Is Ryan Tannehill Better Than Andrew Luck?

It’s my biggest pet peeve in all of sports. And for a guy that has a catalog of pet peeves, that’s saying a lot. Driving slow in the left lane, not saying please and thank you, and quarterbacks being measured by wins and losses – these are some of the world’s great mysteries.

Wins and losses are the bottom line in the NFL, and I’m fine with that when evaluating teams. But if you’re going to evaluate a player solely on the merits of his individual play, you should consider all the circumstances surrounding said individual before coming to a final conclusion.

At the very least, all I ask is that every player is held to the same standard.

Thumbs up for the best white quarterback from the 2012 draft class


If each player in the NFL were faceless and was simply known as “quarterback X, Y or Z,” perceptions would be cast aside and bias would go out the window.

The Ryan Tannehill vs. any other quarterback debate has waged on, on every single platform of Miami Dolphins media.

Andrew Luck, by comparison, is unanimously thought of as an elite quarterback across all league circles while Tannehill is consistently in the category of, “players that need to prove something.”

It’s short-sighted, it’s bias and, frankly, it’s just flat out lazy.

Andrew Luck does a lot of things very well. He’s a good quarterback and I would love to have him as my guy if I were starting a team. This post isn’t meant to say that he’s a terrible quarterback.

Rather, I want to debunk the idea that he’s some miracle worker whose stats only suffer because of his surrounding talent. If you want to talk about his offensive line and poor defense, the same thing sure as hell better apply to Ryan Tannehill over the course of their careers.

Ryan Tannehill and Andrew Luck have the exact same career passer rating. 85.3, down to the fraction.

So a Colts (or ESPN or whichever media outlet wants to feed into the golden boy narrative) enthusiast will argue that he has willed the Colts to the playoffs in three out of four seasons. He has taken his team, against impossible odds, to the tournament with a chance to win it all.

And he’s put forth some valiant efforts in those playoffs. His comeback victory vs. the Chiefs in 2013 was an all-time classic performance. The 2014 upset over the Broncos saw him play a hell of a ball game.

But he’s also been destroyed by the Patriots the two times he visited in the post-season, looking very Miami Dolphin like in those two meetings.

My point that I will end on, is that he has padded his stats and win total against very bad competition.

My argument is that if the Colts and Dolphins swapped divisions, Ryan Tannehill would be the miracle worker willing his team to division titles while Andrew Luck would simply be second fiddle to Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

Remember the 85.3 passer ratings shared by each? Well let’s consider Andrew Luck’s stats against the AFC South and the AFC East divisions respectfully.

Andrew Luck’s career stats vs. the AFC South

395 completions, 647 attempts, 4,825 yards, 34 TDs, 13 INTs, 93.2 passer rating

In those 19 games, the Colts have 17 wins and 2 losses

Andrew Luck’s career against AFC East (exclude Miami)

139 completions 256 attempts, 1,650 yards 8 TDs, 12 INTs, 65.1 passer rating

In those 6 games, the Colts have 1 win and 5 losses.

In 2014 when he “made the leap,” his numbers against the AFC South were as such:

162 completions, 206 attempts, 1,733 yards, 16 TDs, 3 INTs, 115.2 passer rating and a 6-0 W-L record.

Things change when Luck and the Colts leave the friendly confines of the AFC South.


Good quarterbacks beat down and bad competition. It’d be naïve to not give credit to Luck for carving up the Texans, Jaguars and Titans.

But isn’t it safe to say that the bad offensive line he has had (much like the one Tannehill has always had) would’ve struggled against the Bills, Jets and Patriots? They were horrendous in the six times they did meet, imagine what that would look like extrapolated over the course of 19 games like it is against the AFC South.

What kind of perspective does that add to the equal passer rating metric?

Stop trusting what ESPN tells you when it comes to quarterbacks.

Or anything ESPN says, really.

Follow me on Twitter @Travis_writes for more truths.


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