Happiness Is A Healthy Quarterback

by A.J. Coltrane

I’m currently in an office pool where a buddy and I each picked four NFL teams to start the year. Success is (basically) based upon total team wins. I wound up with the Buccaneers and Titans (and the Ravens and the 49ers). The Bucs are now 1-8. The Titans are 4-5. I’m not doing as well as I’d like.

This got me looking for something to blame for my lack of awesomeness. I’ve decided it’s the fact that the quarterbacks on the teams that I picked have been hurt or surprisingly ineffective. I can’t control that, right?

The Bucs are 30th (out of 32 teams) in passing yards. Their quarterback to start the year was Josh Freeman. He got benched after three games, and cut shortly after that when nobody else wanted to trade for him. Apparently he’s a little too fond of being young, rich, and famous, if you know what I mean.

The Titans are 23rd in passing. Jake Locker has been hurt much of the year. He’s only appeared in five out of nine games, and he’s missed parts of two of those with mid-game injuries. He’s now out the rest of the year with a foot injury.

All of which led me to wonder, what’s the winning percentage of #1 quarterbacks vs the backups? (A #1 quarterback is defined as the guy that starts the first game of the year.) I guessed it’d be .550 for the Game 1 Starters vs .400 for whoever the club threw out there as a replacement.

The actual 2012 totals:

2012 Results Wins Losses Total Percent of games played
Week 1 Starter 239 221 0.520 90.2
Backups 16 34 0.320 9.8

I’m a little surprised the Week 1 starters played 90 percent of the games. I thought it’d be lower due to injury or whatever. Good to know.

The #1 starters performed loosely as expected, winning 52% of their games, but the guys that were backups to start the year won 32% of the games that they eventually started. Ick. That’s way worse than I had even guessed it might be.

The moral is, of course:  Be very happy when the #1 QB is healthy. The alternatives are generally pretty dreadful.

2 thoughts on “Happiness Is A Healthy Quarterback

  1. I think those numbers are pretty much where I would expect them. With the number of the teams in the league, so few team have a starting quality QB as a backup. Heck, there are a few teams who don’t have a starting quality QB as their starter in the NFL. I would guess there are probably 25 guys who would be a capible starter on whatever team they are on in the NFL, maybe 10 competent backups and the rest are basically just keeping the bench warm.


  2. Your guess was pretty solid, right near where I would have expected. There are more issues that have to do with a W/L percentage, but the QB holds the bar. I’m sort of dumbfounded with the performance of RG3 and my Redskins pick 🙂 And now have to rely on a “backup” in Jason Campbell and my Browns….eeek!


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