Football Passer Rating Formula

What is the Passer Rating Formula in Football?

Passer rating in football is a stat used to measure a quarterback’s performance by evaluating their passing attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns, and interceptions. The highest NFL passer rating is 158.3, and the lowest is 0.

How is Passer Rating Calculated?

For each of the variables used to calculate an NFL quarterback's passer rating (passing attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns, and interceptions), there are four unique formulas that the variables must be plugged into. After each of the four variables have been scaled with their formulas, they are added together before being multiplied by a final factor to calculate overall QB rating. Keep reading to learn the entire process!

Example of Calculating Passer Rating

1. Get The Data

Let’s take a look back to Week 12 of the 2018 NFL season to further understand passer rating:

2018 Week 12 Passing Leaders:

Below are the two passing leaders from Week 12 of the 2018 NFL season, Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. Their passing stats are listed as follows: completions/attempts, passing yards, touchdowns, and interceptions.

QuarterbackPassing StatsPasser Rating
Ben Roethlisberger - PIT41/56, 462 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT88.5
Russell Wilson - SEA22/31, 339 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT128.3

2. Passing Attempts Equation

Passing attempts represents the total number of throws a QB had in a game. For the first formula, you take the number of completions and divide it by the number of attempts, then subtract 0.3 and multiply the resulting number by 5.

Ben Roethlisberger = ((41/56) - 0.3) x 5 = 2.16071428571
Russell Wilson = ((22/31) - .3) x 5 = 2.04838709677

3. Passing Yards Equation

Passing yards are the total number of yards thrown by a QB in a game. For the second formula, you take the number of passing yards and divide it by the number of attempts, subtract 3 and then multiply that number by 0.25.

Ben Roethlisberger = ((462/56 - 3) x 0.25 = 1.3125
Russell Wilson = ((339/31 - 3) x 0.25 = 1.98387096774

4. Passing Touchdowns Equation

For the third formula, you take the number of passing touchdowns and divide it by the number of passing attempts, this time simply multiplying that number by 20.

Ben Roethlisberger = (1/56) x 20 = 0.35714285714
Russell Wilson = (2/31) x 20 = 1.29032258065

5. Passing Interceptions Equation

For the last formula, take 2.375 and subtract the number of interceptions thrown divided by the number of passing attempts again, multiplying that number by 25.

Ben Roethlisberger = 2.375 - ((2/56) x 25) = 1.48214285714
Russell Wilson = 2.375 - ((0/31) x 25) = 2.375

6. Total Passer Rating

Finally, to calculate the overall passer rating, take the sum of the results from Equations 1-4 and divide that number by 6. Then, multiply that number by 100 to calculate the QB’s passer rating.

Ben Roethlisberger = (2.16071428571 + 1.3125 + 0.35714285714 + 1.48214285714)/6 x 100 = 88.54 ≃ 88.5
Russell Wilson = (2.04838709677 + 1.98387096774 + 1.29032258065 + 2.375)/6 x 100 = 128.29 ≃ 128.3

Understanding a QB’s Passer Rating

The QB passer rating is a statistic used to measure how successful the QB was on game day. Completion percentage in a game is the most important passer rating variable. However, quarterbacks who throw screens or other short passes will usually have a higher completion rating. Another potential flaw in the overall picture provided by passer rating is that it neglects major parts of a quarterback’s performance like sacks, fumbles, and running statistics.

However, what passer rating does reveal is that a game where a quarterback has over 400 yards does not mean they will have a good rating. Passer rating is focused on what the quarterback was able to do with those throws, with an emphasis on touchdowns and interceptions. Passer rating is a major stat used to calculate a QB performance that focuses on how efficient that QB was with their throws.

FAQ

What is a good quarterback passer rating in football?

Typically, a good passer rating for a quarterback is above 80. Passer ratings upwards of 100 are considered an excellent passing performance. On the other hand, a passer rating below 80 is considered a poor performance from a quarterback.