Stats Shootout: Has ESPN Outplayed the NFL?

More and more these days, sportscasters toss out endless statistics. So, my curiosity was finally piqued enough to dig in and understand how quarterbacks were ranked — after all, it’s the high frenzy of football season. I learned that what stat you hear depends on which network you are watching. ESPN uses QBR and they don’t disclose the algorithm. They developed this model to “improve” on the NFL’s Passer Rating and provide a more complete assessment of a quarterback’s performance.


Without being able to directly compare the formulas, I took the path of seeing what relationship might exist based on touchdowns per game (TD/game) and interceptions per game (INT/game). This might provide some insights beyond directly comparing rankings for each quarterback. I built a simple algorithm in Alteryx to clean up and join data from ESPN and NFL, and then to build the clusters.  A shot of the workflow is below the viz and you can download the Alteryx workbook here with the Excel source. Excelsior!

Has ESPN Outplayed the NFL-Alteryx Workflow