Passer rating unleashed! (this time in the playoffs)
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 28, 2011
By Luis DeLoureiro
Cold, Hard Football Facts all-time passing kidney stones leader
Joe Montana produced the greatest postseason passing performance in history in the 1989 playoffs. He plowed through three straight dominant wins with a rating of 146.4.
The data helped confirm something we stated last summer, that Montana produced the greatest passing season ever in 1989 – a No. 1 ranking based in no small part on his incredible postseason effort. Montana and the 49ers also produced the highest average-per-attempt in history during the 1989 regular season, with an incredible 9.49 YPA.
His gaudy 146.4 postseason passer rating, meanwhile, tells only part of the story.
A couple of weeks ago, ColdHardFootballFacts.com unleashed what we call unbounded passer ratings. That is, ratings without the artificial constraints placed on it by the folks who created the formula. In the existing system, 158.3 is considered a "perfect" passer rating.
But as we demonstrated, many players have produced passer ratings higher than 158.3. Incredibly, Montana surpassed that boundary TWICE in the 1989 postseason.
When the artificial boundaries are removed, Montana's "unbounded" passer rating jumps to 151.7. (All ratings in the rest of this post are "unbounded" and provided by playerfilter.com; all data is since 1970.)
Montana buried the Vikings, 41-13, with an "unbounded" rating of 158.5 in the divisional round. It's the second best divisional-round rating since 1970, the first year we analyzed.
Montana was beyond perfect again with a 165.4 in the Super Bowl, a 55-10 blowout of John Elway and the Broncos. It's the highest passer rating in Super Bowl history – and the biggest blowout, too.
Montana managed "only" a 132.9 unbounded rating in a 30-3 victory over the L.A. Rams in the 1989 NFC championship. While this was Montana's worst game in those playoffs, it was the seventh best performance in conference championship history.
In the next few weeks, we would like to quantify which playoff years stand out as the best in history, behind Montana's 1989 dominance. A few come to mind – Warner in 1999 and 2008 – but we're still working with the guys over at playerfilter.com to gather all the needed numbers.
What about Rodgers?
Aaron Rodgers has been unleashing hell on opponents in the 2010 playoffs. While it doesn't compare to Montana's 1989 brilliance, it's not a bad performance for a player who, coming into the 2010 season, had started only one playoff game.
Rodgers was outstanding in the wildcard and divisional rounds of the 2010 playoffs.
In games against the Eagles in the wildcard round and the top seeded Falcons in the divisional round, Rodgers posted ratings of 125.5 and 144.0, respectively.
His performance against the Falcons rates as the eighth best divisional-round performance since 1970.
His company in the top 10 divisional round quarterback performances includes Brett Favre (twice), Joe Montana, Kurt Warner, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Joe Theismann, Billy Kilmer and Peyton Manning. Of those players, all but Rivers have reached the Super Bowl and only Rivers and Kilmer have never won a Super Bowl.
That's good company.
But Rodgers couldn't keep up his staggering pace in blustery Chicago. His performance against the Steelers will go a long way toward determining how his 2010 postseason stacks up against the best in history.
Below are the all-time best performances (based on "unbounded" ratings) for each playoff round. All data is since 1970. A couple notables:
Joe Montana – In that 1989 postseason, Montana produced the second-best divisional performance in history (since 1970), the seventh-best title-game performance and the single best Super Bowl performance. Newsflash: that guy was pretty good.
Terry Bradshaw – We call TB the best big-game gunslinger of all time, often noting his incredible 11.1 YPA in four Super Bowls. You'll also see his name littering the lists below: the No. 7 Super Bowl performance, in Pittsburgh's famous 35-31 win over Dallas in Super Bowl XIII. He also produced the top divisional-round performance in history, in Pittsburgh's 40-14 domination of the Colts in Baltimore in the 1976 postseason. Bradshaw was an average passer at best in the regular season, as evidenced by his career rating of 70.9. But put him in a big game, and the guy was money.
Kurt Warner – The Cold, Hard Football Facts love the guy. As you know, he owns the three best Super Bowl performances in history, based upon the meaningless measure of passing yards. He failed to make the top 10 in the more important measure of passer rating. However, you will see his name in the top three performances of all time in the wildcard, divisional and title-game rounds.
Peyton Manning – The future Hall of Famer is so prolific that the NFL someday will have to issue a special edition record book of Peyton Manning records. Among them? Manning posted the highest passer rating in postseason history, with his 197.1 effort in a wildcard-round game against Denver. The Colts won, 41-10.
Best Super Bowls, unbounded rating (since 1970)
Best conference title games, unbounded rating (since 1970)
|1||Jim Plunkett||1980||@ SD||164.4|
|6||Joe Montana||1988||@ CHI||136.0|
|8||Tom Brady||2004||@ PIT||130.5|
|10||Ben Roethlisberger||2005||@ DEN||124.9|
|12||Roger Staubach||1975||@ LA||123.9|
|13||Peyton Manning||2009||@ NYJ||123.6|
|15||Troy Aikman||1992||@ SF||120.0|
Best divisional games, unbounded rating (since 1970)
|1||Terry Bradshaw||1976||@ BAL||183.6|
|5||Philip Rivers||2007||@ IND||152.1|
|7||Brett Favre||2009||@ DAL||150.3|
|8||Aaron Rodgers||2010||@ ATL||144.0|
|10||Peyton Manning||2003||@ KC||138.8|
|11||Brett Favre||1995||@ SF||132.9|
|15||Mark Sanchez||2010||@ NE||127.8|
|17||Drew Brees||2009||@ ARI||125.4|
|19||Jeff Hostetler||1993||@ BUF||125.0|
Best wildcard games, unbounded rating (since 1970)
|2||Kurt Warner||2009||@ GB||173.7|
|5||Ben Roethlisberger||2005||@ CIN||161.7|
|9||Daunte Culpepper||2004||@ GB||143.5|
|15||Aaron Rodgers||2010||@ PHI||122.5|
|16||Aaron Rodgers||2009||@ ARI||121.4|
|18||Eli Manning||2007||@ TB||117.1|
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