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Eli Manning 'Well Above Average' In ESPN's New QB Rating System

ESPN has apparently gotten fed up with the entirely inadequate statistic known as quarterback rating, and has developed a whole new way of measuring quarterback play. The system is called Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) and many of you won't believe it, but Eli Manning of the New York Giants grades out quite favorably in the QBR system.

Manning, the often-criticized and seemingly under-appreciated quarterback, was placed in the 'Well Above Average' category in a sneak-peek at the ratings. Also in that category were Josh Freeman of Tampa Bay and Phillip Rivers of San Diego.

The system rated several big-name quarterbacks below Manning. Ben Roethlisberger of Pittsburgh, Tony Romo of Dallas and Joe Flacco of Baltimore were considered "above average." Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets was "around average," Jay Cutler of Chicago was rated "below average" and the now-retired Brett Favre graded as "poor."

How does the system work?

The QBR formula takes into account down, distance, field position, time remaining, rushing, passing sacks, fumbles, interceptions, how far each pass travels in the air, from where on the field the ball was thrown, yards after the catch, dropped balls, defensed balls, whether the quarterback was hit, whether he threw away the ball to avoid a sack, whether the pass was thrown accurately, etc. Each play carries "clutch weight" based on its importance to game outcome, as determined by analyzing those 60,000 plays since 2008. The stats adjust for quarterbacks facing an unusually high number of these situations.

Following are the complete QBR results. Exact scores have not yet been publicized.

  • Top tier: Brady, Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, Michael Vick, Rodgers and Drew Brees.
  • Well above average: Josh Freeman, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers.
  • Above average: Ben Roethlisberger, Tony Romo, Joe Flacco, Matt Schaub, David Garrard and Kerry Collins.
  • Around average: Matt Cassel, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mark Sanchez, Carson Palmer, Colt McCoy, Kyle Orton and Jon Kitna.
  • Below average: Shaun Hill, Jason Campbell, Jay Cutler, Matt Hasselbeck, Chad Henne, Donovan McNabb, Sam Bradford and Alex Smith.
  • Poor: Derek Anderson, Brett Favre and Jimmy Clausen.