I went back 11 years; the 2002 thru 2012 seasons. How did I pick 11 years? The numbers for QB ranking and team W-L records were readily available on ESPN’s web site. Hey, I’m not claiming there is anything scientific going on here. If you don’t like my numbers, do your own. It only takes a spreadsheet with a few thousand cells.
Let’s look at what it means to have a QB ranked anywhere from 1-16. The following is what I came up with.
There were 57 QB’s who were average or better in any given year over the 11 years I looked at. Most of the names are not surprises. Many players only made the list a small number of times because their careers ended several years ago. Many others will undoubtedly make it many more times but only made this list a time or two because they are at the beginning of their careers. The following are the players who made the list the most times. Ties are listed in alphabetical order.
Tom Brady – 10.
Peyton Manning – 10.
Drew Brees – 9.
Donovan McNabb – 8.
Ben Roethlisberger – 7.
At the other end, 22 players made the list just one time. I won’t bore you with their names.
Football is a team sport. But the list of teams whose QB’s finished in the top half is directly related to the players’ names you see above. That’s not really a surprise, is it?
Indianapolis Colts – 9 (Manning 9).
Houston gets the asterisk for being the only team to have two QB’s in the top 16 in the same year (2007, Schaub was 13th and Rosenfels 16th).
At the other end of the list we have the following.
Cleveland Browns – 0 (Yes, zero).
Detroit Lions – 1 (Matt Stafford).
Chicago Bears – 2 (Cutler).
Our Chiefs had a QB ranked in the top half six times.
Trent Green (4).
Damon Huard (1).
Matt Cassel (1).
It’s all about W’s. To make it simple, I looked at how the teams with a top 16 QB did. We all know there are times when one QB doesn’t play every game. It would be a huge undertaking to break down every game. In 11 years there are 2816 regular season games and 121 post season games. I just don’t have the time for that kind of effort. And besides, I told you up front this isn’t a scientific study. And I did remember to not count Houston’s record twice in 2007.
Teams with a top 16 QB went 1681-1117-2 for a winning percentage of 60.1%, counting the ties as a half a win.
Next let’s look at how the team’s seasons went. The following is the number of wins teams had, the number of times any team finished with that number of wins, the number of times teams with that win total had a top 16 QB, and the percentage.
The moral of that story is if you want to have a lot of wins or if you want to avoid a really high draft pick, you want a top 16 QB.
Now let’s turn our attention to the post season. It’s a place we all want our favorite team to be. There are 12 teams in every year, so that’s 132 teams in 11 years. 101 of those teams, or 75.6%, had a top 16 QB.
With 8 division winners each year there are 88 total in my sample. 71 of those had a top 16 QB. That is 80.7%.
We Chiefs fans know that having home field advantage doesn’t guarantee you a trip to the Super Bowl. It didn’t work for Atlanta or Denver this year either. But who doesn’t want HFA? It does guarantee you get to play at home, as long as you keep winning. Out of 22 teams with HFA, 21 of them had a top 16 QB. That is a mind blowing 95.5%. The lone exception is the 2006 Chicago Bears. Rex Grossman was the league’s 24th rated passer that year.
How about Conference Champions? The teams that win either the Lamar Hunt or George Halas trophies. The teams that get to play in the Big Kahuna, the Super Bowl. 18 out of 22 for 81.8%.
Last but not least, let’s turn our attention to the Super Bowl winners. The World Champions. The winners of the Lombardi Trophy. Of the 11 teams that got a parade in their home city, 9 had a QB ranked in the top 16 for 81.8%. The exceptions are the 2007 New York Giant and the 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers. Eli Manning ranked 25th in 2007 and Ben Roethlisberger ranked 24th in 2008. I would argue that they are both better than average NFL QB’s. For various reasons they may have not played their best for the 16 game regular season, but they each had a good post season with a rating over 90.
So, back to the original question. Just how good of a QB do you really need. If you want a team that is a regular in the playoffs and has at least an occasional shot at winning it all, you want an average or better QB year after year. A "game manager" at QB is not likely to get you where you want to be. It may happen once in a blue moon, but it is not a strategy I would pursue.
For our Chiefs, that leaves us stuck in limbo land again. There are no top 16 QB’s likely to be available by trade or through free agency. And this year’s draft class doesn’t appear to have any sure fire winners. So we get to muddle along, if not outright suck, for another year.
This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.