This rating isn't the only misleading quarterback statistic. Look at the 300-yard passing day. Since 1980 quarterbacks who passed for at least 300 yards in a game have a combined winning percentage of .495; that's because passers on teams that are losing badly often pile up yardage against prevent defenses. By comparison, quarterbacks who have averaged at least 10 yards per pass attempt in a game have won at an .815 rate, and last season their record was a remarkable 23-1.
The same distortions result when receivers are judged by number of receptions rather than by receiving yards. Until 1990 only Art Monk (106) of the Washington Redskins and former AFL stars Charley Hennigan (101) of the Houston Oilers and Lionel Taylor (100) of the Denver Broncos had reached the century mark in a season. However, in the past six years the magic number has been reached on 16 occasions. Last year Herman Moore of the Detroit Lions had an NFL-record 123 catches, one more than the 49ers' Jerry Rice. Does that mean Moore has overtaken Rice as the league's premier receiver? Of course not. Total receiving yards is a truer measure of a pass catcher's worth, and in 1995, while Moore had 1,686 receiving yards, Rice had an NFL-record 1,848 yards, a 15.1-yard average (chart, page 96).
Cardinals fullback Larry Centers pulled down 101 passes, an NFL record for a running back (never mind that he averaged a paltry 9.5 yards per catch). That accomplishment showed that Centers is a fine receiver—certainly a better receiver last season than his teammate Hearst was a running back—and that Arizona's wide receivers were slow, that the offensive line was weak and that quarterback Dave Krieg couldn't throw downfield.
Despite a season in which he threw an NFL-high 21 interceptions, Krieg, who owns the alltime NFL record for fumbles and has three playoff victories to show for his 16-year career, is the league's 11th-highest rated quarterback ever according to the rating system. That places him only 60 spots ahead of Terry Bradshaw, who guided the Steelers to four Super Bowls during his 14-year career.
You figure it out.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]