Dan Marino…Best Pure Passer…EVER. Period. On Monday night, Drew Brees broke Dan Marino’s all time passing yardage record for a single season. However, Marino’s 5,084 passing yards were more impressive….MUCH more impressive. Why? There are several reasons:
1. Dan Marino accumulated 5,084 passing yards on 58 FEWER attempts and 78 FEWER completions than Drew Brees. So Marino got more yards with fewer passes.
2. Marino’s average yards per attempt in 1984 was 9.01 compared to Brees’ 8.18.
3. Marino also threw for 48 TDs that season compared to Brees’ 41 this season. Yes, Brees still has one game left, but can he throw for 7 more TDs?
4. NFL Rule Changes. This is the biggest difference in my opinion between Marino’s and Brees’ record breaking years. Marino played in an NFL when defenders could actually hold receivers, deliver vicious hits, and do more than play patty cake with the quarterback. Brees has had the luxury of receivers running more wide open, against coverage that is more loose. To show you what I mean, read this article. It’s conceivable that Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers could ALL break Marino’s record this season. Yes, they are all Hall of Fame QBs….BUT, the current NFL rules are helping to make it MUCH easier on offenses. So the numbers put up recently are inflated…similar to the way that home run totals in baseball are because of many changing variables (field size, juiced balls, juiced players, lower mound, etc)
This is by no means a slight at Drew Brees. He is a tremendous quarterback who is having a phenomenal season. BUT, it’s important to realize that just because he now owns the record, his season should be viewed through realistic goggles. If there was ever a player that I’d like to see break Dan’s record, it’s Drew Brees. He’s a great guy and by all accounts a role model for children everywhere. I congratulate him on the record and hope he continues his solid play. But just remember, 1984 was a magical season…not just because Marino was a Dolphin…But because he did something that no one had ever come close to, in a time when the rules, and the NFL as a whole, was much different.