Completion % Overrated

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dirtybirdnw
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Completion % Overrated

Postby dirtybirdnw » Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:13 pm

Reading this weeks edition of TMQ on NFL.com brought up a very good point. The pass completion % is a very overrated statistic.

Consider the following if you will:
Terry Bradshaw: 52%
Bart Starr: 57%
Bob Griese: 56%
John Elway: 56.9%
Joe Namath: 50%
Johnny Unitas: 54.6%
Warren Moon: 56.4%

Many names people would consider elite or at least top tier Quarterbacks in their own right. Note these are also career numbers and Vick is currently sitting at 53.6% and his last full season notched a career high 56.4% completion percentage. Of course if Vick for his career was a 60% passer how many extra completions is that? About 61 or roughly 1.41 extra completions when divided by the total games Vick has played. Does that extra 1.41 completions equate to that many more wins? Probably not.

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Postby MarylandFalcon1 » Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:50 pm

I guess that depends on how many of the 1.41 catches were dropped in the endzone by our WRs! *still praying that someone starts catching the dang ball*

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Postby Steve-O » Tue Aug 23, 2005 6:08 pm

I agree with you Dirty, it's just an easy stat for commentators to point at. I think a QB should be judged on winning percentage, no completion %. I think so long as you win it doesn't really matter how you do it.

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Postby vverhei » Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:22 pm

If you want one quick number to judge passers (or team's pass defenses), just look at yards per attempt. I won't bore you with numbers, but it correlates more closely with winning than comp percentage or the NFL qb rating or almost anything else you can think of.

Last year, Michael Vick ranked 16 in the NFL in yards per attempt. Which is just about the definition of mediocre, considering there are 32 teams in the league.

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Postby Capologist » Tue Aug 23, 2005 11:01 pm

Completion % isn't really meaningless. If you look at it over a full season it shows consistency which is very important.

The QB's you've listed all played with vastly different rules and norms than today...

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Postby Pudge » Wed Aug 24, 2005 1:04 am

Capologist wrote:The QB's you've listed all played with vastly different rules and norms than today...


Yeah, all those passers you listed were in the prime prior to 1990, so I think completion % is a bit more relevant in today's NFL. Vick doesn't have to complete 65% of his passes to be a good QB, but 58% seems to be a nice "efficient" number in my mind. He had 56.4% last year, and just a little improvement will put him closer to that magic number.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.

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Postby dirtybirdnw » Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:57 am

True... Many QB's I listed played when the forward pass was shunned. But none the less the simple fact is that an extra 1.7% completion results in less then 1 extra catch per game. I can't believe that would make the Falcon's any better then Vick's 56.4%. If Vick jumped to 60% then there would be a noticable change in performance.


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