Is Yards Per Attempt An Effective Stat For Evaluating NFL Quarterbacks?

I love taking the time to scan through statistics and find interesting bits and trends which you can use to effectively judge a player’s success. That is why when I saw Seth Wickersham’s article on ESPN.com I couldn’t help but to become enamored with the information he was putting out.

Wickersham’s article focused on the stat Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg uses to evaluate quarterbacks — yards per attempt.

“That statistic not only correlates highly with winning and scoring, but it shows that you get big chunks of yardage in the passing game,” Mornhinweg said.

To prove Yards Per Attempt (YPA) does have some meaning, Wickersham dug deep into the statistics and discovered that 72% of the top five passers in YPA in the past 10 years have led playoff runs by their teams.

Over at Philly.com, Sheil Kapadia put together a chart that shows the top quarterbacks in the YPA category from last season.

QB YPA
Philip Rivers 8.7
Aaron Rodgers 8.3
Ben Roethlisberger 8.2
Michael Vick 8.1
Tom Brady 7.9
Jay Cutler 7.6
Matt Schaub 7.6
David Garrard 7.5
Joe Flacco 7.4
Jon Kitna 7.4
Eli Manning 7.4

Out of the top 11 from last season, almost half did not lead their teams to a playoff berth. However, the guys that came in at second and third — Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger, respectively — led their teams to the Super Bowl.

So while Mornhinweg’s favorite quarterback statistic may not be the be all end all for evaluating quarterbacks, it is an effective tool. YPA allows you to see the most efficient downfield passers in the league and will give you an idea of the quarterbacks who are looking to put points on the board.

They say that defense wins championships and offense puts butts in the stands, but no matter how you look at it points win games… and a high YPA will lead to points more often than not.

Tags: Aaron Rodgers Ben Roethlisberger David Garrard Eli Manning Jay Cutler Joe Flacco Jon Kitna Marty Mornhinweg Matt Schaub Michael Vick NFL Nfl Stats Philip Rivers Quarterback Rankings Quarterback Stats Tom Brady Yards Per Attempt

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