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How NFL Quarterback Ratings Work


The Reason for the Ratings
Aaron Rodgers, of the Green Bay Packers, prepares to pass in a 2010 game against the Chicago Bears.
Aaron Rodgers, of the Green Bay Packers, prepares to pass in a 2010 game against the Chicago Bears.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

After you've crunched numbers and have the final rating, you're probably wondering what the point is of all that work. The short answer is so we know the quarterbacks' ratings. What that means for the average football fan is that the rating system is a way to judge current players against other current players as well as those from the past. By using cold, concrete numbers like completions and touchdowns, you can get as objective a look at a quarterback's passing performance as possible.

Famous Green Bay Packer's coach Vince Lombardi once said, "If you're not keeping score, you're just practicing," which reflects the main reason behind the rating system as it pertains to the sport as a whole [source: Steinberg]. It is a way to know who the best players are, and if we can hold them all to the same standard, then we can determine more definitively who's passing well and who isn't.

Despite some flaws that we will look at next, the system does a good job of showing the bad, the good and the best of the NFL. While the older systems were a lot less complicated and relied on only one or two categories, they were often unfair and were based too much on comparing quarterbacks' performance against the group instead of looking at them on a one-on-one basis [source: Oates]. The new system gives the players something to work toward and the fans one more stat with which to chart their favorite players' performance.

Like any system, there are going to be those who think it could be better. Read on to learn about the problems with and proposed solutions for quarterback ratings.