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Aaron Rodgers’ Greatness Comes Through in Non-Traditional Stats

I’ve been a customer of Pro Football Focus for a few years now. These are the geeky sports guys who analyze football performance and stats from every possible angle. I think this is the 12th year they’ve been around.

They take statistical analysis to a new level, and I believe they have separate contracts with any number of NFL teams. In short, this group of fanatics have quietly revolutionized the way NFL players are rated.

I look to PFF stats in particular for analyzing the play of offensive and defensive linemen, as the standard stats don’t tell much of a story there, and not many eyes are focused on them as plays unfold. For example, you can be a dandy nose tackle without recording any sacks or a lot of tackles.

When I say that PFF loves Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, I mean that the more refined the statistics are, the better Rodgers seems to comes off.

Adjusted Completion Percentage

The latest indication of this is PFF’s adjusted completion percentage calculations. They start with how many throws the QB makes and how many of them were completed. But then they go on to account for dropped passes, throwaways, spiked balls, batted passes, and throws when the QB is hit when he releases the ball. I assume in most of the above cases, it subtracts out the throw and the result, though for dropped passes my guess is that PFF counts the throw and counts it as a completion.

At any rate, PFF gives Aaron Rodgers a 76.8 percent adjusted completion rate for his career to date. This is the second highest of the PFF era, which began in 2006, a year after Rodgers came into the league. Rodgers’ career unadjusted completion percentage is 65.1, so in his case the adjustments improved his percentage by almost 12 points.

The quarterback with the highest adjusted completion percentage (since 2006) hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s probably Drew Brees. Here are the league’s top 10 all-time unadjusted percentage leaders: Brees (66.6), Chad Pennington (66.0), Kirk Cousins (65.9), Kurt Warner (65.5), Peyton Manning (65.3), Tony Romo (65.3), Rodgers (65.1), Matt Ryan (64.9), Russell Wilson (64.7), and Philip Rivers (64.4). Brett Favre is 23rd, at 62.0.

Passing Under Pressure

One more example of how Rodgers glows when he’s under the PFF microscope is his completion percentage when he’s under pressure. While Rodgers is annually rated high, he’s only topped the list once – in 2009, when he completed 72.6 percent of his 96 pressure throws.

Until 2016, that is. PFF reports that last year Rodgers led all NFL passers, with a passer rating (not percentage) of 93.8 when passing under pressure. The four runners-up were: Sam Bradford (87.7), Matt Ryan (87.2), Russell Wilson (85.9), and Tom Brady (84.9). The NFL average “under pressure” passer rating was 64.5.

Like I said, the more analysis PFF gives to NFL passers, the more obvious Rodgers’ greatness becomes. Aaron also comes out at or near the top when PFF rates accuracy, deep passing, and play action passing.

No matter how you slice it, we’re watching one of the greatest NFL passers ever.

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Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.

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1 Comment

  1. PF4L June 1, 2017

    “No matter how you slice it, we’re watching one of the greatest NFL passers ever.”

    You do get it.

    Some Packer fans, are so spoiled, they don’t have a clue. What team, in the history of the NFL has had a Favre and Rodgers under center for 25 plus years, and counting? That just doesn’t happen in the NFL, except….for us. I’ll say it….You will never see back to back HOF franchise QB’s on one team, in the NFL for that duration….ever again.

    The fans i’m mostly talking about, are the under 35 crowd. This is the normal for them, they don’t know any different. I’m not hating on them, this is just their normal. So much so that i’ve read comments here about Rodgers is finished, Rodgers career is over, trade him, start Hundley…blah blah blah blah. Fucking clueless. Why the negative comments about Rodgers from these fans? Because he wasn’t his “All World” self. Having a passer rating in the 90’s didn’t cut it with this crowd, so they revolted. Keep in mind Favre has a career passer rating of 86, that’s eighty-fucking-six.

    I think that the true extent of what Favre and Rodgers meant to the Packers and the NFL won’t be fully realized until after Rodgers is retired. Make no mistake, there will be countless talking heads speaking on this, sports shows on tv documenting these 2 QB’s and their legacy, not only with the Packers, but in the NFL.

    Know what you have, before shitting on a QB who put up shit #’s in 2015. Shit numbers, like 31 td passes, and 8 interceptions.

    Unfortunately, some fans may not realize what they had, until they don’t have it anymore.