ESPN got called out for their terrible QBR rating, and then changed it

“With QBR, we’re just supposed to take ESPN’s word for it that they’ve got it all figured out.” -Michael David Smith

QBR is a stat that ESPN made up. It evaluates the individual performances of quarterbacks and then ranks them on a scale from 0 to 100.  ESPN has never completely explained the formula, or made what goes into it public.

Since they unveiled the stat back in 2011, there’s been many instances when their rankings didn’t make sense. Like when they said Tim Tebow played better than Aaron Rodgers in week 5 of the 2011 season:

Rodgers, whose Packers won at the Georgia Dome, completed 26 of 39 passes for 396 yards and two touchdowns. His Total QBR was 82.1.

Tebow, whose Broncos lost at home to the Chargers, completed four of 10 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown. And he ran the ball six times for 38 yards and a touchdown. And his Total QBR was 83.2.”

Or when they said Ryan Fitzpatrick was playing better than Tom Brady this year.

Then in November, Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk pointed out the biggest inconsistency of them all:

ESPN’s QBR claimed that former Pittsburgh Steelers backup quarterback Charlie Batch had played the best individual game EVER at his position.

In that game, Batch threw for 189 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions in a 38-13 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2010.

It wasn’t a bad game, but it clearly wasn’t the best game ever for a quarterback, and it definitely wasn’t one of the “All-Time Best Games,” either.

I say that because it appears that there’s been a tweak to the stat, because when you look at their rankings, Batch’s historic game is nowhere to be found.

So why is that?


Really, ESPN?

You changed the minimum number of plays requirement? What does that even mean? He played the ENTIRE GAME.

At this point they’re just making this up as they go, and this revelation had to be flat out embarrassing for them. Think about it. ESPN unveiled their QBR stat back in 2011.  Smith’s article was published LAST FALL.

That means it took over 4 entire YEARS before this was brought to anyone’s attention in their analytics department. And can you imagine how that conversation went?

“Uh boss, you might want to come look at this.”

“Charlie Batch? That can’t be rig- oh shit.”

“The article’s going viral! What do we do?!”



I mean seriously, what do they do all day?

Respect to Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith for the hard work and research he put in to finding that out.

Now anytime you hear QBR mentioned on any of ESPN’s shows, do yourself a favor, and change the channel.

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