For years, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been the NFL’s career passer rating leader. But Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is closing in on him.
As of the end of the 2015 season, Rodgers’ career passer rating is 104.1, and Wilson’s is 101.8. That’s a much smaller lead than Rodgers had heading into the season, when Rodgers was first in NFL history at 106.0 and Tony Romo was second at 97.6. Wilson has surged up the passer rating boards this season, with a career-high and league-leading mark of 110.1 for the season and an other-worldly run down the stretch in which his passer rating topped 120 in six of his last seven games.
Passer ratings have climbed across the league for decades, as passing offenses have become more sophisticated and NFL rules have increasingly favored the passing game. In 2015, the league-wide passer rating was 88.4. In 2005 it was 78.2. In 1995 it was 77.5. In 1985 it was 70.7. In 1975 it was 62.8. So it’s no surprise that Wilson is now closing in on a passer rating record held by Rodgers, a record previously held by Peyton Manning, and before him Steve Young, and before him Joe Montana. Every few years, a new quarterback comes along who puts up passing numbers that would have seemed impossible to the previous generation.
What is surprising, however, is just how effective a passer Wilson has become. It wasn’t long ago that Wilson was viewed primarily as a game manager who was winning on a team with the NFL’s best defense and a great running attack. Now the passing offense, led by Wilson, is the No. 1 reason the Seahawks are winning. And Wilson is passing as efficiently as any quarterback ever has.