Kings of the Mountain
Greatest difference in rating points between the top-rated passer in NFL history and second place at the conclusion of a season.
Pts…Year …No. 1…(Rating)…No. 2 (Rating)
9.3…1984…Joe Montana (92.7)…Roger Staubach (83.4)
9.0…1985…Joe Montana (92.4)…Roger Staubach (83.4)
8.1…2012…Aaron Rodgers (104.9)…Steve Young (96.8)
7.2…2011…Aaron Rodgers (104.1)…Tony Romo (96.9)
5.8…1983…Joe Montana (90.0)…Danny White (84.2)
5.3…1998…Steve Young (97.6)…Joe Montana (92.3)
5.2…1991…Joe Montana (93.4)…Dan Marino (88.2)
Aaron Rodgers is the highest-rated passer of all time.
Perhaps more impressive is the margin by which he leads the next best in NFL history.
Forty years have passed since the league adopted its current rating system. Some of the greatest quarterbacks to have played have been graded using the standard.
Don Smith of the Pro Football Hall of Fame devised the system in 1971. The league adopted it two years later, and it has been the gold standard since.
In 1973, Len Dawson (83.4 rating at the end of that season) was the top-rated passer in NFL history. Sonny Jurgensen (82.3) was second.
Since Dawson, nine others have held the top spot. Some, like Ken Anderson in 1976 (84.1) and Kenny Stabler in 1977 (83.6), were No. 1 for one year. Others, like Joe Montana (9 years) and Steve Young (14), had staying power.
Rodgers, who became the all-time leader during the 2010 season, has a career passer rating of 104.9. That’s 8.1 points ahead of Young (96.8) who occupies second place.
Only twice previously has the difference between first and second been greater. In 1984, Montana (92.7) was 9.3 points better than Roger Staubach (83.4). A year later, Montana’s advantage over the longtime Cowboy slipped to 9 points.
Rodgers is the only player in NFL history to rank among the Top 4 in completion percentage (second), average gain per attempt (fourth), touchdown percentage (third) and interception percentage (first). No other player can be found even among the Top 10 in all four categories.
Rodgers, with a career completion percentage of 65.74 percent, is the most accurate passer in Packers history. Brett Favre (61.42) is second.
Rodgers trails only Chad Pennington (66.05) in NFL annals. Should he perform as he has the past two seasons (68.33 and 67.21), he’ll likely supplant Pennington this year.
Since becoming a starter in 2008, Rodgers has completed at least 60 percent of his passes in 58 regular-season games (minimum 20 attempts). Only Drew Brees (64 games) has been as accurate more often in the past five years.
Average gain per attempt
Rodgers has averaged 8.13 yards per pass attempt in his career. Bart Starr (7.85) had been the Packers record holder for nearly 40 years until Rodgers surpassed him in 2010.
Since 2008, Rodgers (8.19) has been best in the league (minimum 500 attempts). Philip Rivers (8.11) is a close second.
Rodgers’ accuracy is one reason why he has been so successful. His downfield throws — an NFL-best 65 passes of 40 or more yards in the past five years — is another.
Brees has thrown more TD passes (190) over the past five seasons than Rodgers (170). But the Saints quarterback has also attempted 528 more passes.
Think touchdown percentage and Rodgers (6.52 percent) is easily No. 1. Brees (6.06) is the only other player above 6 percent (minimum 500 attempts).
No one avoids interceptions like Rodgers. His career percentage (1.73) is the lowest ever, comfortably ahead of that of Tom Brady (2.06) who is second.
No one has had more interception-free games (43) than Rodgers (minimum 20 attempts) these past five years. The turnover-averse quarterback has 10 times strung together runs of more than 100 pass attempts without an interception. He’ll start the 2013 season having not tossed one in his last 144 regular-season throws.
Rodgers’ play the past five seasons has been exemplary. During that time, he has been at the top of his and the league’s game.
Should he continue to excel, Rodgers could wind up immortalized alongside some of the greatest names in football. Six of the previous players to have held the record for highest career passer rating (Dawson, Jurgensen, Staubach, Montana, Dan Marino and Young) were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A case can be made that the other three (Anderson, Stabler and Kurt Warner) belong as well.