This blog celebrates quarterback play and few things give me more pleasure than twisting my brain into a pretzel to figure out who exactly will lead the NFL in passing.
Passer rating. Touchdowns. Interceptions. Completion percentage. It doesn’t matter. I’m all in.
Thus, I wanted to spend this post discussing just who might win the NFL passing yardage title. Why? Simple. During the Super Bowl era (dating back to the 1966 season), no quarterback has led the NFL in passing yardage and won the Super Bowl.
Five times a quarterback has led the NFL in passing yardage and reached the Super Bowl. Dan Marino in 1984, Kurt Warner in 2001, Rich Gannon in 2002, Tom Brady in 2007, and Brady once again in 2017. All five times those quarterbacks lost on Super Sunday (oddly enough, Brady, who suffered this fate twice, handed Warner’s Rams a bitter defeat in Super Bowl XXXVI to end the ’01 season).
Will that trend continue in 2018?
Recently, the passing champ discussion begins and ends with one player….New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. He led the NFL in passing yardage five times this decade – easily the most for any other quarterback. Besides Brees, no other quarterback has led the league in passing yardage more than once during the same period.
Of course, as I heap all of this praise atop Brees, it should be noted he didn’t win the yardage crown last year. That distinction went to Brady. You may have heard of him before. He is a pretty decent football player;.
Brady led the league last season with 4,577 yards. He narrowly edged out Philip Rivers en route to winning league MVP honors. But can he do it again? Despite popular public opinion that the four-time Super Bowl MVP is past the prime of his career, sports betting websites still have him as the all out favourite for the 2018-19 season.
Let’s take a look at the five most likely candidates (with the most likely at the top) to potentially top the league in passing yardage:
- Aaron Rodgers – No one spins the football quite like Rodgers does. Incredibly, he has never led the NFL in passing yards. Armed with tight end Jimmy Graham and some very capable receivers, Rodgers might finally reach the top of the charts in ’18.
- Tom Brady – He is going to throw a lot again (surprise, surprise) without the help of a great running attack again. However, Brady’s supporting cast will be lacking over the first four games without the aid of Julian Edelman, who is suspended for the first four games of the season.
- Ben Roethlisberger – A secret to finishing first in passing? Having a great rushing attack can be a hinderance unless your offense is supremely efficient, which Pittsburgh is at times.
- Drew Brees – With the rise of Alvin Kamara along with veteran Mark Ingram, New Orleans is ceding more power to the rushing attack and focusing on a shorter passing attack for the Saints, which could hurt Brees’s chances.
- Philip Rivers – It seems like the Chargers trail in every game and Rivers is always in comeback mode. I expect more of the same this season. The Chargers are going to be good but the offense is far from a smashmouth unit that leans on the rushing attack. Instead, it’ll be a heavy dose of Rivers again.
Darkhouse: Carson Wentz – Much of this will depend on Wentz’s availability to start the season after suffering a torn ACL last December. I’d still like to see him take hits and move in the pocket before proclaiming him as “back.”
Assuming he is a full go, don’t count him out. Wentz was on his way to an MVP award before disaster struck with his knee last December. He has plenty of weapons and will be eager to prove himself all over again.
Categories: News and Notes