"(QBR) is the kind of mindless branding you get when the network of "Who's Now" starts dicking around with numbers". Tommy Craggs on Deadspin.

ESPN’s Quarter Back Rating Sorta Black Hating

                The good ol’ days were so much better.  Everyone who ever had a conversation with their dear old granddad knows that.  Back in the day you could just say whatever you wanted.  Hell you could walk down the street yelling the N-word and nobody even cared.  Well none of the white folks anyway.  Richie Incognito started it all, and then that there Donald Sterling came along.  Now the people in power have to figure out more subtle ways, but it’s all good cause they can afford to hire some smart people to confuse the masses.   That’s apparently what ESPN has done. The kind of people they hired are either not very bright, or very much wanting to see Jim Crow throwing for touchdowns in the Negro Football League. You decide.             

           ESPN created a new statistical category called QBR (quarterback rating) which we previously discussed in a 2013 article entitled Quackery, Buggery, and Ridiculousness.  Here is the fairly simple formula for how they keep the public in the dark, no pun intended.  First of all, the “statistics” used to determine QBR can’t be based on anything objective.  Objective’s the way they do the old fashioned “Passer Rating”.  The Passer Rating formula includes only objective statistics like completion percentage, touchdowns and interceptions.  You know, the kind of thing that isn’t subject to debate.  The pass was completed or it wasn’t.  The completion percentage is what it is.  This whole “Passer Rating” thing resulted in a large number of the African-American quarterbacks taking the top spots.  In fact, they were doing much better than their average white quarterback.  As of week 3 in the 2014 NFL season for quarterbacks who had appeared in at least two games, the six African-American quarterbacks placed 5 in the top 18 in Passer Rating. This is in spite of the fact that the Passer Rating does not factor in rushing yards and the six African-American quarterbacks are among the leaders in that also. 

           ESPN hired some guys to create a new rating.  This new rating was based on subjective data like “Clutch weighted points allowed on plays with pass attempts”.  The ESPN evaluator also has to divide the credit for every play using subjective stuff like pass protection and how difficult the catch was.  Well how difficult the catch was is something that’s in the eye of the beholder, and the beholder was apparently looking through a small slit in a bed sheet.  As ESPN states in its description of what QBR is, “we want QBR to be flexible for many purposes”.  Well it’s flexible all right but only for one purpose, to downgrade every African-American quarterback in the NFL, most of the time significantly.  QBR allegedly gives credit for rushing yards too.  They call the category “clutch weighted expected points added through rushes”.   At this point Matt Ryan, who has a paltry 45 yards rushing in three games, has a “clutch weighted expected points added through rushes” of +1.3.  He joked last week that he won’t be the slowest quarterback in the NFL until Brady and Manning retire.  Colin Kaepernick, who has established himself as one of the great running quarterbacks in NFL history and who currently leads all quarterbacks by a wide margin with 127 yards in three games, received a “clutch weighted expected points added through rushes” of -.9.  If it looks like a gazelle and runs like a gazelle, it's apparently a duck.

            ESPN’s QBR formula is something the ESPN law dogs call proprietary, which means they own it and won’t share it with the public.  Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk said about QBR, “(F)ans just have to trust that the distance the ball actually travelled was correctly measured and how much pressure the quarterback felt on the play was correctly assessed…”   He went on to callously describe it as a “pointless exercise”.  He’s wrong there.  There is a point.  While 5 of the 6 African-American quarterbacks ranked in the top 18 in Passer Rating, none of them were in the top 18 when it came to Sorta Black Hating!  Not the NFL’s top rated passer Russell Wilson.  Oh no, he had a Sorta Black Hating formula that had him as the 23rd ranked quarterback.  Cam Newton has the NFL’s eighth best Passer Rating, but when converted by the Sorta Black Hating formula that ESPN uses, he drops to 25.  E.J. Manuel is 18th in passer rating, but he drops to 32nd when converted to Sorta Black Hating.  In fact in the most incredible statistical anomaly in the history of the world, every single African-American quarterback was ranked lower in the Sorta Black Hating formula than their Passer Rating.  They’re going to have to write an amendment to the Bible.  Water to wine just got bitch slapped by the statistical miracle of Sorta Black Hating.  Guys like Hoyer, Brees, Rivers, Cousins, the Mannings, Rodgers, and Brady all had QBR’s within 3 spots of their Passer Rating.  However Russell Wilson was dropped 22 places.  Cam Newton dropped 17, Robert Griffin 21 and E.J. Manuel 14.  Tony Romo, of course, moved up 8 spots.    

                Now we are hopeful that these ESPN clowns aren’t racist, that they’re just stupid, but it strains credibility to believe that these guys are that dumb. We feel certain they will come out and explain how a system that factors in clutch throws somehow went awry, but only with respect to the black quarterbacks.  Every one of them.  They can explain it, we’re sure they can.  We can’t wait to hear it.


P.S.  Please sue us ESPN.  Please.