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Analytics Prove Broncos' Russell Wilson is an Elite Top-5 QB

Don't fall for the Russell Wilson haters.
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Analysts and fans are a curious bunch when it comes to Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson. Whether they're trying to create buzz or perhaps they're just a scorned or jealous fan, they attempt to paint the picture that Wilson is not an elite quarterback. 

You've heard the argument: Wilson's success was all due to Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks' defensive prowess. He had it easy and reality is going to come crashing down hard around the Broncos' ears in 2022. 

Don’t fall for the spin. This nonsense is based only on opinion. The facts tell the true story.

Based on factual information, Wilson's quality is quite simply discerned. NFL stats are fact, no matter what Mark Twain might have said about statistics. 

A stat is a record of a factual event. For example, a running back takes a handoff and runs for four yards. That is a fact. Simple math is a factual representation of numbers. There are many unbendable mathematical laws.

Based on that, I have taken every qualifying quarterback’s major statistics since 1960 (NFL and AFL) and adjusted those stats for era. By taking the mean (simple math) of all of these stats for a season, and also two years prior and two years after, we can see a five-year mean for quarterbacking.

Comparing a specific quarterback's season to that mean will indicate how good or bad he is, relative to the era, for each statistic and across each category fairly. We then take that difference and use simple addition across each statistical category to create a composite score. 

With that arithmetic done, every quarterback can be compared across eras and by individual seasons without any bias due to how the NFL game has evolved since its inception. 

This analysis also provides a comparison to all quarterbacks over the past three, four, five, or however many seasons. When looking at the average score of quarterbacks who played at least four of the past five seasons, the top-five in order are Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Russell Wilson. 

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In this scenario, Derek Carr ranks 15th. By including all quarterbacks, regardless of the number of seasons played in the past five, the top-five order doesn’t change, but it does include Justin Herbert. He is ranked sixth right behind Wilson. Carr then gets pushed to 21st.

By looking at just the last four seasons, Wilson moves into the top-four, surpassing Brady. Mahomes is definitely the top quarterback, by a significant margin, but the separation between the rest of the top-five is minimal. Wilson is definitely elite and cannot be separated from the other top quarterbacks.

If numbers aren’t your game and you are only concerned with winning the Super Bowl, it makes little difference. Brady is obviously the top dog in this category, but Mahomes, Brees, Rodgers, and Wilson each have won a World Championship on their respective resumes. 

There is little separation among the top quarterbacks and all should be considered in this discussion for elite status. Any talk about how Wilson has been carried by his team or that he isn’t a top quarterback is hogwash. 

Bottom Line

Opinions are fun and can create interesting arguments, but when passion is removed and the numbers are all that remain, we can see the truth. Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and second only to Mahomes in the AFC West.


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