What Is QBR in Football? A Comprehensive Guide

Quarterback rolling out in the pocket.

Analytics are taking over the sporting world and football is no exception. There are many metrics to measure the proficiency of players, and QBR is one of them.

So, what Is QBR in Football?

Total QBR (Quarterback Rating) is a football metric evaluating a quarterback’s performance, considering passing accuracy, touchdowns, interceptions, yards gained, and rushing. Scores range from 0 to 100 and provide a more comprehensive analysis than traditional passer ratings.

While QBR isn’t everything, it does a good job of showcasing the proficiency of quarterbacks. Throughout this article, we’ll go into more detail on what QBR measures, how it stacks up to passer rating, what a good QBR is, and much more – so stick around!

What Is QBR in Football?

Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) is a proprietary statistic created by ESPN in 2011 to measure the performance of quarterbacks. QBR takes into account multiple aspects of a quarterback’s play, such as passing, rushing, turnovers, and penalties, in order to calculate their overall contributions to winning a game.

To provide an accurate assessment of a quarterback’s performance, the highest possible QBR score is 100, while the lowest is zero. The formula for calculating QBR utilizes various statistics, including passing yards, touchdowns, pass completions, interceptions, and other actions recorded by the player during games.

An essential feature of the QBR calculation is that it incorporates both individual and team play. By doing so, the statistic can predict the likelihood of a team’s victory based on a quarterback’s performance. 

For instance, a QBR of 75 indicates that a team would be expected to win about 75 percent of the time, assuming all other factors such as defense and offensive teammates remain constant.

What Does QBR Measure?

QBR is calculated on a per-play basis, taking into account crucial details and contexts of each individual play, such as down and distance or the quality of the defense faced. This allows for a more complete evaluation of a quarterback’s impact on a game’s outcome, compared to traditional passer ratings.

In order to provide a clear and interpretable number, QBR is translated to a scale ranging from 0 to 100. The higher the number, the better the performance. A quarterback with a QBR near 100 is considered to have played an extremely efficient game, while a 0 indicates a poor performance.

How Is QBR Calculated?

To calculate QBR, ESPN first determines the Expected Points Added (EPA) for each play in which a quarterback is involved. EPA takes into account various elements of the game like down, distance, and field position, and quantifies the change in expectations for scoring depending on the outcome of the play. 

For each play, the team-level EPA is calculated, then divided among the quarterback and his teammates to assess their individual contributions.

The next step is to account for the context of the play, such as the level of difficulty, opponent adjustments, and the situation within the game (e.g., garbage time or high-leverage situations). Contextual factors help differentiate between truly outstanding quarterback performances and more average ones, even when the raw numbers might seem similar.

QBR operates on a scale from 0 to 100, with higher numbers indicating better performance. A rating of 50 represents an average NFL quarterback, while a rating of 75 or more implies an excellent level of play. 

In comparison, the traditional NFL passer rating formula ranges from 0 to 158.3, only focusing on completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdowns per attempt, and interceptions per attempt.

Some criticisms of QBR include concerns about subjectivity, particularly regarding how credit is allocated among the participating players. Nonetheless, QBR has gained traction as a valuable measure of quarterback performance because it offers a comprehensive view of a player’s impact beyond basic passing statistics.

What Is a Good QBR in Football?

Quarterback throwing the ball near his own end zone.

A good QBR in the NFL is a rating of 50 or higher. Below-average NFL quarterbacks typically have a QBR rating of 45 and below, while elite quarterbacks tend to have an average QBR of 60 or higher. 

The QBR system is designed to differentiate between quarterbacks and their contributions to winning, ensuring a fair and comprehensive comparison. It’s essential to remember that a good QBR is just one way to gauge a quarterback’s performance, and it shouldn’t be the sole determining factor when evaluating a player’s overall skill set. 

Context is crucial, as different games and situations might affect a quarterback’s QBR differently. For instance, a high raw QBR might be adjusted based on the quality of the opposing team’s defense.

What Is the Highest QBR Possible?

The highest possible QBR a quarterback can achieve is 100. This score indicates an impeccable performance and a near-perfect execution of their duties on the football field. 

To arrive at this exceptional rating, a player needs to excel in all crucial aspects of the game, contributing significantly to their team’s victory. When a quarterback has a QBR of 75 or more, it is estimated that, if all other factors remain constant, their team will win about 75% of the time.

It is important to remember that the QBR system is a composite measure that depends on specific game situations and individual contributions. Therefore, achieving a perfect score of 100 is an extraordinarily rare occurrence, reflecting incredible skill, decision-making, and consistency on the part of the quarterback. 

Football enthusiasts and analysts alike rely on QBR as a reliable and objective metric to evaluate the leadership and overall excellence of a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL).

What Was the Highest QBR in History?

The highest QBR in a single season was recorded by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in 2007 when he achieved a QBR of 87. However, it’s important to note that this record is subject to change as newer seasons of football unfold and talented quarterbacks continue to improve their game.

Notable mentions of other record-breaking QBR seasons include Peyton Manning’s 2006 season QBR of 86.4 and Aaron Rodgers’ 2011 season QBR of 83.8. These achievements highlight the consistency and prowess of these players in the sport of football, with Manning, Brady, and Rodgers often considered among the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

Highest Career QBRs

Tom Brady has the highest single-season QBR ever recorded at 87.0. Another celebrated quarterback, Drew Brees, made it to the top 5 single-season QBR leaders with an 82.3 QBR in 2011 with the New Orleans Saints.

Peyton Manning, widely regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, left his mark with an 86.4 QBR in the 2006 season. In recent years, the young and dynamic Lamar Jackson has emerged as a game-changer in the NFL. During his 2019 season, Jackson earned an impressive 83.0 QBR, solidifying his spot as one of the most potent quarterbacks in the league.

Is QBR a Good Statistic?

Quarterback handing the ball off to the running back.

While some critics argue that QBR is not a perfect indicator of a quarterback’s overall performance, it does offer insights into their efficiency and effectiveness on the field. 

QBR is similar to other efficiency stats like yards per play or yards per attempt, which are widely used in evaluating players’ performance. This makes QBR a useful tool for assessing a player’s performance in comparison to others.

A good total QBR in the NFL is a rating of 50 or higher, with elite quarterbacks typically having an average QBR of 60 or higher. This means that a higher QBR indicates a better performance, while a lower QBR suggests a player may be struggling.

However, it is important to note that QBR does not take into account every situation or aspect of a game, and as with any statistic, it should not be the sole criteria for judging a player’s performance or effectiveness. 

It is essential to consider various factors, such as the strength of the opposing defense, the performance of the offensive line, and the overall context of the game when evaluating a quarterback’s performance.

QBR vs Passer Rating

In football, evaluating a quarterback’s performance is crucial for understanding a team’s success. Two metrics used to measure a quarterback’s effectiveness are QBR and passer rating. Each has its own unique method of calculation, and they serve different purposes in analyzing a player’s performance on the field.

One of the key factors in QBR calculation is win probability, which takes into account the situation of each play, such as down, distance, and field position. By incorporating these factors, QBR aims to provide a more accurate representation of a quarterback’s impact on the outcome of a game.

On the other hand, passer rating is an older metric that mainly focuses on a quarterback’s passing efficiency. It takes into account statistical categories such as yards, touchdowns, interceptions, and completion/attempts to calculate a rating on a scale of 0 to 158.3. 

Although it provides a basic evaluation of a quarterback’s passing performance, the passer rating system does not consider aspects like running ability or impact on win probability.

When comparing QBR and passer rating, it’s essential to recognize that each metric serves a different purpose. QBR provides a more comprehensive evaluation of a quarterback’s overall performance and contribution to their team’s success, while passer rating specifically assesses passing efficiency.

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Steven G.

My name is Steven and I love everything sports! I created this website to share my passion with all of you. Enjoy!

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