# Decoding: Football Passer Rating Formula

John Rizzo

The Football Passer Rating, often referred to as the NFL Passer Rating, is a fundamental statistic in American football used to evaluate the performance of quarterbacks.

This formula condenses a quarterback’s passing performance into a single numerical rating, making it a powerful tool for fans, analysts, and teams to assess a quarterback’s effectiveness.

It takes into account key passing statistics, including completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdown percentage, and interception percentage, providing a comprehensive view of a quarterback’s abilities.

In this blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of the Football Passer Rating Formula, breaking down each component and explaining how they contribute to the final rating.

We will also explore the significance and limitations of this metric, shedding light on its historical context and its role in the modern game of football. So, stay focused.

## What Is the Football Passer Rating Formula?

The Football Passer Rating, also known as the NFL Passer Rating or QB Rating, is a statistic used to evaluate the performance of American football quarterbacks.

It takes into account various aspects of a quarterback’s passing performance and condenses them into a single numerical rating. The formula for calculating the Passer Rating is relatively complex:

Passer Rating = (a + b + c + d) / 6 * 100

Where:

a = (Completion Percentage – 30) * 0.05

b = (Yards per Attempt – 3) * 0.25

c = (Touchdown Percentage) * 20

d = 2.375 – (Interception Percentage * 25)

The values for these components are limited to a range of 0 to 2.375. The final Passer Rating is scaled to a range of 0 to 158.3.

The Passer Rating rewards quarterbacks for completing a high percentage of their passes, gaining many yards per attempt, throwing touchdowns, and avoiding interceptions.

## Passer Rating Formula in NFL

The NFL Passer Rating formula calculates a quarterback’s performance based on four key statistics: completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdown percentage, and interception percentage.

The formula is as follows:

Passer Rating = ((Completion Percentage – 30) / 20 + (Yards per Attempt – 3) / 4 + (Touchdown Percentage * 5) + (2.375 – (Interception Percentage * 25))) / 6 * 100

Here’s what each component represents

• Completion Percentage: Subtract 30 from the completion percentage, then divide the result by 20.
• Yards per Attempt: Subtract 3 from the yards per attempt, then divide the result by 4.
• Touchdown Percentage: Multiply the touchdown percentage by 5.
• Interception Percentage: Subtract the interception percentage from 2.375 and then multiply the result by 25.

These individual components are then summed up, divided by 6, and multiplied by 100 to get the final Passer Rating.

The Passer Rating is a value that ranges from 0 to 158.3, with higher values indicating better quarterback performance.

The NFL Passer Rating formula uses five variables to calculate a quarterback’s performance. These variables are:

#### Pass Attempts

The total number of passes attempted by the quarterback during a game.

#### Completions

The number of passes successfully completed by the quarterback.

#### Passing Yards

The total number of yards gained through passing attempts by the quarterback.

#### Touchdown Passes

The number of passes that result in touchdowns thrown by the quarterback.

#### Interceptions

The number of passes intercepted by the opposing team’s defense.

These five variables are used to compute the completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdown percentage, and interception percentage, which are then plugged into the Passer Rating formula to evaluate the quarterback’s performance.

## How to Calculate the Passer Rate in Football?

Calculating the Passer Rating in football involves a multi-step process that evaluates a quarterback’s passing performance based on various statistics.

The NFL Passer Rating formula is a bit complex, but you can follow these steps to calculate it:

### Step 1: Gather the Necessary Statistics

Collect the following statistics from the quarterback’s performance in a single game:

• Pass Attempts (ATT): The total number of passes the quarterback attempted during the game.
• Completions (COMP): The number of passes successfully completed by the quarterback.
• Passing Yards (YDS): The total number of yards gained through passing attempts.
• Touchdown Passes (TD): The number of passes that resulted in touchdowns thrown by the quarterback.
• Interceptions (INT): The number of passes intercepted by the opposing team’s defense.

### Step 2: Calculate Completion Percentage (CP%)

Calculate the completion percentage by dividing the completions (COMP) by the pass attempts (ATT) and multiplying the result by 100:

CP% = (COMP / ATT) * 100

### Step 3: Calculate Yards per Attempt (YPA)

Determine the yards gained per passing attempt by dividing the passing yards (YDS) by the pass attempts (ATT):

YPA = YDS / ATT

### Step 4: Calculate Touchdown Percentage (TD%)

Compute the touchdown percentage by dividing the touchdown passes (TD) by the pass attempts (ATT) and multiplying the result by 100:

TD% = (TD / ATT) * 100

### Step 5: Calculate Interception Percentage (INT%)

Calculate the interception percentage by dividing the interceptions (INT) by the pass attempts (ATT) and multiplying the result by 100:

INT% = (INT / ATT) * 100

### Step 6: Apply the Passer Rating Formula

Now, plug these four percentages (CP%, YPA, TD%, INT%) into the Passer Rating formula:

Passer Rating = ((CP% – 30) / 20 + (YPA – 3) / 4 + (TD% * 5) + (2.375 – (INT% * 25))) / 6 * 100

### Step 7: Calculate the Passer Rating

Perform the calculations as described in the formula. The resulting value is the quarterback’s Passer Rating for that specific game.

The Passer Rating provides a comprehensive assessment of a quarterback’s passing performance, considering completion efficiency, yards gained per attempt, touchdown passes, and interceptions.

## Limitations in Football Passer Rate

The Football Passer Rating, while widely used and informative, has several limitations and criticisms:

### Complex Formula

The formula itself is relatively complex, making it less accessible for casual fans and some analysts. Many people may not fully understand how it’s calculated.

### Limited to Four Stats

The Passer Rating only takes into account four passing statistics: completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdown percentage, and interception percentage.

It doesn’t consider other aspects of a quarterback’s performance, such as rushing ability or the quality of the opposing defense.

### Inflated Ratings

In some cases, quarterbacks with low completion percentages or average performances can have relatively high Passer Ratings if they compensate with a high number of touchdown passes and low interceptions.

This can lead to inflated ratings that don’t necessarily reflect overall performance accurately.

### Weighting Issues

The weights assigned to each statistic in the formula can be debated. For example, some argue that the formula places too much emphasis on completion percentage and not enough on touchdowns.

### Doesn’t Account for the Game Situation

The Passer Rating doesn’t consider the context of the game, such as whether a quarterback is playing in a high-pressure situation, trailing by a large margin, or facing a strong defense.

### Historical Context

The Passer Rating formula has changed over the years, making it challenging to compare quarterbacks from different eras.

Different formulas were used in the past, and adjustments were made to account for rule changes and the evolving nature of the game.

### Lack of Transparency

The formula’s exact parameters are known, but the reasoning behind those specific values and formulas isn’t always transparent.

This lack of transparency can make it difficult to interpret and critique the Passer Rating.

### Team Dependent

The Passer Rating is influenced by a quarterback’s supporting cast, including the offensive line, receivers, and play-calling. It doesn’t isolate a quarterback’s individual skill from team dynamics.

### Doesn’t Account for Clutch Play

It doesn’t consider a quarterback’s ability to perform in clutch situations, like two-minute drills or game-deciding drives.

### Overemphasis on Efficiency

Some argue that the Passer Rating places too much emphasis on efficiency and not enough on a quarterback’s ability to make big plays down the field.

Due to these limitations, many analysts and fans use a combination of statistics and advanced metrics to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of a quarterback’s performance.

## Significance of Football Passer Rate

The Football Passer Rating, despite its limitations, holds significance in the sport for several reasons:

### Historical Context

The Passer Rating has been used in the NFL since the 1970s and its historical continuity allows for comparisons across different eras. It helps establish a benchmark for evaluating quarterback performance over time.

### Quick Comparative Tool

It provides a quick and standardized way to compare quarterbacks within a single game or across seasons. It condenses multiple passing statistics into a single number, making it easy to gauge a quarterback’s performance at a glance.

### Statistical Record Keeping

The Passer Rating is a commonly referenced statistic in NFL record books, providing a historical record of quarterback achievements and milestones.

### Fantasy Football

It’s widely used in fantasy football to assess and rank quarterback performances, helping fantasy football players make decisions about their lineups and trades.

### Contract Negotiations

NFL teams often consider a quarterback’s Passer Rating when negotiating contracts. A high rating can be a valuable bargaining chip for quarterbacks seeking lucrative deals.

### Team Success

While it doesn’t tell the whole story, a high Passer Rating is generally associated with successful quarterback play. Quarterbacks with consistently high ratings often contribute to their team’s victories.

### Player Evaluation

It’s a tool used by coaches, scouts, and analysts to assess quarterbacks’ abilities and track their development over time.

### Fan Engagement

The Passer Rating is a familiar statistic for football fans and is frequently used in discussions and debates about quarterback performance, enhancing fan engagement with the sport.

### Historical Comparison

It allows fans and analysts to compare current quarterbacks with legendary ones from the past, contributing to discussions about the evolution of the game.

### Award Consideration

The Passer Rating is one of the factors considered by voters for awards like the NFL Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Offensive Player of the Year, highlighting its significance in recognizing outstanding performances.

## FAQs

What is the purpose of the Football Passer Rating Formula?

The Football Passer Rating Formula is used to evaluate a quarterback’s passing performance in American football by considering completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdown percentage, and interception percentage.

It condenses these statistics into a single numerical rating, allowing for quick comparisons.

Can you explain the range of values for the Passer Rating?

The Passer Rating ranges from 0 to 158.3, with higher values indicating better quarterback performance. A rating above 100 is considered excellent, while below 85 is generally considered below average.

Why does the formula subtract 30 and 3 from certain statistics?

The formula adjusts for extremes by subtracting 30 from the completion percentage and 3 from yards per attempt to prevent ratings from becoming overly inflated for quarterbacks with very high percentages or yards per attempt.

How does the Passer Rating account for interceptions and touchdowns?

The formula rewards quarterbacks for higher touchdown percentages and penalizes them for interceptions.

For example, each percentage point of touchdown percentage adds 5 points to the Passer Rating, while each percentage point of interception percentage subtracts 25 points.

Does the Passer Rating consider rushing performance or other aspects of a quarterback’s game?

No, the Passer Rating focuses exclusively on passing statistics. It does not account for rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, or other aspects of a quarterback’s overall performance.

Other metrics and statistics are used to evaluate those aspects of a quarterback’s game.

## Wrapping Up

The Football Passer Rating Formula is a vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to evaluating quarterback performance in American football. While it has its complexities and criticisms, it remains a widely recognized and influential metric in the sport.

As we’ve explored in this blog post, understanding how this formula works is essential for fans, analysts, and teams alike.

Whether you’re a dedicated football enthusiast or just beginning to explore the intricacies of the game, the Passer Rating Formula provides valuable insights into the art of quarterbacking.

It encapsulates the quarterback’s ability to complete passes, gain yards, score touchdowns, and avoid interceptions, offering a quick snapshot of their effectiveness.

As the sport continues to evolve, so too does the importance of this formula in the assessment of quarterback performance. Best of luck.

John Rizzo

I am a professional rugby player in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. I have been playing rugby for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to play in many different countries. I am also a coach for both youth and adult rugby teams. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. I am currently working on my MPA from American University and plan to pursue this career path after graduating next year. LinkedIn