In 2001, Mark McCormack and IMG was presented an interesting proposal from a well-known sports psychologist, Flip Flippen, with whom IMG had previously discussed leadership development concepts. Flippen’s plan called for overhauling the traditional quarterback rating with a new quarterback ranking system. The supporting document indicates that Mark McCormack recommended review of the proposal and “consider whether IMG should co-develop [the concept] and sell it like we do the (Sony) World Golf Rankings.”
The opportunity that McCormack and his staff was tasked with considering was whether the existing quarterback rating system was outdated. Did the old measurements reflect the new nature of the game? Was it fair to use the existing ranking system in contract negotiations? Or had the existing ranking system run its course, hence limiting the ability of quality quarterbacks to get paid their true market value?
What was the Flippen model? Its aim was to reshape the traditional view of passer rating into a rating system that was more comprehensive. It looked to provide a situational analysis of a quarterback, enabling the model to better explain which players perform best under certain conditions. Through predictive modeling the proposal attempted to assign value to plays weighted based on situation and results, which was far different from the existing passer rating system.
With clients such as Peyton Manning, and later his brother Eli, IMG, McCormack and their head football agent Tom Condon had potential interest in a new system to more positively reflect the true value for their quarterback clients’ performance.
It is unknown, based on current archival searches, whether IMG, McCormack and Condon fully endorsed this proposal or tried to influence NFL executives into adopting the Flippen model. However, it should be noted that in 2011 the NFL’s Passer Rating System was abandoned, and a new model called the QBR became widely accepted as the new way to evaluate quarterbacks.