NFL Top 100: Why Aaron Rodgers at No. 11 is No Outrage

Posted on July 5, 2014 at 6:05 PM

I've addressed the inadequacies of the NFL Top 100 "player vote" before. It's not a good list—born by inconsistent, flawed criteria, then voted upon by players consumed more with "perception of accomplishment" than actual performance on the field.

Comparing different positions is difficult. Quarterback is the most important, but how do you compare a running back who's had an A+ season to a quarterback who's had an A- season? The A- quarterback is far more valuable than the A+ running back, even if the running back performed better at his position than the quarterback did at his. So in this instance, I'm only going to address Rodgers' placement amongst the other NFL quarterbacks—ranking below Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees.

Using the QBS system, Manning and Brees belong ahead of Rodgers, who belongs well ahead of Brady.

2013 QBS Rankings 

Despite Manning producing the greatest passing season in NFL history and Brees separating himself from the rest of the pack to claim the No. 2 spot, some still insist that Rodgers is the "best player in the NFL", regardless of his gradual decline. After posting a career-high 34.0 QBS in 2011, Rodgers' QBS dropped to 26.0 in 2012, and 13.0 in 2013. Even with a 24.0 adjusted QBS in 2013, Rodgers has maintained a "very, very good but not great" level of performance.

5th in passing yards per-game, 5th in touchdown-percentage, 5th in completion-percentage and 4th in adjusted-net yards per attempt are all solid figures (2013 season). But what they also expose is that there are a number of other quarterbacks who have been more productive, more accurate and more efficient than Rodgers. He belongs towards the top of the list, but not ahead of Manning or Brees.

No doubt Rodgers has the ability to improve in 2014—his resumé leaves him with MVP-level potential. But until he ups his game to play at that level, it's premature to crown him the best quarterback in football. He hasn't earned that title since 2011, within the landscape of a Peyton-less league. Since his return, Manning has absolutely dominated the quarterback position, ranking first in QBS, by a wide margin, amongst his contemporaries during both seasons (2012, 2013).

It's no outrage to have Rodgers ranked as the fourth best quarterback in the NFL if you're taking 2013 into account. If anything, the most practical outrage would be seeing Brady rank within the Top 3 despite recording the lowest QBS total of his entire career, while Philip Rivers (3rd in 2013 QBS) was ranked 9th amongst quarterbacks.

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