Luck is highest-impact QB

Weeden, Sanchez among quarterbacks who hurt their teams the most

Updated: October 11, 2012, 1:12 PM ET
By Peter Keating | ESPN the Magazine
Andrew LuckAP Photo/Michael ConroyAndrew Luck helps his team the most, but which QB hurts his team the most?

You ever notice how teams like to pretend that quarterbacks don't matter as much as they really do? NFL coaches love to talk about how their squads have to establish a ground game, or stop the run, or make sure they account for a particular running back or receiver ... but they never just come out and say, "Our big superstar quarterback just has to keep bombing away until we bury the other guys."

The truth is, of course, that quarterback skill is nearly synonymous with team achievement. In matchups since 2008, the team with the higher Total Quarterback Rating has won a staggering 85 percent of games, according to ESPN Stats & Information. And in the early going in 2012, there have been a bunch of quarterbacks with extreme influence on their teams, as well as some interesting exceptions to the rule -- quarterbacks who stand apart from their offense. Who has made the biggest impact on his team, for better or worse? The answer is Andrew Luck.

Peter Keating is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, where he covers investigative and statistical subjects. He started writing "The Biz," a column looking at sports business from the fan's point of view, in 1999. He also coordinates the Magazine's annual "Ultimate Standings" project, which ranks all pro franchises according to how much they give back to fans. His work on concussions in football has earned awards from the Deadline Club, the New York Press Club and the Center for the Study of Sport in Society.