Currently, one of the biggest debates among NFL circles is, “Who is the best QB from the 2012 draft class: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, or Russell Wilson?” The debate started as a two-man race between Luck and Griffin, but as Griffin has fallen off (supposedly), Wilson has gained traction in the argument. I am here to attempt to silence the debate–or at least the debate of who was better in 2012 and 2013–using all-encompassing statistics! So, let’s begin.
I want to start this debate off with a brief note in regard to championships. Some people use “number of rings” as the ultimate trump card in arguments such as this. Seeing as Wilson just won the Super Bowl, he would get the nod in this category. However, number of championships is simply not accurate in a TEAM SPORT. Did Russell Wilson go out and defeat the Denver Broncos singlehandedly, playing every position on the field? Of course not! Some people forget that a defense can help win championships. I covered a week ago how good Seattle’s defense is, so one can infer that the defense led Wilson to the ring or at least helped immensely. Besides, the ring argument leads to strange conclusions. Was Trent Dilfer better than Dan Marino? Was Brad Johnson better than Jim Kelly? Is Joe Flacco better than Philip Rivers? No? Didn’t think so.
The statistics that I will be using in this analysis are larger, ratio-type statistics that encompass almost all major statistical categories for quarterbacks. I will be using fantasy points, passer rating, yards per attempt, and TD/interception ratio. Fantasy points, believe it or not, is a wonderful way to give a specific numerical value to certain statistics, like passing yards, passing touchdowns, interceptions, and even rushing yards. This specific tabulation awards 1 point for every 25 passing yards, 4 points for every passing touchdown, -2 points for every pick, 1 point for every 10 rushing yards, and 6 points for every rushing touchdown (there are more categories as well). Passer rating is a complex calculation that combines the ratios of completions per pass attempt, yards per pass attempt, touchdowns per pass attempt, and interceptions per pass attempt. Yards per attempt combines both yards per completion and completion percentage. Touchdown to interception is the number of touchdowns divided by the number of interceptions, so the larger the number, the better it is. Time to actually get into the numbers coagulated from the combination of the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
The average number of fantasy points scored over the course of 2012 and 2013 for Andrew Luck was about 17.78. Robert Griffin III scored an average of 18.99 fantasy points. Russell Wilson trails at 17.06 points. Griffin takes the category of fantasy points, though the massive amount of rushing yards his rookie year (826) definitely helped. In the category of passer rating, designed to be the perfect determinant of QB skill, Luck averaged 93.94 out of a maximum of 153.8. Griffin had an average rating of 102.31, and Wilson had an average of 110.13. So Russell Wilson wins passer rating in a landslide. In yards per attempt, all three quarterbacks were pretty close statistically. Luck averaged 6.84 yards per attempt, Griffin had 7.71, and Wilson led with 8.25 yards per attempt. It all comes down to this: touchdown to interception ratio. Andrew Luck, with his painful 18 rookie interceptions, averaged 1.70. Griffin III, bolstered by just 5 picks his entire 2012 campaign, averaged 2.12. Finally, Russell Wilson averaged…2.74. Wilson takes the TD/INT ratio.
That’s it. Out of the four statistical categories, Russell Wilson led the competition in three of them, basically confirming that Wilson, statistically, was the best in 2012 and 2013 combined. Is that the entire picture? Maybe not. Luck was hindered by the lack of running game both seasons, so he was forced to pass all the time. Griffin was injured frequently, and it could be argued that he was not 100% healthy last season. Wilson has had “alright,” but not “good” or “great,” receivers throughout his career. This season, Luck has already thrown for 1305 yards and 13 TDs. Russell Wilson’s TD/INT ratio is 6. And Griffin is…hurt again. Over their first two seasons, Wilson was the best of the three. However, I see Luck finishing his career as the best to come out of the 2012 Draft.
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