Occasionally, I start to write a post with an end-point in mind, only to find out that what I expected to be the case was actually far from reality. Today is one of those occasions. I was hoping to provide an illustration of Vick’s "Boom-or-Bust" nature. Indeed, I have done that, but I also found some very surprising results when I compared him to other prominent QBs, albeit with a serious caveat that I’ll explain at the end. First, let’s look at Vick by himself.
Here is a chart showing Vick’s QB Rating by start. I’ve only included games from his Eagles career (34); he simply isn’t the same player from his Falcons days (mostly a good thing). All numbers are from Pro-Football-Reference.com.
To make things easier, look at this table:
Before we talk about that table, we need some context. Last year, Tony Romo finished 10th in the league in Passer Rating with a rating of 90.5. Also, last year the median Rating for starting QBs (does not include spot-starters) was 84.
In light of those stats, I’m going to define "Good" play as anything about 90. Anything less than 80 will be defined as "poor". Everything in between is mediocre.
See any issues? Vick, in his time as the Eagles’ starting QB has delivered Good (or better) play 56% of the time. However, he’s played poorly 35% of the time. Interestingly enough, he’s had "mediocre" play in just 9% of his starts.
That’s about what I expected to find. I assumed Vick would provide a higher percentage of Good and Poor starts, with a very low percentage of Mediocre starts. While that appears to be the case on an absolute basis, comparing him to other QBs leads to some huge surprises.
Here is the same table (I’ve combined the 90-100 and 100+ lines), but with several other QBs included. To keep the comparison fair, I’ve only included starts from the 2010-2012 season (between 46 or 48 games for each other QB).
Looking at Vick’s "consistency" in context with other QBs, we can see some very favorable comparisons. During Vick’s time with the Eagles, he has delivered "Good" performances more often and "Poor" performances less often than Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, and Tony Romo.
Vick has similar numbers (slightly worse) to Matt Ryan.
Lastly, I just want to highlight the remarkable play of both Brady and Rodgers. That’s what having an "elite" QB gets you. 75% of the time, you know you are getting "Good" play from the position. Also note Rodgers’ incredible avoidance of "poor" performances. This is probably the subject for another blog post, but Aaron Rodgers might be quietly putting together the greatest QB career ever…
Summing things up, it seems as though Vick’s "inconsistency" is somewhat overblown. On a play-to-play basis, that might be true, but since coming to the Eagles, Vick has delivered "Good" QB play in an impressively high percentage of his starts. Outside of the true top-tier of QBs (Brady, Rodgers, Brees, P. Manning), Vick compares favorably to his competition. Additionally, looking at QB Rating ignores Vick’s rushing stats, which can only help his case in comparison to most NFL QBs.
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