Thursday, November 14, 2019

Highest NFL Passer Rating, Without the Limits

By John Turney
Most fans know the NFL passer rating is flawed. While there isn't a need to replace it, it's still been imperfect since the beginning. It was never meant to be a single-game statistic, though, but at some point the NFL began using it that way.

The formula was meant to even out or make the four major passing statistics "about even" according to Former Pro Football Hall of Fame executive Don Smith who headed the committee in 1972 that developed the formula.

The four major categories were completion percentage, average gain per attempt, touchdown percentage and interception percentage.

Those categories were also given a minimum and a maximum.

Those were for completion percentage—min = 30.0% and max = 77.5%
Average gain—min = 3.0 and max = 12.50
Touchdown percentage—min = 0.0%  and  max = 11.9%
Interception percentage—min = 0.0 and max = 9.5%

So, if a passer maxes out on all for he gets the "perfect"rating of 158.3.

For players with 15 or more passing attempts, there are current 51 performances of 158.3.

However, when one takes out the limits, the list changes significantly. So, we did that. Hat tip to Pro Football for the inital list. We then removed the limits and listed them under "Actual" rating.

The bolded players have the 158.3 max rating. The others, have a rating of less than 158.3 but
with the limits removed they surpass many of the perfect ratings.

Norm Van Brocklin has the highest for 15 or more attempts
Lamar Jackson has the highest for 20 or more attempts
Aaron Rodgers has the best 'unlimited' passer rating for 30 or more attempts

Here is the top 99 passer ratings for players with 15 or more attempts in a game.


  1. This is why I prefer AY/A or ANY/A. Their only limit is the length of the football field. After spending so many years wasting my time studying these things, I think I'd probably prefer plain NY/A to passer rating.

  2. I remember that Johnny Unitas game vs the Falcons in '67.

  3. Is there an online passer rating calculator without the limits?
    Be fun to see what the full season / career ratings might be without those limits imposed.