I’ll Take A Quarter, Back

by PJ Negri

I hope everyone has been enjoying the NFL Playoffs so far thisseason. It has been very exciting thus far. Who would have thought Tim Tebow and the Broncos could beat the big bad Steelers? And the 49ers won the shootout in Candlestick over theSaints! As exciting as the playoffshave been, I want to take some time to talk about the regular season, morespecifically the quarterbacks during the regular season.
Here is a list of the top 5 passing performances (for thepurposes of this, we are only looking at passing yardage) in the history of theNFL:
Player Name
Total Yards
The most importantthing to note here is the “Year” column. Four of the top five passing seasonshappened in the past three years. This season (2011) includes three of thoseseasons and two in specific (one by Tom Brady and oneby Drew Brees),that broke Dan Marino’s single season passing record. This is quite astoundingwhen you think about it. Dan Marino wasthe first player in NFL history to throw for 5,000+ yards in a single seasonwhen he did so in 1984. Then no one threw for 5,000+ yards in a season againuntil 2008.
So let’s take a second to think about this. The NFL firststarted in 1920, if you count the American Professional Football Association.That means for 88 years only two players (yes you read that right only two!!)threw for 5,000+ yards in a single season.
Now let’s dive deeper into the numbers.  The league started with 11 teams, but nowcontains 32. For arguments sake, let’s just say there have been 22 teams in theleague each year (and that is low-balling it). Assuming each team has at least one QB on their team every season so inthat time period (1920 – 2008) there were 1,936 opportunities for a QB to throwfor 5,000+ yards. (Through 2011 is 2,002 opportunities) If you look at thepercentage, 2 out of 1,936 is .1%. This means through 2008, the likelihood of aplayer throwing for 5,000+ yards in a season is roughly 1 out of every 1,000.
With that said, take a lookat the chart above again. Not one, not two, but three! Yes THREE!! Playersaccomplished that feat this season (Brees (5,476) Brady (5,235) and Stafford(5,038)). So what gives? Are the quarterbacks of today that much better thanthe quarterbacks of old? Do not get me wrong they are good, but that can’t bethe only reason, can it? Is it possible that this is a fluke? Will we not see a5,000+ season for another 90 years? If that is the case most of us will noteven see it.
One thing to consider is the rule change moving the kickoffup to the 35 yard line as oppose to the 30 which caused an increase touchbacks.This means offenses general needed to go more yards to get into scoringposition, which logically could lead to more passing yards on passing teams.Still three in one season after happening only twice in 90 years!?!? But whoknows, maybe we are in a once in a lifetime era of the quarterback? Tell uswhat you think below! But before you do that that check out this list of Hall of Fame QBs whonever threw for 5,000+ yards in a season, just a little more food for thought.
v    1.     Joe Montana
      2.    Steve Young
      3.     RogerStaubach
      4.     Troy Aikman
      5.     Johnny Unitas
      6.     JohnElway
      7.     BartStarr
      8.     Y.A. Tittle
     9.     FranTarkenton
      10.  Warren Moon
And yes … This list continues for a while

2 responses to “I’ll Take A Quarter, Back

    • Haha no bias, honestly… He needed 67 more yards and he would have made the list! The way this season was going that could have been one out-route to Cruz! lol

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