What is a Good QBR in Football

Behind the Number: What Makes a Good QBR in Football?

Football is more than just a game of brute strength and speed; it’s a game of numbers too. Among the various stats and figures floating around, the Quarterback Rating (QBR) stands out as a crucial metric for evaluating a quarterback’s prowess on the field.

But what exactly is a QBR, and why is it so important? Let’s dive in!

Definition of QBR (Quarterback Rating)

The Quarterback Rating, or QBR, is a statistical way of measuring a quarterback’s performance in a game. It’s like a report card for quarterbacks, giving us a single number that encapsulates how well they’ve played.

Historical Background of QBR as a Metric in Football

The QBR has been around since the 1970s. Before this metric came along, analyzing a quarterback’s performance was a bit of a messy affair, with pundits and fans having to sift through a heap of different stats.

The QBR was a game-changer, providing a streamlined way to evaluate quarterbacks by crunching various performance metrics into one digestible number.

Importance of QBR in Evaluating a Quarterback’s Performance

A quarterback is often seen as the linchpin of the football team, orchestrating plays and making pivotal decisions on the field. The QBR, in a way, helps us gauge the effectiveness and efficiency of a quarterback in their role. By looking at a quarterback’s QBR, coaches, scouts, and fans can get a quick sense of how well they’re doing.

Calculation of QBR

Understanding how QBR is calculated might seem like a dive into a mathematical jungle, but worry not! We’ll keep it simple.

Explanation of the Formula

The QBR formula takes into account a handful of key performance indicators to churn out a number between 0 and 158.3. The higher the number, the better the performance.

Factors Included in the QBR Calculation

Here are the main ingredients that go into the QBR stew:

  1. Completion Percentage: This is the ratio of completed passes to attempted passes. Completing a pass is a basic yet crucial quarterback skill, and this factor assesses how good they are at it.
  2. Yards per Attempt: This measures how many yards are gained per pass attempt. It’s a good indicator of a quarterback’s ability to move the ball down the field.
  3. Touchdown Percentage: Scoring touchdowns is the name of the game, and this factor looks at how often a quarterback’s passes result in six points on the board.
  4. Interception Percentage: Interceptions are a quarterback’s nemesis, and this factor examines how often their passes end up in the wrong hands.

Example Calculations to Illustrate the QBR Formula

Now, let’s take a hypothetical quarterback – we’ll call him Matrick Pahomes. Suppose Matrick has a completion percentage of 65%, gains an average of 7.5 yards per attempt, has a touchdown percentage of 6%, and an interception percentage of 2%.

Plugging these figures into the QBR formula would give us a specific number that reflects this quarterback’s performance.

Through this simplified lens, you can see how QBR provides a consolidated view of a quarterback’s game performance, making it easier for everyone – from seasoned analysts to casual fans – to understand and appreciate the quarterback’s role in the game of football.

Benchmarks for a Good QBR

Understanding what constitutes a good QBR can help put a quarterback’s performance in perspective. Over the years, the benchmarks for what’s considered a good QBR have evolved, reflecting changes in the game and the rise of exceptional quarterbacks who’ve raised the bar.

Historical Benchmarks

In the earlier days of football, a QBR of around 70 was often seen as quite solid. Some Hall of Fame quarterbacks from yesteryears had QBRs hovering around this mark.

  1. Hall of Fame Quarterbacks’ QBRs: Icons like Terry Bradshaw and Joe Namath had QBRs in the 70s, showcasing a level of performance that was deemed exceptional in their era.
  2. League Average QBR Over Time: The league average QBR has been a moving target, reflecting the evolving standards of quarterback performance.

Modern Benchmarks

Fast forward to today, and the expectations have soared. With the advent of passing-friendly rules and the emergence of quarterback legends, a QBR in the high 90s or even over 100 is not unheard of.

  1. Comparison of Top Quarterback QBRs in Recent Seasons: Modern-day maestros like Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers often flaunt QBRs north of 100, setting a high standard for quarterback excellence.
  2. League Average QBR in the Modern Era: The league average QBR nowadays hovers around the mid to high 80s, showcasing the elevated level of quarterback play in recent times.

Impact of a Good QBR

A quarterback with a good QBR is like a well-oiled engine propelling a car forward. The impact of a good QBR extends beyond individual accolades—it can significantly influence a team’s fortunes and the way players (and coaches) are evaluated and rewarded in the football industry.

Correlation Between QBR and Team Success

Teams with quarterbacks boasting high QBRs often find themselves in the playoff mix, showcasing the direct link between quarterback efficiency and team success. When a quarterback performs well, it’s akin to a ripple effect that galvanizes the entire team.

To give you an example, in 2022, out of the 12 quarterbacks with the highest QBR in the league, 10 of them made the playoffs.

Criticisms and Limitations of QBR

Like any metric, the QBR isn’t without its fair share of criticisms. Some argue that it oversimplifies a quarterback’s performance, while others believe it might not capture the full picture. Let’s explore some of the common grievances and see how they hold up.

Arguments Against QBR as a Comprehensive Metric

  1. Over-simplification: Critics argue that boiling down a quarterback’s performance to a single number might overlook the nuances and context of each game.
  2. Not Accounting for All Variables: QBR doesn’t factor in elements like the quality of the opposing defense, weather conditions, or the performance of a quarterback’s offensive line, which can significantly impact a game.

Comparison with Other Quarterback Evaluation Metrics

  1. Passer Rating vs QBR: The NFL passer rating, another popular quarterback evaluation metric, has been around longer and is often compared to QBR. Some prefer it for its simplicity while others lean towards QBR for a more modern evaluation.
  2. Advanced Metrics: With the rise of advanced analytics, new metrics like Expected Points Added (EPA) and Completion Percentage Over Expectation (CPOE) have emerged, offering alternative ways to evaluate quarterback performance.

Addressing the Criticisms: What QBR Can and Cannot Tell Us

  1. A Piece of the Puzzle: While QBR might not be the be-all and end-all, it provides a valuable glimpse into a quarterback’s performance. It’s one of many tools that can help fans and analysts alike understand the game better.


As we march down the field of football analytics, the Quarterback Rating (QBR) remains a robust, albeit imperfect, measure of quarterback performance. It gives us a snapshot of how well a quarterback is playing, making the complex game of football a bit more understandable for everyone tuning in.

So the next time you find yourself engrossed in a game, take a moment to consider the numbers behind the passes, and you might just find a new layer of enjoyment in this beloved sport.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *