For Pete's Sake

Chiefs are Super Bowl contenders because of ‘Mother of All Stats,’ says writer

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith congratulated tight end Travis Kelce after a touchdown on Monday.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith congratulated tight end Travis Kelce after a touchdown on Monday.

There was quite a bit of angst after the Chiefs’ 29-19 win over the Broncos on Monday night. Imagine the mood had the Chiefs lost.

Aesthetically, the game wasn’t beautiful, even if the outcome was what the Chiefs needed to improve to 6-2 on the season. Fans were fretting about a lot of things about the Chiefs, particularly the rush defense. However, here is a bit of good news, and it comes from the passing game.

The Washington Post, citing the “Mother of All Stats,” believes the Chiefs are still Super Bowl contenders. This is from Neil Greenberg’s story:

One of the most reliable indicators for separating the title contenders and pretenders is by looking at passer rating differential — the difference between a team’s passer rating and the collective rating of the team’s opposing quarterbacks. Its correlation to success led football stathead Kerry Byrne to dub it the “Mother of All Stats” during the 2012 Pro Football Researchers Association biennial meeting hosted by NFL Films. Since 2002, 22 of the past 30 Super Bowl participants had a passer rating differential among the top five best in the league, including 10 of the past 15 winners.

The Chiefs are No. 1 in the league in this statistic by a country mile.

Greenberg wrote this story before Monday’s game, in which Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith saw his quarterback rating for the season drop from 120.5 to 115.4. However, thanks to a big game from Justin Houston and the Chiefs defense, as well as a bunch of errant throws by Denver’s Trevor Siemian, opposing quarterbacks now have an 82.9 rating against Kansas City in 2017. That fell from 88.5 going into Monday’s game.

So, the math shows us that the passer rating differential* for the Chiefs is plus 32.5. That may not seem like a big number, but the Post story says that since 2002, the average of a Super Bowl champion is 18.94. The Super Bowl loser’s number: 18.89.

*I can’t emphasize enough that this is called the “Mother of All Stats,” because I love the name

The Chiefs’ number this season is well ahead of the next four teams on the list: Seahawks (23.2), Saints (22.4), Jaguars (21.8) and Bills (18.6).

The Chiefs took their fourth straight victory over the Denver Broncos, 29-19, at Arrowhead Stadium.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff