As regular readers know, I have been waging a one-man battle in the Stadium for years against what I believe to be rampant stupidity on 1) the way quarterbacks are graded and 2) the value of the quarterback position. My charge is that typical fans are simply jumping on bandwagon opinions without thought. The "experts" who keep the bandwagon rolling are people like Rick Gosselin, Hall of Fame football writer for the Dallas Morning News who recently wrote:
"With all the rule changes over the years that have handcuffed defenses, football is now a game played in the hands of the quarterback. I’ve long believed the quarterback position is 85 percent of a championship equation in college and 75 percent in the NFL."
While the quarterback position is certainly the most important on any NFL team, that 75% estimate is world-class dumb. The average NFL team over the past nine years, passed the football 33 times per game while the offense, defense and special teams were involved in 142.4 plays in the average game. 33 divided by 142.4 is 23.2%.
In other words, if the quarterback designed the scheme, trained all the players, called his own plays, needed no protection, passed the ball, and then ran downfield to catch it, his position would be worth about 23%. Gosselin's 75% estimate is an example of the kind of absurdity that propels the bandwagon thinking on quarterbacks.
If we give the coaching (scheme, training and playcalling) its due and value the average QB position as equal in worth to all ten of his teammates in the passing game put together, the average quarterback position value is about 9.3%. That number makes him the most important player on the field by far.
This thread is concerned only with the value of the position
The reader needs to bear in mind that the average quarterback position value does not change whether the quarterback is good, bad or mediocre. However, the scheme and play calling can change the QB position value. For example, the average scheme passes on 54.5% of their offensive plays. If the scheme called for more passing, the value of the QB position would go up. If the QB is asked to use his legs outside the pocket and throw on the move, the position value goes up. Example:
The value of a specific NFL team's QB position is 10% based on a pocket passer averaging 35 throws per game. Using a scale of five to grade the talent of pocket passers, an average pocket passer is a three. The top grade passer is a five.
So, .10 X 3 = .30 and .10 X 5 = .50
However, for this discussion, you must understand that we are only concerned with estimating the value of the position, .10 in this example. So, QB grades on his talent are not relevant.
The stats used in this estimate were obtained as follows:
The average pass and rush attempts were based on the 16th ranked teams over a nine-year stretch (2003 - 2011). The special teams stats were based on a 176 game sample in 2012.
33.0 -- pass attempts
27.6 -- rush attempts
02.2 -- FG attempts
02.7 -- XP attempts
05.2 -- punts*
05.7 -- kickoffs
71.2 -- for each team on offense
71.2 -- for each team on defense
142.4 -- average team total of plays per game
[ *I just noticed that I did not add in the 5.2 for punts which would give me a slightly stronger argument. I'll just leave it as it is.]
23.2% -- the 33 pass attempts as % of 142.4
18.6% -- after reduction for 20% coaching factor: techniques, playcalling, scheme
09.3% -- after reducing for 50% value of protection and receivers
9.3% -- value of the average QB position
Since this calculation isn't a precision instrument, let's round that number up to 10%
A 10% impact is a big number for one player in a league where parity reigns.
My primary source for stats: