HOW THE MEARS RATING SYSTEM WORKS AND WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT!
By Super Scout Max Emfinger
Recruiting Coordinator, North Texas, 1972-73, Denton, TX
Football Super Scout, Dallas Cowboys, 1975-76, Dallas, TX
Founder of MEARS PLAYER RATING SYSTEM, 1977, Dallas, TX
Founder of First HS Football Recruiting Service, 1979, Houston, TX
Founder of First Super Select Baseball Team, 1990, Houston, TX
Founder of First 7on7 National Championship, 2001, Houston, TX
Founder of HS All-American Bowl Game, 2005, Shreveport, LA
Founder of Super Elite Top Gun Combine, 2007, Honolulu, HI
Super Scout, Lestini Free Agent Combine, 2013, Mobile, AL
THIS IS NOT THE FIRST GOLD, BLUE, AND RED RATING SYSTEM!
About Forty Years Ago, in 1975, when I was a Talent Scout with the Dallas Cowboys, my Boss, Gil Brandt, invited me to Follow him down the hallway where we went into a Conference Room where Head Football Coach Tom Landry and Defensive Coordinator Ernie Stautner were waiting to Talk to me. “Max, we want you To Coordinate a Dallas Cowboys Team Project for us,” said Coach Landry. “We want you To Coordinate the Rating and Ranking of every Active NFL Player and then Color-Code every player in the NFL as to their Rating and Ranking.”
GOLD = NFL All-Pro Player
BLUE = NFL Future All-Pro or Past All-Pro Player
RED = Average NFL Player
GREEN = Rookie or Second Year Player in League
NOTE: A huge“Flip-Chart” was developed with each NFL Team. Then, a Color-Coded Business-Card with Name, Height, Weight, and Forty for each NFL Player placed in the “Flip-Chart” sleeve for each position on the football field for both the Teams on Offense and Defense of each NFL Team. The Late Legendary Head Coach Tom Landry and The Late Legendary Defensive Coordinator Ernie Stautner used this First Color-Coded Rating System as info in their weekly Scouting Report in preparation for their next game of the Season. In 1975, there were 28 NFL Teams and each Team had around 50 Players; so I evaluated around 1,400 Players. It took me about three weeks, but the Flip-Chart was ready before The Fourth Game Against the New York Giants.
Hall of Famers: Coach Tom Landry, First Super Scout Gil Brandt, and Dallas Cowboys Owner Tex Schramm
My job with the Dallas Cowboys was to Evaluate, Rate, and Rank College Football Players for the NFL Draft. My boss, Gil Brandt, also asked me to Evaluate, Rate, and Rank all of the Top Texas High School Football Players for the 1976 Football Recruiting Season and I made a Texas Top 100 Recruiting List to give to all of the College Football Coaches.
Then when Coach Landry asked me to Evaluate, Rate, Rank, and Color-Code Every Football Player in the NFL, I was probably the First and Last Talent Scout on the Planet who was asked to Evaluate High School, College, and Professional NFL Football Players in the same Football Season. After finishing this Huge Dallas Cowboys Scouting Project, Coach Landry and Coach Stautner gave me the Title of Super Scout: “Coach Stautner, I think we have us a Real Super Scout!”
DEVELOPING THE MEARS FOOTBALL RATING SYSTEM
The MEARS RATING SYSTEM, or a similar type Rating System, is very important for the NFL Scouts, and the NFL Scouting Combine is the first time that Really “Accurate Measurables” are recorded on the NFL Players Before The NFL Scouting Combine. It’s easy to say someone can run a 4.4 or a 4.3 Forty, but before an Accurate Hand-Held Timing by a Professional Talent Scout or either by a slower, but Accurate Laser Timing is done, most Forty Times are less than Accurate.
Technique is also very important, and that is why College Football Players, before the Annual NFL Scouting Combine and before entering the NFL Draft, will hire a Sports Trainer to train them and teach them how to do a proper Vertical Jump, Pro-Agility Shuttle, and a Standing Broad Jump.
You can get a very good idea about a High School Football Player if he participates in a Legitimate Super Football Combine, but many High School Football Players do not get a chance to participate in Super Combines. If a High School Player is being recruited by 40 D-1 Schools, then you have to assume that he is an Outstanding Football Player, but how can you give him a MEARS RATING if he does not have Valid and Accurate Measurables? The answer is Very Simple! If you have some of his Speed Measurables, you can approximate his other Speed Measurables based upon his Game Film Evaluation or Actual Game Evaluation, giving him the Maximum Points in most of his Speed Measurables for his position.
Most High School and College Football Players don’t even know what their Measurables are and you would think that they would, but they don’t. Many times, a High School Football Player or College Football Player will list what he thinks is his best Forty Time as a 4.8 and then twenty minutes later runs a 4.6 Forty or better. Also, you must keep in mind that with a little instruction and training, most High School and College Football Players can improve their Speed Measurables by Two and Three Tenths of a Second and can improve on their Distance Measurables by as much as Six to Eight Inches. Some of this Information may not mean as much to you as other parts, but all Football Players and Coaches still need to understand How and Why the MEARS RATING SYSTEM was Developed and how it Evolved over the Years.
Before I Started Using my original MEARS RATING SYSTEM, I decided that it needed a little Tweaking and so I called one of my old Coaching Friends, The Legendary and long-time Strength Coach and Genius, Boyd Epley. Before Coach Epley (In The Photo Below) was hired by Legendary, Nebraska Cornhuskers Head Coach and Athletic Director Bob Devaney in September 1969, as The Nebraska Strength and Conditioning Coach, College Football Teams in America did not have Strength and Conditioning Coaches and this type of coach was non-existent.
Coach Boyd Epley
For years it had existed largely as an underground movement at only a handful of schools like a Knights Templar-esque Secret Society, but Coach Epley changed all of that and he is still considered today to be the Father and Founder of the new Strength and Training methods that we now use today. Coach Epley was the one person that I wanted to help me with my Tweak. In 1978, Coach Epley formed the National Strength And Conditioning Association and he is still their Director.
“Max, we have got to set a Standard for every Position for every Set of Measurable that we test at a Super Combine,” said Coach Epley. Then we worked on a Set of Standards for each position. For Example: “The Standard for an Offensive Tackle, has always been 6-5 and 275 for Forty Years. The Players are always going to get Bigger, Stronger, and Faster, but we don’t need to keep changing the Medium Standard, said Coach Epley. Our MEARS RATINGS will always continue to get Higher as the Players will achieve to get Bigger, Stronger, and Faster.” Recently, I Tweaked the OT Height to 6-4.
This Formula is based on each individual positions and is based on a MEDIUM STANDARD for that position for every test or Measurable in a Super Combine. So, each position has a standard for each test and Measurable. A player will get plus points for every tenth of a second over the position standard, but a maximum of 400 points. Example: Trent Williams ran a 4.79 Forty and the standard for an Offensive Lineman is 5.3, he received Maximum 400 points.
Forty-Yard Dash (40) is a test of raw speed, stamina, and explosiveness. It is a test of pure speed from Point A to Point B. Technique is also very important. This is a very good test of measure for all skill players who may have to run 40-yards in a game. The Original Running Back standard was a 4.6 Forty, but many Great Running Backs are too “Banged-Up” at the End of the Season, so I Recently Changed the Standard to 4.7. Running Backs get ten points per each tenth over the standard. Example: In the 2010 NFL Super Combine, Trindon Holliday ran a 4.21 Forty and got 400 points; while our 2013 Game MVP Josh Cleveland ran a 4.29 Forty and he also received 400-points.
Patrick Peterson (6-0, 219, 4.31) of LSU was a Real Super Combine Freak. There may have never been a player who had tested as well at every Measurable, up to 2011, for his position as Peterson was able to do at the 2011 NFL Super Combine. First of all, how many Cover Cornerbacks have ever weighed-in at 219 pounds?
Most Cornerbacks are streamlined to be fast, quick, and light. So then when he ran a 4.31 Forty and did a 4.07 Pro-Agility Shuttle, you will have to admit that he’s a Super Combine Freak. Then Peterson did a 38-inch Vertical Jump; did a 126 Standing Broad Jump; and 15 Reps of 225 on the Bench Press, and set a World Record at the Time with a 2,048 MEARS RATING. Later, in the 2011 NFL Super Combine, Cam Newton broke Patterson’s MEARS WORLD RECORD with a 2,070 MEARS RATING. Jake Locker Recorded a 2,057 MEARS RATING. Under 2016 Standards, Peterson would have Recorded a 2,418 MEARS RATING and Newton an Incredible 2,492 MEARS RATING at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine.
Before the 2012 Scouting Combine, only two Linebackers had ever Recorded a 2,000 MEARS RATING. In the 2011 NFL Super Combine, MLB Martez Wilson (6-4, 250, 4.42) of Illinois and OLB Von Miller (6-3, 248, 4.41) of Texas A&M recorded 2,000 MEARS RATING as Wilson got a 2,030 MEARS RATING and Miller recorded a 2,012 MEARS RATING. With the 2016 Standards, Miller would have Recorded an Incredible 2,492 MEARS RATING.
Denver Broncos 2011 #1 Draft Choice and 2016 Super Bowl MVP Von Miller came to the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine and he Recorded some Incredible Measurables, including a 4.49 Forty weighing 246-Pounds; a 37-Inch Vertical Jump; a 4.06 Pro-Shuttle; and a 126-Inch Standing Broad Jump; giving him his 2,492 MEARS RATING.
Then, in the 2012 NFL Super Combine, Luke Kuechly (6-3, 242, 4.49) of Boston College recorded a 38-inch Vertical Jump; did a 4.12 Pro-Shuttle; did 123-Inch Standing Broad Jump; and did 27 reps of 225 on the Bench Press for an Outstanding 2,469 MEARS RATING.
Vertical Jump – The Vertical Jump (VJ) is a test of leg explosiveness, power, and quickness. Technique is also very important in this test. This test is a good measurable for Wide Receivers, Cornerbacks, and Safeties. The standard for an Offensive Lineman is a 24-Inch Vertical Jump, but have Recently Changed to a 22. Each inch over the standard, a player gets 20 points. Southern Cal DE Nick Perry did an incredible 38.5-inch Vertical Jump and received 290 points. The Defensive Back Standard for the Vertical Jump is a 28. Eric Berry did a 43-Inch Vertical Jump and received 300 points; Trindon Holliday did a 42-inch Vertical Jump and received 280 points; and in 2015, Byron Jones did a 44.5 VJ and Received 330 Points.
Pro-Agility Shuttle – The Pro-Agility Shuttle (SH) is a test of agility, speed, lateral quickness, change of direction, and overall body coordination. Technique is also very important is this test. An athlete should be able to do this test in about two tenths of a second faster than he can run a Forty-Yard Dash. For Example: Trent Williams did an Incredible 4.51 Pro-Agility Shuttle and the medium standard for an Offensive Lineman is a 5.2. The maximum number of points that is given in this test is 400 Points, so Williams got Maximum Points.
Standing Broad Jump – The Standing Broad Jump (SBJ) is a test that is similar to the Vertical Jump in that it measures how far you can jump instead of how high. It is also similar to the long jump in track, except the player will not get a running start, but rather jump from a standing position. It measures explosion, power, quickness, and lower body strength. It is a great measure for Running Backs, Tight Ends, and Linebackers. Example: WR Armand Williams did a sensational 139-inch Standing Broad Jump at my 2009 Zachary, Louisiana Top Gun Combine. The Standard for a Wide Receiver is 102-Inches and he got 5 points for every inch over 105, so Williams got 185 SBJ Points. Armand Williams also did a 42-inch Vertical Jump to go with his Incredible SBJ and was given 280 VJ Points. He then played in the 2010 All-American Bowl Game Classic and caught four passes for 218-yards and a Touchdown and was selected as the Game MVP. Williams was Offered a Late Scholarship by LSU and Signed with the Tigers. In the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine, Cornerback Byron Jones was Incredible as he Recorded an Unbelievable World Record 147-Inch Standing Broad Jump Record. The Cornerback Standard is 102-Inches and he Received 225 Points.
Bench Press – The Bench Press (BP) is a test of pure strength and stamina. The test measures how many bench press reps a high school or college athlete can do of 185 pounds or 225-pounds. Technique is also very important. This test is a good measure for every player on the football field although Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers and Cornerbacks do not need to excel in this event. College and Pro Players use 225 Pounds on the bench press instead of 185 pounds. The points do not change. Each Athlete gets 20 Points for every rep over his standard, but a maximum of 200-points. Example: Lamarr Houston did 30 Reps of 225 Pounds on the Bench Press and got 120-Points. In our 2006 All-American Bowl Game Classic, OC Ryan McMahon, who later started four years for Florida State, did 48-Reps and got the maximum 200-points. In our 2013 All-American Bowl Game Classic, OC Barry James and DE Charles Bender did 40 Reps of 185-Pounds and they both received the maximum 200-Points.
Technique – Technique is also very important in every single event, especially in the running events. The Pro-Shuttle and Standing Broad Jump is all Technique. Getting a bad start in the other running events can make the difference in a great timing or a poor timing. Although the SPARQ RATING SYSTEM became popular, it still had some flaws, because the SPARQ RATING SYSTEM was not originally based on a player’s position, but his weight. If the System is not based on the Position of the Player, then how are you going to decide who the best Player is at that Position? If the RATING SYSTEM is based on the Player Position, you’ll know how he relates.
If you have only one Draft Choice or Scholarship left, the MEARS RATING SYSTEM will give you the highest rated player regardless of position. To get this MEARS RATING, more information, including Height, Weight, Forty, Vertical Jump, Pro-Shuttle, Standing Broad Jump, and 185-Pound Bench Press Reps for High School Football Players and 225-Pound Bench Press Reps for College Football Players are put into the formula and all of this is based upon the standard for his position. “You really don’t need the Three Cone Drill, because it is not needed if you use the Pro-Agility Shuttle with the other Measurables,” said Coach Boyd Epley.
“Quarterbacks, Linemen, and Kickers are always going to be hard to measure, because they do not go to Super Combines or they do extremely poor at the Combine,” said Coach Epley. So these three positions must be evaluated very carefully on film or in person and so their MEARS is going to be estimated. Max, you will learn how to evaluate them and give them an honest rating.” Recently, if I really like an Offensive or Defensive Lineman, I will give him 300-Bonus Speed Points.
STANDARDS FOR EACH POSITION
1,000 Rating Points To Start
Position HT WT 40 VJ SH SBJ 185 REPS
Quarterback 6-1 190 4.8 24 4.7 90 10
Running Back 5-10 200 4.7 24 4.8 102 15
Wide Receiver 5-10 175 4.6 28 4.6 102 10
Tight End 6-3 220 4.8 28 4.7 96 15
Off Guard 6-3 265 5.3 22 5.2 90 20
Off Tackle 6-4 275 5.3 22 5.2 90 20
Off Center 6-2 265 5.3 22 5.2 90 20
(Lineman Note: Automatically Get 300 Points)
Def End 6-1 220 4.8 22 4.7 96 20
Def Tackle 6-3 275 5.2 22 5.1 90 20
Nose Guard 6-2 275 5.2 22 5.1 90 20
Middle LB 6-0 220 4.8 28 4.7 90 15
Outside LB 6-0 210 4.7 28 4.6 90 15
Cornerback 5-8 170 4.6 28 4.6 102 5
Free Safety 6-0 180 4.6 28 4.6 102 10
Strong Safety 6-0 190 4.7 28 4.7 102 10
Standard Points For Each Position Over Their Standard!
Height = + or – 10 Points Per Inch
Weight = + or – 2 Points Per Pound
Forty = + or – 10 Points Per Tenth (400 Max Points)
Vertical Jump = + or – 20 Points Per Inch (Unlimited)
Pro-Shuttle = + or – 10 Points Per Tenth (400 Max Points)
Standing BJ = + or – 5 Points Per Inch
Bench Press = + or – 20 Points Per Rep Past Standard (200 Max)
The MEARS RATING SYSTEM Formula, Developed by Max Emfinger, Former Dallas Cowboys Super Scout and it Gives us the Following Ratings:
2,400 – 2,599 = Future NFL Super-Star – Super Gold-Chip
2,300 – 2,399 = High Div I College – Blue-Chip
2,200 – 2,299 = Division I College – Red-Chip
2,000 – 2,199 = Division I-AA College – Green-Chip