conversation revolving around the draft. I quite quickly get tired of reading a draft and only being able to add: "That's Interesting," or "I like what you've done with the draft board."

So . . . this leaves me with the task of finding pertinent (and hopefully interesting) to talk about during the draft season. Strangely enough, I found a topic that interested me enough that I wanted to do some research and inflict it . . . ooops . . . I mean share it with all of you. There recently were several posts and a plethora of comments regarding the idea of the Broncos pursuing and possibly acquiring Donovan McNabb (if you want to learn of my position on that subject, you'll have to visit those posts). Personally, I believe that both Sayre and Broncosfansd deserve a resounding round of applause for initiating and sustaining an incredibly diverse, intelligent and intriguing discussion of the topic. There was quite a discussion revolving around the concept of what kind of quarterback would give the Broncos the best chance to advance to the Super Bowl. This led me to take a look at the last ten quarterbacks to win the Super Bowl. After the jump, I'll share what I've learned.

I feel that I must start with something of an aside, for it concerns the way I approach research and presentations. As some of you may be aware, I've been an avid Broncos fan since 1969 -- wow, was it really 30+ year ago that my parents moved us to Denver? Crud, I suddenly feel old. Anyhow, I've spent the last 21 years working in Special Education, specializing in behavioral & social/emotional dysfunctions. My training, and my daily job require me to observe and chart measurable behaviors. A part of my job is to then identify antecedents to behaviors, discern patterns in the behaviors and determine how to best modify those behaviors.

I share this because I tend to carry that job training and perspective into my discussions about the Broncos, and about football in general. Statistics are the NFL's method of charting measurable behaviors. This is why, when entering into a discussion/debate/argument regarding football, I will research and cite statistics. This is also why I'm disinclined to simply accept points based on such nebulous things as appeals to "anonymous sources." Thus, when my attention is caught (which being somewhat ADHD, it gets caught by a lot of things) by an interesting comment, I will go to the record books, statistic sheets, websites, etc., look up pertinent statistics and try to discern as objectively as possible (though a completely objective perspective, IMHO, is simply not possible) any patterns that might pertain to the discussion at hand.

What I've done is collect some interesting information regarding the last ten quarterbacks to win the Super Bowl. I arbitrarily chose to ignore repeats in order to find ten different quarterbacks to profile. In the case of Roethlisberger, Brady and Elway, the three most recent repeat winners, I chose to take the year in which they won their first Super Bowl.

I have included some basic information about each quarterback, their personal passing statistics from the regular season that led up to their Super Bowl win, and the offensive and defensive rankings of their team in that year. I'm hoping that other people will have statistics that they can add to the discussion. I rather arbitrarily chose to include Completion Percentage and Average/Attempt, as opposed to Completions and Yards, as I believe it will be easier to compare quarterbacks. It is much more difficult to compare such things as Yards, when one quarterback completed 500 passes while the next one only completed 200, if you see what I mean.

In any event, on to the stats;

Super Bowl Season Quarterback Height Weight Team Number of Seasons Completion Percentage Average/ Attempt TDs Int 1st Down Percentage 20+ 40+ Sacks Rating Offensive Rank Pts Offensive Rank Yds Defensive Rank Pts Defensive Rank Yds Turnover Ratio
XLIV 2009 Drew Brees 6' 0" 209 New Orleans Saints 9 70.6 8.5 34 11 40.9 58 11 20 109.6 1st 1st 20th 25th 11
XLII 2007 Eli Manning 6' 4" 218 New York Giants 4 56.1 6.3 23 20 31.2 36 6 27 73.9 14th 16th 17th 7th -9
XLI 2006 Peyton Manning 6' 5" 230 Indianapolis Colts 9 65 7.9 31 9 43.3 53 7 14 101 2nd 3rd 23rd 21st 7
XL 2005 Ben Roethlisberger 6' 5" 240 Pittsburgh Steelers 2 62.7 8.9 17 9 41.4 35 12 23 96.6 9th 15th 3rd 4th 7
XXXVII 2002 Brad Johnson 6' 5" 226 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9 62.3 6.8 22 6 31.5 32 6 21 92.9 18th 24th 1st 1st 17
XXXVI 2001 Tom Brady 6' 4" 225 New England Patriots 2 63.9 6.9 18 12 34.6 32 6 41 86.5 6th 19th 6th 24th -2
XXXV 2000 Trent Dilfer 6' 4" 225 Baltimore Ravens 7 59.3 6.6 12 11 31 18 6 23 76.6 14th 16th 1st 2nd 23
XXXIV 1999 Kurt Warner 6' 2" 220 St Louis Rams 2 (NFL) 4 (Arena & Europe) 65.1 8.7 41 13 39.3 60 16 29 109.2 1st 1st 4th 6th 5
XXXII 1997 John Elway 6' 3" 215 Denver Broncos 15 55.8 7.2 27 11 33.7 52 10 34 87.5 1st 1st 6th 5th 10
XXXI 1996 Brett Favre 6' 2" 225 Green Bay Packers 6 59.9 7.2 39 13 35.7 49 22 40 95.8 1st 5th 1st 2nd 15

There are a number of observations that can be made about these Super Bowl winning quarterbacks:

1)7 of the 10 are 6' 3" or taller
2)6 of the 10 are 6' 4" or taller
3)7 of the 10 weighed 220 or more
4)6 of the 10 weighed 225 or more

Experience (including the Super Bowl season)
Disclaimer: I'm considering Warner to have had 6 years of experience since he played 4 years in the Arena League and 1 year in NFL Europe before being picked up by the Rams and then leading them to a Super Bowl win in his second official NFL season.
1)7 of the 10 had 6 or more seasons
2)4 of the 10 had 9 seasons or more

Passing Statistics in the Season leading to the Super Bowl

1)8 of the 10 completed 59% or more of their passes
2)6 of the 10 completed 62% or more of their passes

3)8 of the 10 had a per attempt average of 6.8 or more
4)6 of the 10 had a per attempt average of 7.2 or more

5)7 of the 10 threw 22 or more touchdowns
6)5 of the 10 threw 27 or more touchdowns

7)9 of the 10 threw 13 or fewer interceptions
8)6 of the 10 threw 11 or fewer interceptions

9)7 of the 10 had a first down percentage of 33% or more
10)5 of the 10 had a first down percentage of 35% or more

11)7 of the 10 had 35 or more pass plays of 20+ yards
12)5 of the 10 had 49 or more pass plays of 20+ yards

13)5 of the 10 had 10 or more pass plays of 40+ yards
14)2 of the 10 had 16 or more pass plays of 40+ yards

15)7 of the 10 were sacked 29 times or less
16)1 of the 10 was sacked less than 20 times

17)8 of the 10 had a passer rating of 86.5 or better
18)6 of the 10 had a passer rating of 92.9 or better

Team Rankings (or the Supporting Cast of Characters)
1)6 of the 10 had an offense ranked in points, in the top 10
2)5 of the 10 had an offense ranked in points in the top 5
3)5 of the 10 had an offense ranked in yards in the top 10
4)5 of the 10 had an offense ranked in yards in the top 5

1)7 of the 10 had a defense ranked in points in the top 10
2)5 of the 10 had a defense ranked in points in the top 5
3)7 of the 10 had a defense ranked in yards in the top 10
4)5 of the 10 had a defense ranked in yards in the top 5

5)No team won the Super Bowl without at least one of the four categories in the top 10
6)Only 3 teams had all 4 categories in the top 10
7)Only 1 team had all four categories in the top 5

8)8 of the 10 had a positive Turnover Ratio
9)5 of the 10 had a Turnover Ratio of +10 or more

Some Conclusions

So, as the Broncos build themselves up for a Super Bowl run, they should be looking for the following to be in place in the season leading up to the Super Bowl:

1)A quarterback who is at least 6' 3" and 220 pounds; 6' 4" & 225 would be preferable.

2)A quarterback with at least 6 seasons of experience.

3)A quarterback who completes at least 59% of his passes.

4)A quarterback who averages at least 6.8 yards per attempt.

5)A quarterback who throws at least 22 touchdowns.

6)A quarterback who throws less than 13 interceptions.

7)A quarterback with a first down percentage of 33% or better.

8)A quarterback who has at least 35 passing plays of 20+ yards.

9)A quarterback who has at least 10 passing plays of 40+ yards.

10)A quarterback who is sacked 29 or fewer times.

11)A quarterback with a passer rating of 86.5 or better.

12)A defense that ranks in the top 10 in points & yards allowed.

13)An offense that ranks in the top 10 in either points or yards.

Accomplish these things and we will have the same formula that worked for 7 out of the last 10 quarterbacks to win the Super Bowl. It is interesting to note that there a number of quarterbacks whose performance in 2009 could place them in the running so far as the personal passing statistics go -- including that Neckbeard that some just love while others love to hate.

It's also worth noting that Orton fits all of the criteria laid out above except in two categories: Touchdowns (he only had 21 in 2009) and 40+ yard pass plays (he only had 9 in 2009). Further, it is encouraging to note that our defense missed only 1 category: points allowed; we were 12th. The yards were 7th.

Our offense as a whole needs to improve, however. We ranked 20th in points scored and 15th in yards amassed. One of those needs to improve to top 10 ranking for us to have any chance at all. Personally, I'd like to see the defense and the offense both get into the top 10 in points.

In any event, just a few fun tidbits for thought. Let me know what you think.

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