Quarterback Wins Are Not A Thing

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is entering his 12th season in the NFL.  He's been the team's starter since 2008, helped the team win a Super Bowl in 2010 and has been league MVP twice since then.  The Packers have won a lot of games during Rodgers' time with the team and Rodgers has exactly zero wins to his credit.  

That's because NFL quarterbacks don't have an official win/loss record.  Fans and media can tabulate how many games a team has won with a specific quarterback, but wins and losses isn't a stat that teams keep or that you regularly see in most of the popular spots to look for stats.  This topic has been debated for decades and with the advent of social media and all of the exposure that NFL media get, quarterbacks, more than ever before, are being held responsible for not winning a Super Bowl.  On the flip side, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is revered as one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game because he has won four during his career.  Brady is certainly part of that conversation, but he also has the numbers to support it.

With the Packers having fallen short since winning it all in 2010, and in dramatic fashion in 2014, the rumblings about Rodgers' ability to win playoff games and get the Packers to a Super Bowl is getting louder as the years go on.  Last season, Rodgers wasn't as effective as he has been in the past and faced more criticism than usual.  The Packers defense stepped up and kept the team in many games while the offense struggled and sputtered.  Still, Rodgers is given more credit for the team's success and nearly pulling off a miracle win at Arizona in the divisional round of the playoffs.  

There are 10 other players on the field and of all sports, football is the consummate team sport.  A quarterback can't snap a ball to himself.  He can take the snap and run in on his own, but at least one other player touches the ball on each play.  In the other major sports, it's possible for teams to score with just one player handling the ball on a single play.  Simply stated, quarterbacks need their pass catchers.  This very offseason, we're disussing the possibility that the Packers may keep seven receivers on their roster and that they signed an outside free agent tight end.  If Green Bay wins, Rodgers may be a huge part of it, but he's never the entire story.  If they lose, there can surely be a trace to other reasons besides QB1.

It's time that we stop counting quarterback wins and losses to define their career or discuss their success. 

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (22)

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Tundraboy's picture

June 13, 2016 at 06:33 am

Simply and well stated.

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Handsback's picture

June 13, 2016 at 06:42 am

If you use SB wins as the gold standard for QBs, then Fran Tarkenton, Jim Kelly, and Dan Marino are complete flops......but they are all in the HOF. Hard to keep a gold standard when there are so many exceptions. If you want to use wins, then why are Joe Namath and Sonny Jurgenson in the HOF since neither won majority of their games.
As Jason points out football is a team sport, and QB may be the most important position..it's not the only one that dictates the game's outcome. It was obvious to all that Sonny Jurgenson was a great QB in his day. It's the same w/ Rodgers, but now some are saying if he's soooo good where are the multiple SBs like Brady. I read stuff like that and shake my head. IF and this is a big IF you could say there's one QB playing today that is capable of taking a team to three consecutive SBs and winning them, who would it be? I think there's only one, Mr. Rodgers.

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RCPackerFan's picture

June 13, 2016 at 07:23 am

My problem with stats in general is they are often used to make ones point when discussing how great a player is.

For example the one that has been going around lately due to Colin Cowherd has been the 4th Quarter comeback wins to essentially prove how 'clutch' the QB is. Rodgers doesn't have as many as Tony Romo which is what the comparison was made.

But there is more then what goes into that stat. For example how many times has Rodgers given his team the lead to only let his defense give it up. Another example of that was last year in Arizona in the playoffs. Rodgers made 2 incredible throws to drive 90 yards to tie the game up with no time left in the 4th Quarter. To only have his defense blow the game in OT and Rodgers never got another chance to touch the ball.

Stats are a nice thing to have. But there is way more to it then the stat itself.
Wins should be viewed as TEAM Wins, not QB wins. QB wins are a great stat for the player after they retire. You can go back and look at their career and see how many wins they were apart of. But when they are playing, Wins should be all about the team.

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dobber's picture

June 13, 2016 at 08:47 am

"For example the one that has been going around lately due to Colin Cowherd has been the 4th Quarter comeback wins to essentially prove how 'clutch' the QB is. Rodgers doesn't have as many as Tony Romo which is what the comparison was made."

I wonder what the average margin of victory is for the Packers under ARod as compared to Dallas under Romo? If you're leading by 10+ points at the end of the 3rd quarter far more often, it's not likely that you're going to have as many "comeback wins".

Another example of the "it's early June, how do we stir up conversation?" approach, and the over-statification of football to accomplish that end.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 13, 2016 at 07:31 am

The W/L record (plus playoff and SB records) are a good stat to use when discussing the merits of a GM. Not so much for an individual player.

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NickPerry's picture

June 13, 2016 at 07:32 am

I remember watching a game last season where Rodgers road record against winning teams was brought up. I was surprised it was as bad as it was, he's 2-12 including last seasons playoffs since December 16, 2012. I found the link below where he was 0-8 at the time it was written so after last season he's 2-12.

http://rebrn.com/re/aaron-rodgers-hasnt-beaten-a-team-with-a-winning-rec...

Rodgers is GREAT, but he's only as great as the pieces around him. He can lift those "Average Players" to have better stats than their talent might suggest. I mean common, he made Boykin into a 50 reception receiver. How many times have we saw the Packers be unable to keep the lead in the 4th quarter? How many times have we watched MM play not to lose instead of playing to win? How many times have we watched Capers play a prevent defense that prevents NOTHING!

I think DesertPackFan actually made an excellent point, the Packers have lost a lot of great players, especially of the defensive side of the ball and been slow to replace them. Every year the Packers depend on young players to contribute, this year will be no different. At the end of the day Rodgers will get most of the blame or praise, it seems it will always be that way.

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Tundraboy's picture

June 13, 2016 at 02:06 pm

"How many times have we saw the Packers be unable to keep the lead in the 4th quarter? How many times have we watched MM play not to lose instead of playing to win? How many times have we watched Capers play a prevent defense that prevents NOTHING!"

Excellent points NP, and an even better way of saying it.

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NickPerry's picture

June 14, 2016 at 05:42 am

Thanks Tundraboy. Notice everytime a team is about to try and score with 2 minutes left down behind by 4 it's the QB's record? Takes 53 to win and to lose.

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MarkinMadison's picture

June 13, 2016 at 07:37 am

At this point I think the MVP is probably the gold standard that guys in the future will use to judge QBs they never saw, although nobody give MVPs to guys on losing teams. Peyton Manning won NFL MVP twice before he won his first Super Bowl. He's lost as many Super Bowls as he's won. His final Super Bowl winning season in Denver is universally considered to be his worst season as a player. He easily could be 1-2 in Super Bowls and out of the game. But he is a 5-time MVP winner and is easily in the discussion for greatest of all time.

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dobber's picture

June 13, 2016 at 08:43 am

"Only the media uses qb wins as a stat."

It's another example of the "baseball-ification" of football...stat creep, if you prefer. For some reason, they've decided that a QB is akin to a starting pitcher in baseball in terms of how they impact the game. I don't deny that the QB is the most important player on the field for the offensive unit, but they can be denied the opportunity to impact a play based on what the defense does or based on the play call (a run, for example). A pitcher is throwing the ball to a hitter and playing a role on essentially every defensive play in baseball...the starting pitcher happens to do so more than pitchers out of the pen. Football teams win or lose for any number of reasons that may not reflect the play of a particular QB.

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marpag1's picture

June 13, 2016 at 12:19 pm

You disparage the use of "QB wins" as a stat, and rightly so. And yet you are clearly judging Rodgers by that very stat. Just read what you wrote. You immediately start talking about how a QB needs to "carry the team." You say, "HE needs to do that." You didn't say "the team needs to do it" .... You said, "HE."

Sounds like you're judging by "QB wins" after all.

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Ferrari Driver's picture

June 13, 2016 at 08:58 am

I hate it when I hear TV commentators say things such as "...among the greatest until he wins at least two Super Bowls",etc.

Football is the ultimate team sport involving offensive players, defensive players, special teamers, coaches, and general manager.

IMO, one of the old time better QB's is Archie Manning who I think could have been mentioned among the greatest, but was stuck on a New Orleans Saints team for 10 years that was dreadful. He was literally beat to hell and ran for his life behind center.

Consider Archie's luck and that of Trend Dilfer, the consummate "also ran" who has a Super Bowl ring.

Judging QB talent accurately is impossible with all the variables involved. I've been a life long fan and can only get a feel for those who can set themselves apart from the others including guys like Favre, Unitas, Rodgers, Montana, P. Manning, Brady, and a select few others.

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Tundraboy's picture

June 13, 2016 at 10:12 am

See below

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Tundraboy's picture

June 13, 2016 at 09:47 am

Far too complex to use any one or even group of stats to come to any conclusion. . Stats reflect ability to a degree but because its a team game are dangerous to use. How's this. To me its the total package, total in the sense of individual talent and proven ability to raise a team to a much higher level of play. That is why, along with flamboyance, that Namath and Tarkenton are HOF QBs.

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Tundraboy's picture

June 13, 2016 at 02:37 pm

"He needs another 2010 postseason - type performance... otherwise that year is going to look like an outlier."

I agree on the performance, but it does not have to end in a SB. He does need to have some more dominant postseason performances than he has had in recent years. Unlike you I think he will have several to come.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

June 13, 2016 at 11:07 am

I personally love me some Cow, but despite what he says, you are the sole reason Rodgers is giving up dairy.

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TarynsEyes's picture

June 13, 2016 at 11:55 am

I can only compare Rodgers to Clayton Kershaw in that no one at so many times gets far less the help from teammates because of low output on both sides of the ball not forgetting to mention the failed decisions of coach/manager.

The wins and losses are simply a record of how many games played in with the end result being noted. The difference is the pitcher gets more the chance of a no decision where the QB gets tagged regardless. But in both sports, seeing is knowing if a win or loss is because of either and neither of these two deserve many of the losses attached to their team records.

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Teflon Ted's picture

June 13, 2016 at 12:39 pm

Brandon effing Bostick!! That is all!!

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marpag1's picture

June 13, 2016 at 03:41 pm

Totally agree. This "QB wins" thing - or worse yet "QB playoff wins" or worst of all, "QB Super Bowl wins" - has been driving me batty for years. It's sheer nonsense. It's promoted by lame media types who never knew football well enough to judge a players quality of play. They're only smart enough to see the numbers on the scoreboard.

Here are a few HALL OF FAMERS who never won a superbowl (there are many others):

Dick Butkus, Earl Campbell, Eric Dickerson, Dan Dierdorf, Dan Fouts, John Hannah, Jim Kelly, Steve Largent, James Lofton, Dan Marino, Bruce Matthews, Randall McDaniel, Anthony Munoz, Ozzie Newsome, Alan Page, John Randle, Barry Sanders, Bruce Smith, Gale Sayers, OJ Simpson, Deacon Jones, Fran Tarkenton.

Yeah... I guess Butkus sucked because he didn't have enough "Middle linebacker wins." And Barry Freakin' Sanders "couldn't win the big one." What a bunch of slackers....

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Ferrari Driver's picture

June 15, 2016 at 09:02 pm

Good points; I'll give you a thumbs up!

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Paul Griese's picture

June 13, 2016 at 01:46 pm

Kyle Orton . Discuss....

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Since'61's picture

June 13, 2016 at 01:54 pm

Good QB play is essential to winning. Just compare the Packers record since 1992 when Favre started to play for GB until now with the Packers record in the 70s and 80s. However, even a great QB needs a solid supporting cast around him. Again, look back at the Lynn Dickey days. He was good enough to win but the team around was bereft of talent except for James Lofton. Coaching helps also, since Favre would not likely have evolved into a great QB without Holmgren and going back to Bart Starr his career was going no where until Lombardi was hired by the Packers. As has been stated football is a team sport from the GM, the coaches and the players. All must come together to win an SB which is why it is difficult to win SBs even with HOF QBs. Thanks, Since '61

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