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World’s No. 1 QB Rankings: Post-Super Bowl Update

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.

Trade Talk

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.

RkPlayerPAA/60Last RkStart Of Season
1Patrick Mahomes7.211
2Aaron Rodgers6.722
3Tom Brady5.6311
4Deshaun Watson5.2414
5Russell Wilson3.853
6Derek Carr3.465
7Josh Allen3.2724
8Kirk Cousins2.488
9Ryan Tannehill2.2923
10Matt Ryan2.21010
11Philip Rivers2.11112
12Lamar Jackson2.1126
13Justin Herbert2.013N/A
14Matthew Stafford1.01516
15Drew Brees1.0144
16Baker Mayfield1.01635
17Kyler Murray0.71717
18Dak Prescott0.0187
19Ryan Fitzpatrick0.01913
20Teddy Bridgewater-0.72022
21Jacoby Brissett-1.0219
22Taysom Hill-1.02218
23Cam Newton-1.02328
24Joe Burrow-1.524N/A
25Jimmy Garoppolo-1.82520
26Drew Lock-2.02653
27Jared Goff-2.02715
28John Wolford-2.028N/A
29Marcus Mariota-2.22940
30Chad Henne-2.330N/A
31Mason Rudolph-2.33166
32Taylor Heinicke-2.43272
33Matt Moore-2.43325
34C.J. Beathard-2.43454
35Gardner Minshew-2.53541
36Jeff Driskel-2.53631
37Chase Daniel-2.63726
38Brett Hundley-2.63832
39Matt Schaub-2.63933
40Blaine Gabbert-2.64060
41Blake Bortles-2.64134
42DeShone Kizer-2.74249
43Josh McCown-2.74455
44Sean Mannion-2.74551
45Joshua Dobbs-2.74652
46Joe Webb-2.74759
47Ben Roethlisberger-2.74336
48Andy Dalton-2.74857
49Tua Tagovailoa-2.749N/A
50AJ McCarron-2.85058
51Matt Barkley-2.85164
52Kyle Allen-2.85376
53Jameis Winston-2.85230
54Nate Sudfeld-2.85444
55Nathan Peterman-2.85577
56Garrett Gilbert-2.856N/A
57Tyler Huntley-2.957N/A
58Case Keenum-2.95838
59Tyrod Taylor-2.95963
60Colt McCoy-3.06071
61David Blough-3.06143
62Devlin Hodges-3.06270
63Chris Streveler-3.063N/A
64Brian Hoyer-3.16469
65Joe Flacco-3.16562
66Robert Griffin III-3.26661
67Brett Rypien-3.367N/A
68Jarrett Stidham-3.368N/A
69Phillip Walker-3.369N/A
70Josh Rosen-3.47178
71Ben DiNucci-3.470N/A
72Jalen Hurts-3.572N/A
73Nick Mullens-3.57337
74Kendall Hinton-3.674N/A
75Mike Glennon-3.67539
76Will Grier-3.67679
77Daniel Jones-3.77773
78Alex Smith-3.77821
79Brandon Allen-3.87967
80Nick Foles-3.98027
81Dwayne Haskins-4.48129
82Ryan Finley-4.48280
83Jake Luton-4.783N/A
84Mitchell Trubisky-5.08468
85Carson Wentz-5.28519
86Sam Darnold-5.78642
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