The Worst Rookie QB Seasons Since 1980

The Worst Rookie QB Seasons Since 1980

The Worst Rookie QB Seasons Since 1980

The Worst Rookie QB Seasons Since 1980

Rookie QB  : Football fans have witnessed some historically good debut seasons from rookie quarterbacks over the past few years. Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson turned in two of the best four rookie campaigns in NFL history by passer rating in 2012. Marcus Mariota made the top 10 by that metric last year, which also saw Jameis Winston appear in the Pro Bowl (albeit after a record number of QBs dropped out due to the Super Bowl, fatigue or “injuries”).

Not every first-year signal caller takes the NFL by storm, though. Some rookies are thrown into the fire and emerge deeply scarred. PointAfter, a sports visualization site that’s part of the Graphiq network, set out to determine the worst passing seasons by rookie quarterbacks since 1980. That year marked the dawn of the decade when throwing the ball became many teams’ preferred method of attack, after the rushing mentality of “three yards and a cloud of dust” had previously pervaded the league.

Each player is ranked in reverse order of their passer rating during their first NFL regular season. Several Hall of Fame quarterbacks appear in this article, as they used their rough inaugural campaigns as valuable learning experiences. Others, such as the infamous bust who earned the No. 1 spot on the list, were simply too broken and battered beyond repair.

Note: Rookies must have thrown at least 160 passes to qualify. Ties were broken by ranking the quarterback with fewer yards as the worse season.

Ranking Red Zone Quarterbacks from Best to Worst

Any quarterback worthy of a starting job in the NFL knows how important ball security is. The need to avoid turnovers only intensifies as the offense gets into the red zone.

Which field generals are at their best inside the 20-yard line? PointAfter, a sports visualization site that’s part of the Graphiq network, looked back at the 2015 season to see which passers excelled in the most critical area of the field. To do this, we turned to Pro-Football-Reference and examined all quarterbacks who had at least 25 red zone pass attempts on the year, then ranked them by passer rating. Passer rating takes into account completions, attempts, yards, touchdowns and interceptions and assigns a score on a scale from 0 to 158.3.

It’s important to keep in mind that passer rating is limited in its evaluation of quarterbacks. It does not take into account rushing stats or fumbles, which would both factor into a player’s effectiveness in the red zone. Further, because we’re only looking at pass attempts inside the 20-yard line, factoring in a quarterback’s passing yards totals can be misleading, since they’re operating with limited space.

Still, relying on passer rating in this context shows which players succeed in avoiding momentum-killing incompletions and catastrophic interceptions near the goal line.

There were 36 quarterbacks who attempted at least 25 red zone pass attempts last season, though three — Peyton Manning, Matt Hasselbeck and Johnny Manziel — are not on active rosters. Manning and Hasselbeck both retired, while Manziel is currently a free agent. We’ll count down the remaining players from No. 33 to No. 1. Of that group, nine signal-callers had passer ratings over 100, including one surprising player who led the pack with a rating of over 120.

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