Does 158.3 sound like perfection to you?
This story first appeared in the January 6, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Didn’t think so. Yet that random, bizarre number equals perfection according to the NFL’s current Passer Rating System, under which scores are divined via an immensely complicated, multipart mathematical formula which no one this side of MIT’s nerdiest degree could possibly comprehend.
While officially, an NFL quarterback gleans kudos for a high completion rate and few interceptions, he gets zero credit for looking good along the way. Thus, with the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend upcoming, Mensweek suggests an alternative rating, one based on the happily round figure of 100, which takes into account both Football Considerations (with such line items as Style of Play and Importance to Team) and Non-Football Considerations (Personal Style Including Hair; Overall Hunk Factor). Also relevant: Negatives (Legal Woes; Jerk Quotient).
In lieu of an appropriate, impersonal computer system, Mensweek assembled its own Fashion-Football Panel comprised of people who can address both Football and Non-Football Considerations with some knowledge. They are, along with this self-appointed reporter, Allure’s Michael Carl, Flaunt’s Long Nguyen, WWD’s Matthew Lynch and Debi Greenberg of Louis Boston, whose knowledge of the sports genre equals her shameless regional bias. Though Haan Projects’ Libby Haan did not return from Turkey in time to complete her rating card, she did offer via e-mail that Tom “he’s really so handsome” Brady’s hair is ridiculous.
The list of QBs rated was limited to those slated to start for their teams in the postseason. As the Seattle Seahawks (a division-winning aberration with a losing record) had not yet named their starter at press time, both Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst are listed.
The 10 style and on-field categories allow for a maximum possible score of 100. Negatives could total 20, and were subtracted from each player’s prior total to determine his final individual and overall rankings.
The panelists proved tough graders, understandable in the Personal Style department. But in the Genetics category? Just because Brady is a curve-wrecker doesn’t mean that good-looking Hasselbeck deserves 1s and 2s on a five-point scale, as he merited from Greenberg and Carl. Nor should he have lost points for family ties, yet Lynch couldn’t ignore that Hasselbeck’s brother is “married to that blowhard from ‘The View.’” And Joe Flacco getting a pair of 3s? He’s adorable. Conversely, Mark Sanchez — “Hot! Off the field,” according to Carl — got a big boost in the overall ratings precisely for being so pretty. Also apparent: fan bias. Greenberg proved most flagrant with her perfect score for Brady and an effusive “Is there anything better?” Nguyen, who is attending the Eagles–Packers game in Philly on Sunday, ran a close second; he awarded eight 5s, six of them to Michael Vick. And some voters proved just plain jealous of perhaps-best-ever Peyton Manning’s countless accomplishments: Nguyen scored him equal to Flacco in Endorsements — a paltry 3 — while Greenberg gave his no-huddle offense a 2 for Excitement.
Also notable, Jerk Factor mattered. Non-Patriot-o-philes proved tough on Brady, citing his Gisele-inspired flowing locks as a point of particular amusement. Not surprisingly, however, Ben Roethlisberger and Vick attracted the greatest venom, even if New York fan Carl avoided the more obvious criminal history to dub Vick a “Giant killer.” Yet such concerns did not diminish the panel’s opinion of Vick’s play; he garnered top scores across the board for on-field Excitement.
Bottom line: Our Mensweek ratings vary considerably from the official NFL rankings. One might argue that we give too much credit for looks (e.g. Sanchez, 4th overall here versus 11th among playoff QBs, according to the NFL list) and personality (Drew Brees, 2nd here versus 9th on the NFL). Meanwhile Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers fell prey to his own low-maintenance nature, nevermind that he was the essence of grace under pressure through the entire, endless (yet now finally ended, knock wood) Brett Favre farce. Though 2nd on the NFL list, Rodgers did no better than 7th here.
As for number one — only one. Despite considerable disagreement over his Jerk Factor, Brady tops our list and the NFL’s. To Carl’s point: “Who cares if he’s a jerk? He has the looks, the girl and the talent.” Sad (to a Colts/Giants fan, at least), but true.
WWD Passer Rating Chart
Playoff-bound starting quarterbacks were rated on a scale of 1-5 (which seemed simpler than 1-10*) in four football and six non-football categories. Multiplied by two, the maximum possible score was 100. Total negatives were multiplied by two and subtracted from the previous scores. Panelists’ individual rankings were averaged for the overall WWD Passer Ratings.
*A 10-point scale would have resulted in higher overall scores. Oh, well.