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Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford all top 5,000 yards

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings Getty Images

Remember back in the day, when a 5,000-yard passing season was a huge deal? Not anymore. There were more 5,000-yard passers in the 2011 season than there had been throughout NFL history prior to this season.

Drew Brees broke Dan Marino’s record last week, and today Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford joined Brees in the 5,000-yard club, which means the all-time single-season Top 5 looks like this:

1. Drew Brees: 5,476 yards in 2011
2. Tom Brady: 5,235 yards in 2011
3. Dan Marino: 5,084 yards in 1984
4. Drew Brees: 5,069 yards in 2008
5. Matthew Stafford: 5,038 yards in 2011

Depending on your perspective, this was either the best year for quarterbacks in NFL history or the worst year for pass defense in NFL history.

Aaron Rodgers also could have joined the 5,000-yard club if he had played today: Rodgers finished the season with 4,643 yards in 15 games before giving way to Matt Flynn today, and all Flynn did was pass for 480 yards. And Eli Manning still has an outside shot at 5,000 yards tonight: Manning has 4,587 yards heading into tonight’s season finale against the Cowboys, so if he passes for 413 yards tonight he’ll hit 5,000, too.

From Week One through Week Seventeen, it’s been an incredible year for NFL quarterbacks. And a year that must have Marino thinking he could have passed for 6,000 yards in the current offensive environment.

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60 Responses to “Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford all top 5,000 yards”
  1. snoilog says: Jan 1, 2012 6:39 PM

    GO LIONS

    Thank you Matt for erasing all the Scott Mitchell records (Wow, that isn’t really saying much)

    GO LIONS

  2. dinkdribbler says: Jan 1, 2012 6:39 PM

    And Stafford doesn’t make the Pro Bowl?

  3. obxastronaut says: Jan 1, 2012 6:40 PM

    As a Packers fan, the other teams and their QB’s can have their pesky little passing records (aka Drew Brees- who I respect a lot, and Tom Brady- who I don’t) but in reality they were just padding their stats. The Packers didn’t need to, and with a backup QB still won. Individual records don’t mean anything, only the ultimate goal. The Super Bowl- this team, regardless of if you love em or hate em, has been one of the most unselfish teams out there.

  4. cmdv8 says: Jan 1, 2012 6:42 PM

    And Eli is in the pro bowl and Stafford’s not wtf the pro bowl voters suck as bad as the officials in Gb

  5. redruckus81 says: Jan 1, 2012 6:45 PM

    and Stafford is the 2nd youngest to ever do it only a few months younger than Marino was. Will be nice to see what he can do if/when the Lions get the Oline and running game fixed

  6. thenmoveback says: Jan 1, 2012 6:46 PM

    Marino’s season was the best one still. No disrespect to any of the other qb’s but it’s a passing league now

  7. mike8016 says: Jan 1, 2012 6:47 PM

    I hate these new rules.

  8. musiccitymiracle says: Jan 1, 2012 6:48 PM

    Brees leads the league in TDs, completion %, and yardage. Plus breaking Marino’s record. Gotta be MVP.

  9. oren120 says: Jan 1, 2012 6:50 PM

    I’d just like to rewind everyone’s memory to week 1, and all the trolls who just kept harping on Stafford being a “glass” quarterback. Unless you’re a fan of one of the other 4 teams with a QB on the “5,000 yard” list, you probably wish you had Stafford…don’t you?

    Oh wait, you could never admit you were wrong, could you?

  10. cardsfann1 says: Jan 1, 2012 6:50 PM

    Drew Brees is clearly the best qb on this list. I think Rodgers just might edge him out overall though. Tough call.

  11. mazenblue says: Jan 1, 2012 6:52 PM

    I wonder if it has anything to do with the rules.

    On a side note, Matt Stafford is first person to pass for 5k and not got to pro bowl.

  12. pastabelly says: Jan 1, 2012 6:52 PM

    All of this and neither Brees nor Brady got to throw against the Patriots defense.

  13. jamezz23 says: Jan 1, 2012 6:53 PM

    Stafford is an absolute beast. He’s only 23 years old and this is really only his first year actually playing. Him not being in the pro bowl is down right wrong. 41 tds and over 5k yards wtf….

  14. stadanko says: Jan 1, 2012 6:54 PM

    It’s gotta be the new rules, right? That’s why multiple QB’s have been passing for 5000 yards the past decade. Oh wait, before this season only one guy has done it in the past 10 years. His name? Drew Brees. Blame the rules all you want but if you look up the average passing stats in ’84 and this year, Brees far exceeds what Marino was doing back then. Haters gonna hate I guess.

  15. nflfollower says: Jan 1, 2012 6:59 PM

    Marino’s still stands alone to me, because of all the rule changes since then to favor offense. And this coming from a lions fan; I love what stafford has done this year, its especially incredible at the age of 23! What were the other great qb’s of this generation doing at 23? But Marino stands alone, no doubt.

  16. nickfairley15ydpf says: Jan 1, 2012 7:01 PM

    Stafford made some throws today that were unreal

  17. glynners says: Jan 1, 2012 7:01 PM

    After week 16 games (stats pulled from SSF)

    Per game passing yards, league wide:
    1984: 205.9
    2011: 228.8

    Per game attempts, league wide:
    1984: 32
    2011: 33.9

    Per game completions, league wide:
    1984: 18
    2011: 20.4

    Yards per attempt, league wide:
    1984: 7.1
    2011: 7.2

  18. mintberrycrunch1 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:03 PM

    Matt Stafford is only 23 years old o.O

    If 5000+ yards, 41 touchdowns, and 10 wins doesn’t get you into the probowl, I don’t know what will.

  19. jobob247 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:05 PM

    Defense can’t play defense… nothing surprising here.

  20. aljack88 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:10 PM

    Marino never had the advantage of playing at least half his games inside a dome. If we had had normal winter weather this December and November, Brady probably wouldn’t have made the 5000 yd mark.

    obxastronaut – I could care less what you think about Brady or Brees. For a team you say that doesn’t care for individual records, what was with all those starts Favre made, even when not healthy? Think he may have cost a game or two over that streak?

  21. zaggs says: Jan 1, 2012 7:10 PM

    Give Eli the 60 more pass plays that Stafford had (50 more attempts, 10 more sacks) and he would have already passed 5000 as Eli’s average is superior.

  22. tomservo24 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:10 PM

    Peyton Manning picked the wrong year to get injured. With 54,828 yards he should have hit the 60,000 yard mark this year. Now Favre’s mark could be out of reach.

  23. vincentbojackson says: Jan 1, 2012 7:18 PM

    This is what you get when you can’t touch QB’s and you can’t hit WR’s.

    Nice work Goodell, you just made decades of passing records meaningless.

  24. bjs79 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:25 PM

    This just makes Marino’s ’84 season all that more impressive.

  25. gnarlswoodson says: Jan 1, 2012 7:27 PM

    yeah stafford should have made the pro bowl, but shh happens, if i remember correctly there was a pretty big pro bowl snub at qb last year in the nfc. besides, everyone complains about how little the pro bowl matters, but when someone doesnt make it those same people act like its the worlds biggest travesty. that being said, stafford should have made it.

  26. hotdog113 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:29 PM

    The game is all about outscoring your opponent through the air, no more defense, running the ball, and clock management. It will eventually get boring.

  27. Matt says: Jan 1, 2012 7:29 PM

    Brees yardage record is irrelevant in a year where multiple QBs threw for over 5,000 yards. That stat isn’t what it used to be. Even worse, both Brees and Stafford did it playing a majority of their games indoors. Rodgers = MVP and it shouldn’t be that close.

  28. jonathanfesler says: Jan 1, 2012 7:32 PM

    As a packers fan and North Divsion fan! Dan Moriono does stand alone as one of the best pure passers to play the game with no superbowl rings! It’s all about putting the ball on the $$, which all these QB’s do! I love great competition within the division! I want to be worried when they play each other! Brett Farve was way overrated, not just the interceptions but allways at the worst possible time, cost a lot of games! He should have retired 6 years ago, it’s about time the Lions started competing, if the play GB again I will be nervous and I love it (Roll Pack)!!!

  29. grandpoopah says: Jan 1, 2012 7:33 PM

    Meanwhile, Tebow just went 6 for 22 for 60 yards and plenty of people are mad that he didn’t make the Pro Bowl. Drew Brees could chug a fifth of Jack and throw left handed and top those numbers.

  30. zingo1978 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:34 PM

    zaggs says:
    “Give Eli the 60 more pass plays that Stafford had (50 more attempts, 10 more sacks) and he would have already passed 5000 as Eli’s average is superior.”
    _________________________________

    Fine, but be sure to tack on some more INT’s for which Stafford already has fewer, and make sure he plays an extra few imaginary games to match the win total for his team.

  31. doob187 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:35 PM

    Marino is the man. He set that record with far fewer attempts and did it when defenses weren’t getting fined for tackling people. Not to mention Brees plays indoor football. MVP? sure I guess but I would take Marino over everyone on that list any and every day of the week… period.

  32. lilrob10201 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:35 PM

    In this day the milestone is 6k the way the rules are.

  33. steelerhypocrite says: Jan 1, 2012 7:41 PM

    Let’s face reality, Stafford didn’t make the Pro Bowl because the NFL would never allow it. He’s a mutant combination of Chunk (from Goonies) and Phil Mickelson…yet he did have a great year.

  34. finsphan says: Jan 1, 2012 7:43 PM

    Quick, name marino’s wr’s, rb’s and te’s that year without looking it up online! Exactly, marino did it with average players, not stars that brady, brees, stafford and rodgers have

  35. briggsweatbird says: Jan 1, 2012 7:45 PM

    5000 yards? Right. No big deal. Five guys in the history of the league have done it.

  36. derek1800 says: Jan 1, 2012 8:01 PM

    NFC QB Probowl list: Rogers, Brees, Manning, Newton, Romo, and Then Stafford.

    Just shows that the league, media, and fans hate detroit I guess. I dont know how you can throw 5,000 yards and finish 6 in your league for Probowl

  37. rmc1995 says: Jan 1, 2012 8:07 PM

    We can’t assume Rogers would have thrown for as many yards as Flynn. How much game tape time do the Lions have on Flynn?Conversely, Flynn had 15 games to prepare for the Lions defense.

  38. FinFan68 says: Jan 1, 2012 8:14 PM

    Marino’s accomplishment is more impressive to me. He did it in fewer attempts, with less friendly rules, with small receivers (not a lot of jump balls where a tall receiver went up to get it) and he did it in his first full season as a starter. The rule changes have no doubt made it easier to put up monster passing numbers. The accomplishment of all these guys is great. I would love to see what a Marino (in his prime) could do in today’s rule system with the passing schemes currently used. I think 6,000 might have been easily achieved. Marino was famous for his quick release but his peripheral vision and ability to see the entire field helped him stand out. That is something that Brees has as well and is a major reason he has done it twice.

  39. yfz450rider29 says: Jan 1, 2012 8:28 PM

    Probowl voting should be left up to Stats, players, and coaches. It shouldn’t be a popularity contest ie. Tim Tebow. Stafford, deserved way more than Romo, Newton, or Manning to go to the probowl. Eventually the NFL will stop letting ignorant fans vote.

  40. packhawk04 says: Jan 1, 2012 8:31 PM

    Rodgers had 502 attempts this.year. Brees had 622… Through 15 games, not including his last game. If rodgers had 622 atttempts, by his 9.22 yards per attempt average, he wouldve thrown for over 5700 yards. Just sayin…

  41. freewayjim says: Jan 1, 2012 8:32 PM

    STOP IT with the “Marino would throw for 6,000 yards today” garbage.

    Perspective: Marino had the best OL in football in front of him in 1984, Defenses were not nearly as sophisticated then as they are now, not to mention players are bigger, faster, stronger today.

    Also, playing in Miami in Nov & Dec is the next best thing to a dome, and in 1984 Marino did play a road game in Indy (Dome).

    Not taking anything away from Dan, one of the best pure passers ever but he was a statue back there, Brees, Stafford and to some degree Brady have more mobility and escapability than Marino did (he was a statue back there).

    So please stop the Marino madness, I was in college back in 1984, most of you waxing poetic about how the game was back then probably weren’t even born yet.

  42. bosfaninva says: Jan 1, 2012 8:59 PM

    Brady got these yards without a single true deep threat to throw to. The Pats are monsters at YAC.

  43. rwallace586 says: Jan 1, 2012 9:36 PM

    zaggs – Come on with the 50 extra attempts for Stafford argument. What about the fact that Stafford had ZERO running game behind him to open his receivers up? Teams could all cheat against the pass because Detroit couldn’t run. Bradshaw would look great in a Lion’s jersey… just sayin’.

  44. steelerhypocrite says: Jan 1, 2012 9:50 PM

    It’s not the ignorant fans fault Eli made the probowl instead of Stafford….it’s the media’s East coast bias…

  45. danphxariz says: Jan 1, 2012 9:54 PM

    And which one of these players didn’t even make the Pro Bowl in his 5,000 yard season??? That’s right, Matthew Stafford who was victim of the same huge hose job that’s been played by the NFL on the Lions all year. What a piece of crap joke the Pro Bowl is, and the league’s “officiating” is right down there in the sewer also.

  46. simplesimon1 says: Jan 1, 2012 10:05 PM

    The only specific stat that would make Marino’s record more special than Brees, Brady and Stafford this year would be that he accomplished his feat in 14 games instead of 16 games.

    As a Lions fan i can’t believe that a 23 year old can throw for 5000 yards and 41 TD’s and not go to the ProBowl. Gonna be tough against the Saints but it’s the playoffs….new year…anything can happen.

    Go Lions!!!!

  47. tjigger says: Jan 2, 2012 12:01 AM

    simplesimon1 says:
    Jan 1, 2012 10:05 PM
    The only specific stat that would make Marino’s record more special than Brees, Brady and Stafford this year would be that he accomplished his feat in 14 games instead of 16 games.

    ( they played 16 regular season games that year (14-2) and in the playoffs they were (2-1)

  48. aljack88 says: Jan 2, 2012 12:13 AM

    simplesimon1 says:
    Jan 1, 2012 10:05 PM
    The only specific stat that would make Marino’s record more special than Brees, Brady and Stafford this year would be that he accomplished his feat in 14 games instead of 16 games.
    ———————————————————–
    The NFL went to a 16 game schedule in 1978. Marino’s +5000 yds was in 1984

  49. dewalt2990 says: Jan 2, 2012 5:55 AM

    STAFFORD!!!

  50. dewalt2990 says: Jan 2, 2012 5:59 AM

    If it wasn’t for 3 games of Stafford with that broken index finger, he would be stride for stride with Brees, and would have possibly surpassed him.

  51. creator69 says: Jan 2, 2012 8:33 AM

    mintberrycrunch1 says: Jan 1, 2012 7:03 PM

    Matt Stafford is only 23 years old o.O

    If 5000+ yards, 41 touchdowns, and 10 wins doesn’t get you into the probowl, I don’t know what will.

    What gets you in is having the last name romo or manning and playing in NY or Dallas

  52. jpeterson4743 says: Jan 2, 2012 9:24 AM

    yeah stafford has really gotten better as the season has gone on also. it’s really evident in these last three-four games

  53. achamarro1 says: Jan 2, 2012 11:17 AM

    I want to start this of with..STAFFFFOORRDDD!!!..huge stafford fan.but those games with glove 2 of those games over 300but and other game 240. That’s 800+ yards in 3 games not bad..kids has shown progression throughout season and proved #1 thing he ain’t no china doll..thank god

  54. deiong says: Jan 2, 2012 11:40 AM

    this is actually a result of the pro offense anti defense calls that have been happening so much this year. heck to win this year all qb’s had to do was throw hail marys every down and they’d get a horrible penalty call 80 percent of the time.

    they’ve cracked down on defense on every part, i am mixed between the hard hitting. but i saw a lot of clean hard hits get penalized, this year.

    as for the recievers cant get hit when in the air. really. sure safety is a issue, but why wasnt that a concern when rice was a wr.

    he probably could make a comeback now and still dominate in the new wimp game. but i guess higher scoring might be a good thing??

    it will take a few years for defenses to get accustomed then we will see a drop off in scoring. then the league will wimpize it more in the name of more scoring behind the guise of safety.. mayne they should wear those blowup asmu wrestler outfits.. that would at least be entertaining :)

  55. houseofspears90 says: Jan 2, 2012 1:26 PM

    obxastronaut says:Jan 1, 2012 6:40 PM

    As a Packers fan, the other teams and their QB’s can have their pesky little passing records (aka Drew Brees- who I respect a lot, and Tom Brady- who I don’t) but in reality they were just padding their stats. The Packers didn’t need to, and with a backup QB still won. Individual records don’t mean anything, only the ultimate goal. The Super Bowl- this team, regardless of if you love em or hate em, has been one of the most unselfish teams out there.
    **********************************************
    Lions fan here so I am not jockying for Brees or Brady, but all 3 of the 5,000 yard throwers this year were still playing for something in week 17. Brees was still trying to get the #2 seed in the NFC, Patriots were trying to lock up home field advantage and the Lions were trying to get the #5 seed. So none of them were “padding their stats”. Only the Packers had nothing to play for so shut it with all the “packers are so unselfish” BS.

  56. jessieboom says: Jan 2, 2012 1:51 PM

    FYI Marino would have had 5922 yards on 657 attempts as Brees did.

  57. alexdagreat96 says: Jan 2, 2012 9:31 PM

    Stafford brady breed all r soon to be hall of famers

  58. abercrombieco2 says: Jan 3, 2012 12:04 AM

    Brady played for home field and the win not a record. The fact you think he was padding stats shows how lil you know about football. Hell Rodgers doesn’t even have single game records for them his back up had more yards and tds then Rodgers has Ina game.

  59. bigbluebruiser says: Jan 4, 2012 2:09 PM

    What did in Stafford was the fact that the Pro Bowl voting ended after Week 14. He threw for nearly 1,000 more yards after the fan voting ended. So take that up with Goodell Lions’ fans about changing the voting deadline if your this upset.

    Stafford actually ranked in the Top 3 in the fan voting among NFC QB’s. Those votes count for 1/3 or 33% of the total fan votes. Eli was ranked #5 at QB in the NFC fan votes.

    The coaches and players around the league who make up the other 2/3 or 66% decided that Manning was more deserving.

    Were in an era where we’ll see alot of QB’s throw for countless yards and TD’s but get left off of Pro Bowl rosters because there’s just 6 Pro Bowl spots total at QB. I would like to see the rosters expand a little and maybe add an additional QB for each conference because of the passing game dominating the NFL right now.

    I’m a Giant fan and I was bummed to see Victor Cruz left off the Pro Bowl roster. He might have the most receiving yards in a season not to make the Pro Bowl. But Stafford and Cruz are still very young and they will get many more chances to go to Hawaii.

  60. bigbluebruiser says: Jan 5, 2012 7:54 PM

    Brett Favre won his third straight MVP in 1998 after leading the league with 4,212 passing yards, 347 completions and threw 31 touchdowns. But he didn’t make the Pro Bowl that season either.

    Randall Cunningham, Steve Young and Chris Chandler were elected ahead of him.

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