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.
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.