We introduced Real Quarterback Rating before the 2011 season as a way to quantify all aspects of quarterbacking play.

So far, it’s been a total home run – or a 99-yard touchdown pass, as the case may be.

So we’re working this off-season to introduce a new Quality Stat that will quantify all aspects of QB play on both sides of the ball.

We call it Real Quarterback Rating Differential. It’s much like Passer Rating Differential, which you already know as the Mother of All Stats. But Real QB Rating Differential should prove even more critical to both individual and team success.

It’s simply the difference between a team’s Real Quarterback Rating and its Defensive Real Quarterback Rating.  

Remember, passer rating looks only at passing. CHFF Real Quarterback Rating measures the impact of all aspects of QB play – passing, sure, but also rushing yards, sacks, fumbles and rushing TDs.

We know Real QB Rating Differential should prove more critical than the Mother of All Stats because we already know, as shown each week of the season at CHFF Insider, that Real QB Rating consistently has the highest “Correlation to Victory” of any indicator in football.

Here’s a look at the records of teams in 2012 when winning various statistical battles, or what we call Correlation to Victory:

That list is pretty compelling for a number of reasons:

  1. It proves in no uncertain terms that passing efficiency is more important than running the football – at least if you value winning games
  2. It also proves that teams live and die on the performance of their quarterback
  3. It proves that more goes into a QB’s performance than just his ability to pass the football

Real Quarterback Rating takes the QB position to a different, higher level than just what happens in the passing game.

Put another way, it tells us that winning in the NFL is all about the quarterback – something CHFF readers and most football fans already know. But it also tells us that there is more to QB play than just his ability to pass the football, though that capability is critical.  

Remember, passer rating is NOT a quarterback rating, no matter how many people use the terms interchangeably. Passer rating measures only passing, and nothing else. It cannot and does not distinguish between a quarterback with a decent passer rating who takes a lot of sacks and loses a lot of fumbles (say, Jay Cutler) and one who can escape pressure and add production by running the football (say, Cam Newton).

Those two players may have largely similar passing stats, but the production is quite a bit different.

  • Newton’s Panthers last year ranked No. 14 in Offensive Passer Rating (86.5); but thanks to his running skills, they were actually better in Real QB Rating (87.1).
  • Cutler’s Bears ranked No. 23 in Offensive Passer Rating (80.4) last year; but were actually much worse in Real QB Rating (71.5).

Real Quarterback Rating obviously tells us how well or how poorly a team’s quarterback(s) played that season. And Defensive Real QB Rating tells us how good a team’s defense was at making life miserable for opposing QBs.

But each one in and of themselves don’t paint the entire picture. Hence, the need for Real Quarterback Rating Differential.

Look at the Arizona Cardinals, for example: they were No. 2 in 2012 in Defensive Real QB Rating (64.5). The sad-sack Cardinals actually boasted a Super Bowl-caliber defense.

But that team was handicapped by the worst QB play in football. That Super Bowl-caliber defense was paired with an offense that ranked 32nd and dead last in Real QB Rating (54.08).

As a result, the Cardinals were a mere 23rd in Real QB Rating Differential (-10.45) – a statistical position reflected in their 5-11 record.

Here’s a look at the Real Quarterback Rating Differential of each team in 2012. Real QB Rating Differential will be added to our Quality Stats during the 2013 season.

You'll notice that team record generally moves fairly consistently with a team's Real QB Rating Differential: teams with the best records largely at the top of the Real QB Differential list; teams with the worst records largely at the bottom of the list.

2012 Real Quarterback Rating Differential

1Denver98.8969.01+29.88 13-3
2Seattle93.2965.61+27.68 11-5
3Green Bay95.370.96+24.34 11-5
4San Francisco94.5674.08+20.48 11-4-1
5Washington99.9380.02+19.91 10-6
6Atlanta93.1874.18+19.0 13-3
7New England94.3977.42+16.97 12-4
8Houston83.3570.69+12.66 12-4
9Pittsburgh8271.19+10.81 8-8
10Cincinnati79.2971.45+7.84 10-6
11Chicago71.563.96+7.54 10-6
12Baltimore79.8174.21+5.6 10-6
13Carolina87.182.13+4.97 7-9
14New Orleans91.687.5+4.1 7-9
15N.Y. Giants82.6483.66-1.02 9-7
16Dallas84.1486.35-2.21 8-8
17St. Louis76.7979.34-2.55 7-8-1
18Buffalo76.6881.28-4.6 6-10
19San Diego74.7481.07-6.33 7-9
20Miami71.0478.51-7.47 7-9
21Detroit77.9286.21-8.29 4-12
22Minnesota75.4684.67-9.21 10-6
23Arizona54.0864.53-10.45 5-11
24Tampa Bay77.0488.38-11.34 7-9
25Indianapolis72.5384.39-11.86 11-5
26Cleveland68.0980.11-12.02 5-11
27Tennessee70.7584.93-14.18 6-10
28Oakland76.5592.96-16.41 4-12
29N.Y. Jets57.4774.33-16.86 6-10
30Jacksonville65.8586.14-20.29 2-14
31Philadelphia71.2592.87-21.62 4-12
32Kansas City56.7395.54-38.81 2-14