QBs in the top 10 in ratings since 2001 -- how MUCH does it translate to making the playoffs?

I had a little time on my hands, so I tackled the question "If I have a top 10 QB, what are my chances of landing in the playoffs?" We all realize that in order to succeed in today's NFL a team has to at least have a good quarterback. We can argue all day long about whether you need an "elite" quarterback, or just a good but maybe not elite quarterback. I decided to use top 10 QB ratings in this analysis. This takes out the arguments of what QBs are elite and which ones are not. It's possible some guys just had career years, but there's nothing wrong with that. After all, it's all about making it to the playoffs and then seeing what can happen (see the last two SB champs).

What I found was not really surprising. Since 2001, of the top 10 QB's in terms of QB rating each year, 2011 saw 9 of the top 10 QBs make the playoffs. The only exception was Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys. Below is the year by year breakdown:

  • 2011 - 9
  • 2010 - 7
  • 2009 - 8
  • 2008 - 4
  • 2007 - 8
  • 2006 - 7
  • 2005 - 7
  • 2004 - 7
  • 2003 - 7
  • 2002 - 5
  • 2001 - 6
  • As you can see, the trend has been up -- if your team has a top 10 QB in terms of rating, then your odds of being in the playoffs approaches 80%. The blip on the radar was 2008, which also happens to be the last year the Dolphins made it in. In that year, these quarterbacks finished in the top 10 in QB rating but their teams failed to make the playoffs:

  • Drew Brees
  • Aaron Rodgers
  • Matt Schaub
  • Tony Romo
  • Jeff Garcia
  • Matt Cassel
  • In looking at the records of those teams, nearly all of them were within a whisker of qualifying for the playoffs that year. You also see Brees, Rodgers and Romo on that list, and all 3 have been in the top 10 since that year, showing that these QBs were already in the top 10 but their teams had some weaknesses that kept them out of the playoffs.

    None of this is rocket science, and I understand other factors go into teams making the playoffs - but it's kind of interesting to see the trend. Top 10 QB's generally lead their teams to the playoffs, more now than ever before. Back in 2001 and 2002, it was around 50% --- after that, it moved to 70% for the next 4 years, and then an average of 80% after that (ignoring the blip year in 2008). Proof is there --- get a top ten QB and surround him with some weapons. Hopefully the Dolphins front office has finally realized that they need to do whatever it takes to find that top 10 QB this off-season, whether that be Manning, RGIII, Flynn or the mystery QB nobody has discussed.

    This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

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