By Alex Vigderman & Mark Simon
Patrick Mahomes stood atop the World’s No. 1 Quarterback Ranking post-Super Bowl even after a game in which, by the basic numbers, he was significantly outplayed by the current No. 3 quarterback, Tom Brady.
What may surprise you is that by Points Above Average, which serves as the statistical underpinning of our evaluation system, Mahomes actually scored higher than Brady did.
Anybody watching the game could see that Mahomes was put in a bad spot by his teammates. Let’s start with the offensive line. The Chiefs blew 16 blocks on a Mahomes dropback, compared to the Bucs’ 2 on a Brady dropback.
Most quarterbacks that have to play behind 16 blown blocks would amass a large number of sacks and throw several interceptions. Mahomes was sacked three times and intercepted twice. It could have been a lot worse. In most of those ‘scrambling like crazy’ moments, he gave his receivers a chance to make plays, often with throws from awkward angles. Under the circumstances, he performed at an above-average level..
On those plays alone, Mahomes was worth 4 Points Above Average compared to -1 for Brady.
The Chiefs receiving corps also had some head-scratching (head-smacking?) drops in the game, which Total Points treats as a completion for the purpose of evaluating the quarterback.
Chiefs receivers had three drops, on which we awarded Mahomes 5 Points Above Average for the value of those throws. Brady suffered only one drop, and he was awarded 1 point for it.
In sum, on plays with either a blown block or a drop, Mahomes was worth 7 PAA to Brady’s 0, and on other plays it was 1 PAA for Brady compared to -5 for Mahomes. So Mahomes edged out Brady in PAA, 2-1.
The post-Super Bowl top five in the World’s No. 1 QB Ranking are:
1. Patrick Mahomes
2. Aaron Rodgers
3. Tom Brady
4. Deshaun Watson
5. Russell Wilson
A reminder that The World’s No. 1 Quarterback Ranking is based on a model devised by Bill James to evaluate The World’s No. 1 Starting Pitcher. Bill’s model was based on cumulative evaluation of individual starts over an extended time period using the metric Game Score.
The World’s No. 1 Quarterback Ranking uses our player value stat, Total Points to make a cumulative evaluation of game performance over a three-year period. The key to our calculation is PAA, which as we previously noted, is the statistical underpinning of Total Points that is centered at zero so that positive numbers are above average and negative numbers are below average.
Success over time is key to maintaining a good ranking. Prolonged inactivity results in a ranking drop. The most recent performances carry the most weight.
Looking ahead to the offseason, there’s a prominent amount of quarterback movement expected in both trades and free agency. The Colts, whose starting quarterback, Philip Rivers (ranked No. 11 in The World’s No. 1 QB Ranking), just retired, just traded for Carson Wentz, who ended the season ranked second-to-last at No. 85 in our rankings, one spot ahead of Sam Darnold.
Wentz will be playing behind an offensive line that had the third-lowest pressure percentage allowed in the league last season (the Eagles ranked last), so if that holds, he’ll have room and time to throw. He’ll need to be better than his ranking 32nd in on-target percentage from a clean pocket in 2020.
Darnold may also be out of a job depending on which direction the Jets go with the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft.
The Wentz move followed the swap of Matthew Stafford (No. 14 in our rankings) and Jared Goff (No. 27) by the Lions and Rams. Goff had actually been one spot ahead of Stafford in the QB rankings entering the season but tumbled from No. 15 to 27 in 2020.
A couple of our highest-ranked quarterbacks could be involved in future deals. The most notable of those is No. 4 Deshaun Watson, who has asked to be traded from the Texans. Watson had an MVP-caliber season in terms of statistical value, but the Texans sputtered mostly due to a poor-performing defense. The price for Watson will be steep given the caliber of the player being traded in the prime of his career and the price established by the Stafford-Goff swap.
The No. 6 quarterback in our rankings, Derek Carr, is a tempting option for teams to try to acquire, though the Raiders have rejected any efforts so far. Carr is the quarterback whose high ranking was questioned most often when we revealed our rankings. But he ranked 10th among quarterbacks in Points Earned this season after ranking 5th in that stat in 2019. His complete body of work warrants his current position and the Raiders will be challenged to find someone better.
The post-Super Bowl rankings are below.
|Rk||Player||PAA/60||Last Rk||Start Of Season|
|66||Robert Griffin III||-3.2||66||61|