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How to Calculate QB Rating in both the NCAA & the NFL

I don’t Know about you, but I think the best word in any human language is ‘Unknown’! I spent 46 years in education, the last 20 or so as an administrator and I wish I had a nickel for every time I answered a teacher or student question with, ‘I don’t know, let’s find out’! If I had that, ‘them nickels’, I would own 2/3’s of Wisconsin!

So with that in mind, one of the things I knew and then forgot about (forgetting is a lot like not knowing) was how QB ratings are determined in the college game, and then, how it differs (if it differs) from how it is determined at in the NFL? So I sat down today, after I got back from a visit with the grand kids, and now, it is no longer an unknown!

First let’s do college, after all this is a college football site! The NFL can get a number and get in line!

There are 7 steps to determine a QB rating via the NCAA formula:

  1. The QB’s passing yards X 8.3
  2. The number of TD’s the QB has thrown X 330
  3. The Quarterback’s completions x 100
  4. You now add A, B, & C to get a total!
  5. Now factor in the INT’s the QB has thrown and X them by 200
  6. You now subtract the INT total from your first total (steps 1, 2, & 3)!
  7. You now divide the #6’s total, by the number of QB attempts (passes thrown)

Let’s take a few QB numbers and will do a walk through!

Alabama’s Mac Jones had the highest QB rating of any QB for the 2020 season. So here’s Mac!

  1. Mac passed for 4500 yards, so we times it by 8.4 and our 1st number is 37,800.
  2. Jones hit on 41 TD’s in 2020, we times the 41 by 330 and we now have our 2nd number, 13,530.
  3. He hit his target (completions) 311 times, which we times by 100 and we arrive at our 3rd number, 31,100
  4. We now add the three sub-totals together to get our first total, 82,430
  5. Mac threw 4 INT’s which we times by 200 and get a second total of 800
  6. we now subtract the 800 from our 1st total of, 82,430 and we have our final number, 81,630!
  7. We now divide 81,630 by the number of attempts (passes thrown) Mac had in 2020, 402 attempts. Jones’ QB Rating was 203.06!

If you go to the web site listed below you will find Mac at the top of the page, listed at 203.06.

Let’s do another high profile QB this season, Ohio State’s, Justin Fields!

  1. Fields passes for 2100 yards, so we times it by 8.4 and our 1st # is 17,640.
  2. Justin threw for 22 TD’s in 2020, so we times 22 by 330 and we get a second number, 7,260.
  3. He completed 158 passes which we multiply by 100 in our formula and we arrives at our 3rd number, 15,800.
  4. We now add our sub-totals and we get our 1st composite total of 40,700.
  5. Next we identify the number of INT Fields threw in the year of the Covid; he hit the wrong color jersey 6 times. Six picks times 200, equals 1200.
  6. We now subtract 1200 from our 1st total of 40,700 and we end up with 39,500.
  7. Finally, we divide 39,700 by the number of passes Justin threw in 2020, 225 / into 39,500 . Fields QBR was 175.56 / 10th best in the country!

Finally, since Sully’s College Football Page (SCFP) is located in Wisconsin, let’s take a peek at our own QB, Graham Mertz.

  1. Graham passed for 1,238 yards and as before, we times the number by 8.4, which equates to 10,399.2.
  2. Mertz threw 9 TD’s, which we times by 330 to get a total of 2,970.
  3. He completed 118 passes and in our formula, we multiply the 118 by 100 and get our 3rd sub-total of 11,800.
  4. The 3 sub-totals equal a composite score of 25,169.2
  5. Graham threw 5 INT’s, times 200 and we end up at 1,000.
  6. We now subtract 1000 from 25,169.2 and our final total is 24,169.2
  7. Mertz passed the ball 193 times in 2020, which we divide into 24,169.2 and we arrive at Mertz’s QBR of 125.23 or 79th best in the nation!

The NFL system seems much more involved, at least to a Mental Math Midget like myself!

  1. The NFL takes a QB’s completions and divides them by his attempts (passes thrown), it then subtracts from that number by 0.3, and then times the quotient by 5. This gives you your 1st number.
  2. In their 2nd step , they divide a QB total passing yards by, again, their attempts. They now subtract 3 from the passing yards/by attempts from the quotient, and then times that number by 0.25.
  3. In step three, they divide the QB’s TD passes by his total attempts and then times that number by 20.
  4. You take 2.375 and hold on to it, while you complete the what is in the brackets 1st. U divide INT’s by attempts, times that number by 25, and then subtract the 2.375!
  5. You take the 4 sub-totals listed above, add them together, divide the total by 6 and then times that number by 100. You now have your QB rating

Ok, let’s do a NFL QB to see if I can unconfused you! How about we do GB’s Aaron Rogers .

  1. Rogers completed 372 passes / attempted 526 = 0.707, we now subtract 0.3 which leaves us with 0.407. Now we times the 0.407 number by 5 and we have our 1st number, 2.036
  2. Aaron passed for 4299 yards in 2020, so we divide that number by his attempts, 526, and we get 8.17 YPA. We now subtract 3 and we are left with 5.17 which we now multiply by 0.25 and we get our 2nd number of 1.29.
  3. In the NFL’s 3rd step, we divide TD’s by, again, attempts. Rogers threw 48 Touchdowns which we divide by his attempts of 526, this leaves us with 0.091. Now we multiply the 0.091 by 20 and we get a response of 1.825
  4. In our fourth phase, we take a look at INT’s and find that Rodgers threw 5 picks in 2020, again we divide by attempts, 526 and we arrive at 0.0095. In the NFL’s Formula, you now multiply this number (0.0095) by 25 and get 0.237, which we subtract 2.375 and get our fourth number of 2.138
  5. We now add our 4 totals together, 2.036, 1.293, 1.825, & 2.138 = 7.292. We then divide by 6 which = 1.21 & X by 100 = our QB rating for Rodgers of 121.5

In the likelihood , you doubt my findings (I did as well) here is a site that shows you Rodgers QBR.

I was asked about this yesterday and while I used to do this back in 2009 & 2010, I really had little to nothing to offer how the NCAA / NFL Formulas worked and or how they were different Not anymore!

Enjoy the NFL Games, should be great one’s on Saturday & Sunday!

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