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Truth in numbers

I hate hearing about a quarterback’s passer rating. Hearing that Joe Schlabotnik’s is 96.3 means absolutely nothing to me because there’s no context for it.

Contrast baseball’s “batting average” which makes sense: It goes from zero to 1.000. Meanwhile, a perfect NFL passer rating is 158.3 (in college it’s 1261.6). Huh?

Sure, there’s a detailed formula for calculating it — five of them, actually — and I’m sure the math is solid, but the final result doesn’t have a connection to reality. There’s no context. At least in baseball you can say that a guy who bats .500 gets a hit 50 percent of the time — twice as often as a guy who bats only .250.