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Football Passer Rating Formula

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What is the Passer Rating Formula in Football?

Passer Rating in Football is stat used to measure a quarterback’s performance. Using the quarterback’s passing attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns, and interceptions a QB’s Passing Rating can be calculated. The highest passer rating is 158.3 and the lowest is 0.

How to Calculate a QB’s Passer Rating?

For each of the four variables used to calculate a quarterback's passer rating (passing attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns, and interceptions), there are four unique formulas that the variables must be plugged into.


Step 1: Get The Data

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

Week 12 2018 Passing Leaders

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

Step 2: Calculate 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, subtract .3 and then multiply that number by 5.

BR = ((41/56) - .3) x 5 = 2.16071428571
RW = ((22/31) - .3) x 5 = 2.04838709677

Step 3: Calculate the 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 .25.

BR = ((462/56 - 3) x .25 = 1.3125
RW = ((339/31 - 3) x .25 = 1.98387096774

Passing Touchdowns - Equation 3:

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

BR = (1/56) x 20 = 0.35714285714
RW = (2/31) x 20 = 1.29032258065

Passing Interceptions - Equation 4:

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

BR = 2.375-((2/56) x 25) = 1.48214285714
RW = 2.375-((0/31) x 25) = 2.375

NFL Passer Rating Formula:

Finally, take the sum of Equation 1, Equation 2, Equation 3, and Equation 4 and divide that number by 6. Then, multiply that number times 100 to calculate the QB’s passer rating.

BR = ((F1(2.16071428571) + F2(1.3125) + F3(0.35714285714) + F4(1.48214285714)6 ) 100 = 88.54 ≃ 88.5
RQ = ((F1(2.04838709677 ) + F2(1.98387096774) + F3(1.29032258065) + F4(2.375)6 ) 100 = 128.29 ≃ 128.3

Understanding a QB’s Passer Rating

The QB Passer Rating is one of two statistics used to measure how successful the QB was on game day. Completion percentage in a game is the most important passer rating variable. This leads to quarterbacks who throw screens or other short passes will usually have a higher rating. It also 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 his throws.

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