September 11, 2006

Rick Mirer: is the worst quarterback of all time*.

Steve Young is the best.

posted by Mr Bismarck to football at 01:57 PM - 55 comments

* since 1970. Not enough whacky grum-like numbers for you? how about a post which adds passers from the 60s, then goes on to look for the best and worst Quarterback careers before 25, after 30, which Quarterback hurt a single franchise more than any other, (Detroit fans look away), which quarterbacks soared from one season to the next and which crashed and burned. My favourite? "George Blanda followed up the 34th best season of all-time with the 3,424th best season of all time — or stated another way, the 3rd worst season of all time. Wow. Here’s his stat line from those two years: Year TM | G | Comp Att PCT YD Y/A TD INT 1961 hou | 14 | 187 362 51.7 3330 9.2 36 22 1962 hou | 14 | 197 418 47.1 2810 6.7 27 42

posted by Mr Bismarck at 01:59 PM on September 11

None of that really matters if you can't win the Super Bowl! I bet that Danny Marino would trade most of his stats for a Super Bowl ring! Roger Staubach (And I am not a Cowboys fan!) has to be the best! He sat out a lot of years serving his country and was still able to play and be efficant! Go Bradshaw! I'll take the S.B. wins anyday!

posted by steelerchooks at 02:21 PM on September 11

No........Ryan Leaf was the worst all time.

posted by G-Money at 02:53 PM on September 11

um, steelerchooks, try the decaf. Interesting article, Mr. B. I find that anytime someone tries to use numbers to rate quarterbacks they will fail. There is just no wiggle room for teams with balanced attacks, or for great leaders with limited physical talents. For example, as steelerchooks mentions, Dan Marino is considered one of the all-time best *passers* but never got a Super Bowl ring. He is still an excellent *passer* but had the Dolphins had a running game he might have won a championship.... maybe more than one. He also would have had fewer passing TDs and fewer yards. Would that take away from his accomplishments? Not in my mind, but I am a Steelers fan, so what do I know. I like it when my team runs, runs and then runs again, controling the clock. Now, let's see what sort of discussion materialises, and whether people actually read the article before commenting ;) G-money: you waited 8 months to make that first comment?

posted by scully at 03:04 PM on September 11

Possibly chico, but the article rightfully places Harrington as the third worst quarterback ever. The fact he played so long was partially a testament to the woeful Lions orginization, partially because they thought they could build around him (sad but true). which Quarterback hurt a single franchise more than any other, (Detroit fans look away), Life sucks when the best quarterback since Bobby Layne in Detroit was Scott Mitchel.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 03:11 PM on September 11

Statistics be damned, it is hard to argue that Ryan Leaf was (as both G-Money and the link point out) the biggest disappointment at QB in the last 36 years.

posted by Joey Michaels at 03:32 PM on September 11

Any Top 10 List of Greatest Quarterbacks that doesn't include Johnny Unitas is complete bullshit, much less a top 50 that fails to include him. The guts, smarts, and intangibles he brought to the table are, apparently, immeasurable.

posted by mjkredliner at 03:38 PM on September 11

Also left out of the Top 50? Otto Graham, Y.A. Tittle, Norm Van Brocklin, Sammy Baugh, Bart Starr, Joe Namath? What a joke, statistics be damned.

posted by mjkredliner at 03:50 PM on September 11

I guess these also fall under the "since 1970" guideline? I'm barking up the wrong tree I guess, sorry for the misguided outrage.

posted by mjkredliner at 03:57 PM on September 11

What a joke, statistics be damned. Which is the right perspective to bring to a post about numbers. I see a couple of flaws: 1. I missed where he accounted for teams with shitty lines, running attacks, receiving corps, etc. (what terrapin said). 2. Tom Brady does not have an infinity symbol next to his name. I was just remembering Rick Mirer fondly this weekend in re: the last ND/PSU tilt which Mirer ended with a 2-point conversion into the corner in the snow.

posted by yerfatma at 04:11 PM on September 11

Not enough whacky grum-like numbers for you? Hey! Be nice!

posted by grum@work at 04:17 PM on September 11

As a Bear fan, and having seen both Quarterbacks play, the worst quarterback in NFL history can only be...........Cade McNown!!!

posted by frankiem at 05:15 PM on September 11

Stats don't quantify crap. I will take leadership and guts. According to the list Trent Green is better than Elway. Brunell better than Simms. Warner better than Griese and Kelly. Give me a break. Who made up that list? The BCS?

posted by urall cloolis at 05:31 PM on September 11

I'd have to weigh in with John Elway being the best modern day QB. He could pass, used his offensive players well, and COULD RUN THE BALL! But that is just me. :)

posted by steelergirl at 05:42 PM on September 11

Dan Marino has them all beat. Don't waste my time with the no Super Bowl ring garbage. Trent Dilfer has a ring so the Super Bowl argument is no longer valid.

posted by at 05:47 PM on September 11

What's wrong with everybody?If you just think, you'll realize that Joe Montana was the greatest QB ever. He didn't have the best stats, but in the clutch(time running out in the Superbowl)he was the man time and again.Its hard to say who is the worst QB and who cares?

posted by sickleguy at 05:50 PM on September 11

Now, let's see what sort of discussion materialises, and whether people actually read the article before commenting ;) So far I can count seven people that I think failed to read the article before commenting. Shame too, since this is a fine article.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:57 PM on September 11

It is a fascinating article but I feel like his methodology is flawed. I can't put my finger on why - which I attribute to my own weakness in math,

posted by Joey Michaels at 06:10 PM on September 11

We can take stats and have them say anything we want to so using stats can't really address who the worst QB really is because there have been a lot of bad QB's. Even the "so-called" good QBs have bad seasons. There have also been good QBs on terrible teams so their stats aren't good either. How about the bad QBs on bad teams. When it comes to lousy QBs, Ryan Leaf does come to mind though or Todd Marinovich, who played for the Raiders for a very short time.

posted by usroute17 at 06:37 PM on September 11

Awesome post... This line actually made me laugh out loud: Now we can compare Ryan Leaf’s miserable few seasons, to the sustained ineptitude of Dan Pastorini. The results are a bit surprising.

posted by SummersEve at 07:01 PM on September 11

madcapper: you forgot Jeff Hostetler, Marky Rypien, and Brad Johnson. All better than Marino, clearly.

posted by tieguy at 07:30 PM on September 11

Rick Mirer wasn't that bad of a quarterback. He did have one of the better seasons by a rookie quarterback in history, although the 12-17 TD/INT won't show that. However, I don't rely on stats for this discussion. When I watched Ryan Leaf play, I said to myself, "Wow. This guy may very well be the worst quarterback ever." I never said that aboout Mirer.

posted by Hybrid1486 at 08:33 PM on September 11

the article was pretty interesting, but the phrase worst ever should take more into account than passing average. Some QB's never threw for more than 200 yards per game, by design, because they couldn't. pretty subjective determination devised by an apparent accountant. It will be interesting to see who the "best" is.

posted by hoglegs69 at 08:47 PM on September 11

I think a lot of people here have confused worst with most disapointing, and for that matter, best, with most dynamic, or exciting. By the way, my vote for worst would be Kelly Stouffer, and the best, which would have to be subjective by its very nature, Johnny Unitas. Apologies to Troy, Steve, Joe, Tom, and the rest of the modern era greats. John Unitas called his own plays. Most disapointing? Rick Mirer, and Ryan Leaf in a dead heat.

posted by tommytrump at 08:51 PM on September 11

This FPP mis-represents the article. This is not determing the worst quarterback of all time, but determining the worst *career* of all time. Look at these numbers he gives us for Ryan Leaf: -700 -600 -100 (only 88 attempts) and then he's out of the league meanwhile Trent Dilfer's worst year was -548, and he had 2 years with positive value. Yet Dilfer is determined to be worse, because there is 12 years of data for to accumulate that. The really, really, really bad QB's don't make it 12 years. Now if you buy into the stupid premise that you have to take a quarterback for their entire career, you *might* be able to make the case that Rick Mirer was the worst ever, but it's a silly premise. If you have to pick between Rick Mirer and Ryan Leaf to start your next game for you (and only that one game), ain't nobody gonna pick Ryan Leaf. It's silly because it penalizes players who aren't that great but are good enough to stick around for awhile.

posted by chmurray at 09:45 PM on September 11

If Mirer's really the worst, I wish he were still playing for Notre Dame.

posted by philly54 at 09:49 PM on September 11

On the last page of the linked article, "A Last Look At Quarterbacks" the author writes: "That sets the stage for what I promised yesterday: the list of the greatest Qb's of all time. " (This list includes QB's who played significant amounts of time in the 1960's) The stats he uses are cumulative, (and obviously do not take winning into consideration at all) so I will only make comparisms for those QB's already retired. Notable quirks: For Oakland, QB Daryle Lamonica is on the list, Kenny Stabler is not; for St. Louis, Neil Lomax made the list, Jim Hart did not. Cowboys:Don Meredith is rated above Troy Aikman; Steelers:Neil O'Donnell is rated above Terry Bradshaw, NYJ: Ken O'Brien is rated above Joe Namath, and Jeff George is rated higher than Super Bowl winners Bradshaw, Aikman, Namath, and Joe Theisman. His list of worst includes George Blanda, who was so crappy he only lasted 26 years in the pros and won awards too many to list here; Jack Kemp, who was All-AFL 7 times, won back to back AFL championships, and the AFL MVP award; Frank Tripuka, member of the Denver Broncos Ring of Honor, and a stalwart on some truly hideous teams;and Dan Pastorini, who was as tough in the pocket as anyone I have ever seen, and who played with, at different times, broken ribs, a punctured lung, a broken leg, and the worst team in the history of football, the Houston Oilers of the early 1970's, whom he took to consecutive AFC championships at the end of the decade. I wholeheartedly concur with hoglegs69's assertion that the authors lists are a "pretty subjective determination devised by an apparent accountant."

posted by mjkredliner at 10:04 PM on September 11

My spiel for Pastorini should have read "consecutive AFC championship games at the end of the decade."

posted by mjkredliner at 10:29 PM on September 11

"you forgot Jeff Hostetler" Ah, Hostetler. I still vividly remember the sheer unadulterated terror in his eyes every time he lined up under center.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:44 PM on September 11

"This FPP mis-represents the article. This is not determing the worst quarterback of all time, but determining the worst *career* of all time." I misrepresent an article called "The worst QB of all time?" by leading the FPP with "Rick Mirer : is the worst quarterback of all time*"? Oh, I'm sorry. I could have couched the FPP with "in the opinion of X, taking into account type of stats Y, Rick Mirer is the worst quarterback since 1970 to have any sort of extended career" but that's unwieldy, less impactful and, y'know, I thought people might read the articles and dicsuss them and their findings in the context of it. Yes Blanda lasted 26 years in the league but as the article states his 1962 (42 interceptions) and 1965 (42% completions, 30 interceptions) are, under the system used, the third and sixth worst of all time. I think we all know that you can't sit down, look at a line of numbers and say "this guy is better than this guy", especially at quarterback, and the game would be poorer if you could, but I was hoping that, as we all know that, (don't we), we could generate some discussion instead of "where is [Quarterback name]!!!1 Oh, there he is, on the third link." In other news, did YYM just call Terrapin "Chico?"

posted by Mr Bismarck at 01:20 AM on September 12

I misrepresent an article called "The worst QB of all time?" by leading the FPP with "Rick Mirer : is the worst quarterback of all time*"? yeah i guess i can't blame you - but in the article itself the author restipulates what he's writing about when he says: So when I say “worst QB of all time”, what I really mean is “since 1970, the QB that, according to a straight statistical analysis, most disadvantaged the team(s) he played for throughout his career.” But even that definition is contentious, this article is just begging for further breakdowns per season - per game, hell even per pass attempt, all of which would yield data more interesting/insightful to the original claim of the article.

posted by chmurray at 01:46 AM on September 12

I have a real problem with using this statistic, because it clearly penalizes QBs that had longer careers. Now if you take a ratio to Leaf and Dilfer, assuming that Leaf would have continued down that same path, you can clearly see how much worse Leaf was. If Leaf were given Dilfer’s 2952 attempts his score could have been a -7747 compared to -1719 for Dilfer. Given that do you still think the author of the article would pick Leaf over Dilfer?

posted by booda_lama at 03:07 AM on September 12

I like what the guy is trying to do with the adjusted yards per average thing-equalize stats from different eras, which is a nearly impossible. And I agree that the article isn't who is the worst as much as who had a season and career that single handedly hurt their team the most. But his analysis, while fascinating, comes up a litle hollow. Incidentally, this thread has inevitably become an argument how bad Ryan Leaf was.

posted by Bonkers at 04:18 AM on September 12

In other news, did YYM just call Terrapin "Chico?" Yes....I did. I don't know why but it happened. I've done stuff like that before. I must be going insane.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:15 AM on September 12

If we hadn't pissed off Grum, he could have come up with one of his formulas and fixed this for us.

posted by SummersEve at 07:28 AM on September 12

Any system that rates Jeff George as a better QB than Troy Aikman or Big Ben has some major flaws in it lol. Fun read though.

posted by T.C. at 08:14 AM on September 12

Using only stats to compare QB's of the same era, much less different era's, is difficult at best, much harder than, say, doing the same with baseball pitchers, but, if the author were to call this a list of "most efficient/proficient passers, statistically", I would not have much of a problem with it at all.

posted by mjkredliner at 08:37 AM on September 12

Ah, Hostetler. I still vividly remember the sheer unadulterated terror in his eyes every time he lined up under center. The quivering little mustache didn't really help his tough-guy look, either.

posted by cobra! at 08:47 AM on September 12

I doubt that terror is what you saw in his eyes. Jeff had as good a 5 game run as any backup QB ever had, (except maybe Earl Morral) and was a Pro-Bowler with the Raiders one season as well. Perhaps focus is the word you were searching for?

posted by mjkredliner at 09:10 AM on September 12

two words DAVID KLINGLER worst nfl player ever

posted by bigreddbigmouth at 10:44 AM on September 12

That's eight words.

posted by chicobangs at 11:16 AM on September 12

Ah, Chico, YYM was looking for you. Meanwhile David "Two Words" Klingler's career passer rating was 65. Admittedly he was a terrible first round bust, but when I thought about first round busts, the first one to come to mind, (Ryan Leaf aside, of course), was Todd Blackledge, who the Chiefs picked when Marino was still on the board. So, having checked, I'm relieved to see Blackledge sitting in the chart, at 26. This comment attached to the third article states why Elway suffers under this system of rating.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 12:04 PM on September 12

I'm new at this, but wouldn't a simple attemptscompletions, touchdownsinterceptions, total yards passingrushing, winslosses be a better metric? Oh, and hairno hair.

posted by irunfromclones at 02:58 PM on September 12

Oh, and hairno hair. You got Y.A. Tittle & Terry Bradshaw proving one side of that equation wrong, and Jeff George & Joey Harrington shooting down the other. Best, Chico "The White Wilbon" Bangs.

posted by chicobangs at 04:09 PM on September 12

Y.A. Tittle. One of the best, in one of the best sports photos, ever.

posted by mjkredliner at 04:43 PM on September 12

Ah, Chico, YYM was looking for you. You really don't want to let that go do you?

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:26 PM on September 12

One of the best, in one of the best sports photos, ever. Are you sure that isn't Captain Picard?

posted by irunfromclones at 06:23 PM on September 12

I have Troy Aikman as the best quarterback ever, for several reasons. 1) Three Super Bowl wins, 2) won more games in the 90's than any other QB in any decade. 3) he was not in a system to rack up the yards, he was in a system to win. keep in mind he had one of the best running backs ever in the backfield, who got a lot of carries a game. so take out Emmitt, put in an average QB, and put Aikman in a system to get stats and there will be no doubt in anyones mind that he is the greatest QB of all time.

posted by frhssoccer22 at 09:34 PM on September 12

No arguing with facts.

posted by yerfatma at 06:13 AM on September 13

so take out Emmitt, put in an average QB, and put Aikman in a system to get stats and there will be no doubt in anyones mind that he is the greatest QB of all time. Not only was that post authentic frontier gibberish, but it expresses a courage little seen in this day and age! So, are you saying Aikman is a great quarterback, or just played under a great system with the one of the best running backs in history? I'm just askin'.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 09:24 AM on September 13

I think Troy was great, (spoken as a lifetime Cowboys fan) but I give Elway the edge for several reasons, namely 1) 5 SB appearances, 2 wins 2) He was not in a system to rack up the yards either, he labored under Dan Reeves' conservative play calling for years, with very average RB's and receivers, and always had an undersized O-line in front of him 3) No one was more dangerous when the play was broken than John, and no one could beat John's ability to make any throw on the field 4) his propensity for 4th quarter comebacks is legendary for good reason 5) All-Time leader in wins 6)Longevity 7) If we are gonna throw in what-if's, I say give John Troy's supporting cast (Emmitt, Irvin, and one of the best offensive lines ever assembled) and lets figger what John may have done. Tom Brady's numbers may not look too good this year, because of an inexperienced receiving corps, but what he has done since becoming the starter in N.E. boggles the mind, and that hoss up in Pittsburgh looks very good to me, too.

posted by mjkredliner at 09:34 AM on September 13

No arguing with facts. If that were true, then this site would immediately cease to exist.

posted by chicobangs at 02:52 PM on September 14

mjkredliner makes some really good points, and i agree that john elway should be at the very least number 3 on most peoples lists. but living in fort worth (for those unfamiliar with texas it is right next to dallas) my entire life and the family in which i grew up has left me with a major bias toward troy. because of this bias, there is no amount of reasoning that could ever persuade me to change my opinion. this is the same bias that makes me think emmitt was better than the likes of Jim brown, walter peyton, and barry sanders.

posted by frhssoccer22 at 12:18 PM on September 16

In other words, you're a shameless homer who refuses to acknowledge facts or reasonable argument. Good to know.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 02:43 PM on September 16

Life sucks when the best quarterback in Detroit since Bobby Layne was Scott Mitchel. YYM, Greg Landry wasn't too shabby (in fact, he was very good), but the Dallas Morning News' Jean-Jacques Taylor draws the same comparism as you in this neat lil deal about Aikman.

posted by mjkredliner at 11:48 AM on September 18

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