The Next Great QB Debate

For what seems like 20 years now, the QB debate has been between Brady and Manning. Sure, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees have snuck into conversations when looking at an individual season, but Manning and Brady in some form or another been at the top of mountain when discussing great QBs. The debate has always centered around Manning’s video game numbers against Brady’s lack of supporting offense and Super Bowl rings.

The Picture of Tom Brady...

A stud on and off the field.

Interestingly enough, there are two young stud QBs who are starting to shape the next great debate. Hell, one of them even plays for the team Manning did! Already, the debate is taking a very similar narrative to that of the Brady vs Manning debate. We are going to look at these two QBs and see if the debate is warranted.

By the way, if you didn’t know it was Andrew Luck vs Russell Wilson, you do now.

Andrew Luck

He’s happy to be here.

Rookie Year

Lets start off by looking at the respective signal caller’s rookie campaigns. As always, I love the stats used from Football Outsiders. DYAR (defense adjusted yards above replacement) offers a look at total value, while DVOA (defense adjusted value over average player) gives us a glimpse at value on a per play basis. Both of these ranks above an average play.

Andrew Luck for BodyArmor Superdrink photo by Monte Isom #monteisom

Already a damn good QB.

Andrew Luck posted a 54.1% completion percentage while throwing 23 TDs to 18 INTs, his rookie year. Pretty good numbers for a rookie thrown into an immediate head of the offense role. Luck also had a nice number of 5 rushing TDs. While these are nice numbers on their own, we need more context, and this is where the DYAR and DVOA come into play.

Luck ranked 19th with 194 DYAR and 19 with a -5.1% DVOA. Not so hot. While Luck did put up some nice numbers and lead his team to the playoffs, he was pretty much an overall league average QB for his rookie year. This isn’t a bad thing because he was a rookie against 10 year veterans at the hardest position in sports.

Now, onto Wilson. Wilson had a 64.1% completion percentage while throwing 26 TDs against 10 INTs. That is pretty impressive. Although, we must point out Luck had over 200 more attempts than Wilson. Wilson also added in 4 rushing TDs. This looks very impressive, but alas, we need to look at advanced metrics.

Wilson posted an 872 DYAR for an impressive 8th ranking and absurd 19.7% DVOA, which is good for 6th…in the entire league! Not to mention, Wilson also went to the playoffs. While Wilson was not the main guy for his offense, he was already on par for league elite efficiency.

Rookie Year Edge – Wilson, by a fair margin.

Sophomore Compaign

Andrew Luck saw his completion percentage jump to the elite company level of 60.2%. He also cut way down on his interceptions from 18 to 9, while throwing for 23 TDs again. Luck ran for about 80 more yards and added in 4 more rushing TDs. Again, pretty impressive numbers that seem to mark improvement. So onto the advanced metrics.

Andrew Luck saw some improvement in his advanced stats, as he saw in his normal ones. He now ranked 14th in DYAR with 650. His DVOA also rose to 16 with a DVOA of 4.6%. Again, Luck has shown improvement, but the league overall showed some improvement as well at the QB position. However, he is getting better and turning the ball over less. It must also be noted Luck throws the ball a ridiculous amount and is saddled with Trent fucking Richardson as a running back. Needless to say, he doesn’t have the talent Wilson has. Still, you have to be efficient. But his progress is what you look for in the 2nd year.

Lets just get this out of the way, Wilson won a Super Bowl and was pretty good in the game. This automatically gives him the edge. But, lets look at the stats to see if he improved upon his already top 10-QB-in-the-league performance.


Wilson telling Manning to have a seat.

Wilson had a 63.1% completion percentage while throwing 26 TDs to 9 INTs. Basically, he had the same exact year throwing the ball. He did rush for more yards but only added 1 rushing TD.

Wilson saw his DYAR of of 770 for a ranking 0f 12th in the league. His DVOA was 25.4% for a ranking of 8th. While he had the same season, the league got better around him. This isn’t really the worst thing, as he is still performing as a top 10 QB. Oh yeah, who also happened to win the Super Bowl.

Sophmore year winner – Wilson, by a fair margin, again.


Yeah, he is pretty good at reading a defense.

This Year

Through 3 games, Luck is completing a ridiculous 68.3% completion percentage while throwing 9 TDs and 3 INTs. He also added in a rushing TD for good measure.

His advanced stats are still climbing, and he is poised to be in top 10 territory. His DYAR is 225 for a rank of 6. His DVOA is 13.4 for a ranking of 11. Again, Luck has improved every year while unquestionably being the only reliable option on offense. This is what you look for in a superstar. It took him 3 years, but he is now in the top 10 and has shown signs of getting better and better.

Wilson is also passing for a ridiculous 69% completion percentage. Throwing for 6 TDs and 1 INT while not yet running for a TD.

Russell Wilson

Great, Wilson is catching passes now.

His DYAR is 103, falling to 16th. And his DVOA 5.2% falling him all the way to 18th. While he has been good at face value, his advanced metrics say he has falling to the middle of the pack so far.

This year leader: Luck.

Colts QB Andrew Luck avoids LB Perry Riley and looks to throw.

So, Who is the Winner?

As of right now, Wilson owns this debate. He has had the better numbers and has won a Super Bowl. However, Luck is showing a pattern of getting better and better every year. I have a striking feeling Luck may even the playing field by years end or by next year. This is going to be awesome going forward. One thing is for sure, we are all winners being able to watch the next 2 Great Quarterbacks.

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