Aaron Rodgers is having an incredible season. He leads the NFL in Quarterback Efficiency Rating (What is QBER?) with a huge QBER of 26.77. The second best QBER belongs to Drew Brees at 21.47. The NFL average QBER is 13.00.
How does Rodgers season measure in historical terms? Can we call it the greatest season any passer has ever had?
No. If you adjust for average, he’s got a ways to go before we can do that.
I randomly sampled what I believe to be some of the best QB seasons of all time, and then compared them to the average QBER of the particular season to see how much each exceeded average. The three I picked out all surpassed Rodgers 2011 season.
As you can see, Aaron Rodgers 2011 QBER does not exceed the 2011 NFL average by as great a percentage as the other sampled QB’s exceeded the standing average in the particular seasons I examined. Roger Staubach’s 1971 season was the best season among the four, and that season would be hard for any quarterback to ever top. For a 2011 QB to match Staubach’s brilliant 1971 season (in which he somehow split time with Craig Morton), he would need to post a QBER of 37.22.
To explain how difficult that would be to pull off, take a look at Aaron Rodgers performance yesterday. Yesterday Aaron Rodgers played a brilliant game. In that game, Rodgers posted a QBER of 31.51, which would not be good enough. Sure, if you take out the spike of the ball and the drop by Randall Cobb out of the equation, he probably would have been closer to the necessary 37.22, but nevertheless it illustrates just how tough it would be to play 186% above the NFL average in 2011 as Staubach did in 1971.