I track more than 100 metrics in every NFL game, but the most misunderstood and controversial of these has to be the bad decision metric for quarterbacks. The bad decision metric is the method I use to track a quarterback's mistakes. Simply put, if the quarterback makes a decision with the ball that either could have led or did lead to a turnover, he is debited with a bad decision on the play.
The most common types of bad decisions are:
1. Forcing a pass into coverage
2. Staring at a receiver
3. Throwing the ball despite being tackled
4. Misreading a zone defense and not seeing a defender in the passing lane.
On each of these types of plays, the quarterback is noted as having made a bad decision. There are game situations that can force a quarterback to throw the ball into coverage (e.g., on fourth-and-30, Hail Mary plays, etc.) that will not be ruled as bad decisions.
If the quarterback's mistake did not lead to a turnover (e.g., a dropped interception, a recovered fumble, etc.), the mistake is given only one bad decision point. If the mistake led to a turnover, however, it is given two mistake points and also is subject to a graduating scale of points based on how damaging the turnover was (e.g., an additional point for an interception killing a scoring drive, another additional point if the interception led to the opponent's being set up in scoring position, etc.). The scale has an upper limit of five points for any single bad decision.
Scientific Football 2006 can be ordered now from KC Joyner's website.
Bad decision rankings are based on two percentage bases. The first is the standard bad decision percentage. To calculate this, I take the number of bad decisions a quarterback generated and divide it by the total number of attempts. The second percentage rating is the weighted bad decision percentage. This is calculated by taking the number of bad decision points and dividing it by the total number of attempts.
So, which quarterbacks were the best and worst decision makers in the NFL in 2005 according to Scientific Football 2006? At the bottom, I'll list the top five and bottom five in each category. But first, I'll analyze some of the more interesting QBs and where they fell as good or bad decision makers.
He goes on to highlight Tom Brady, Drew Bledsoe and Byron Leftwich as top decision makers, and then Aaron Brooks, Matt Hasselback, Brett Favre, and Ben Roethlisberger as top bad decision makers.
The top 5 in bad decisions/attempts is -
1. Tom Brady Patriots 0.7
2. David Carr Texans 1.6
3. Peyton Manning Colts 1.7
4. Drew Bledsoe Cowboys 1.9
5. Jake Plummer Broncos 2.1
The top 5 in bad decisions/attempts weighted with the point system is -
1. Tom Brady Patriots 1.6
2. David Carr Texans 2.3
3. Jake Plummer Broncos 3.2
4. Byron Leftwich Jaguars 3.2
5. Peyton Manning Colts 3.4