Dom Capers: CHFF’s Passer Rating Differential 'Most Significant' Stat In Football

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 11, 2013

Bill Huber is the man behind Packer Report and a friend of the Cold, Hard Football Facts.

We’ve talked to him over the years about Green Bay’s historic domination of Passer Rating Differential, the Mother of All Stats. We wrote about the importance of PRD most recently this week right here.

Huber asked Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers about Passer Rating Differential on Thursday and was kind enough to share the interview notes with us below.

Capers was preaching the Gridiron Gospel you’ve heard for years at CHFF.

He realizes that winning is all about dominating the battle of passing efficiency, and always has been.

You can check out Packer Report right here, too. Huber and the gang do a great job and were very generous to share the notes below. Here’s the interview.

Huber: How much stock do you put in passer rating?

Capers: A lot. To me, I’ll just say this, and this goes way back. I’ve done it since I took my first head coaching job. A lot of statistics don’t have a lot of influence on whether you win or lose a game. The one that I felt is the most significant is the passer rating differential.

Huber: Thanks, because that’s my story.

Capers: I go back to when the Packers beat us [the Panthers] in the championship game out here [in the 1996 NFC title game]. The final four teams almost every year have the biggest differential. If you look at us over my four years, we’re in the top two or three every year. [Actually, No. 2 in PRD in 2009 and No. 1 in 2010, 2011 and 2012.]

Our first year, our opponent passer rating [what we call Defensive Passer Rating] was three or four. Second year, we were first. Last year, we were ninth. This year, I know we were fourth going into the last game.

So, we’ve finished in the top five three out of the four years and ninth the other year. I think you combine those four years, we’re like third or something. Now, I’ll give you an interesting stat: When we’ve held a quarterback under an 80 passer rating, we’re 40-2.

Huber: You guys are No. 1 in differential this year.

Capers: It’s a common-sense principle. It’s a quarterback-driven league so if you have a quarterback like Aaron and if you have a defense that’s tough on a quarterback, that’s a pretty good combination to have.

How I got started on this, building two expansion teams, what’s the formula to get to where everybody wants to go? You’ve got to have a quarterback and you have to have a defense that’s hard on a quarterback.


Sounds like it’s straight from the pages of CHFF. By the way, here in 2012 teams that won the battle of Passer Rating Differential:

  • went 209-46 (.820) during the regular season
  • are an incredible 47-5 (.904) since Week 15
  • went 4-0 (1.000) in the wildcard round

The Final 8 in 2012 ranks No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, No. 7, No. 8 and No. 12 in PRD.

The Packers are a textbook study in the importance of PRD. They finished No. 1 in PRD in 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1996 and 2010 and won NFL championships each and every year.

The 1967 Packers finished No. 3 in PRD, but turned it on the postseason (+42.5 in three games) on their way to a record third straight NFL championship and back-to-back victories in the first two Super Bowls.

The 2011 Packers finished No. 1, as well, but fell short in the playoffs after a franchise-record 15 regular-season wins. The 2012 Packers are, once again, No. 1 in PRD, for the third year in a row. The 2009 Packers finished No. 2.  

It’s no coincidence that Green Bay’s resurgence to Lombardi-Era levels of PRD coincides with the arrival of defensive coordinator Dom Capers in 2009. CHFF readers get it. Capers gets it. Very few so-called pro football experts do get it.

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