I thought this was a fun one:
— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) July 29, 2017
Okay, you may say how the heck could I know that? Well, You have more than enough info there! The number 5235 can only be a reference to one thing in season stats: passing yards. And it’s not in bold, which means its not a league leader. So the real question is can you recall a player who threw for 5,235 passing yards but didn’t lead the league in passing?
Which got me to wondering: which passers had the most impressive raw statistics while not leading their league in that category?
Here are the single season leaders in passing yards.
That’s right: in 2011, Brady threw for 5,235 passing yards, the third most in NFL history, while not leading the league in passing yards. And 2011 Brees didn’t only steal a passing title from Brady….
Yes, in 2011 Rodgers — who was the AP MVP — threw 45 TDs in 15 games. In 2015, Brady would lead the NFL in passing touchdowns with “only” 35 touchdowns, so this was some bad luck for Rodgers. But it’s not as though Brees always was winning these races…
Last year, Bradford set an NFL record in completion percentage, even if it wasn’t a particularly good (much less great) year. And the runner-up last year had the best completion percentage for any player who didn’t lead the NFL in completion percentage:
|1||Sam Bradford (28)||71.6%||2016||MIN|
|2||Drew Brees (32)||71.2%||2011||NOR|
|3||Drew Brees (30)||70.6%||2009||NOR|
|Ken Anderson (33)||70.6%||1982||CIN|
|5||Sammy Baugh+ (31)||70.3%||1945||WAS|
|Steve Young+ (32)||70.3%||1994||SFO|
|7||Joe Montana+ (33)||70.2%||1989||SFO|
|8||Drew Brees (37)||70.0%||2016||NOR|
Brees completed 69.99% of his passes last year, but didn’t actually lead the league in passing. This is the sort of metric that’s obviously really era-based, but still noteworthy. The same goes for our next category.
As you know, Manning had one of the all-time great seasons in 2013. But he didn’t lead the NFL in passer rating, thanks to one of the all-time great fluke seasons.
A 115.1 passer rating *should* lead the league. And it would most years. Just not in 2013.
Who threw the most interceptions without having the ignominy of leading the league?
|1||George Blanda+ (34)||42||1962||HOU|
|2||Vinny Testaverde (24)||35||1988||TAM|
|3||Frank Tripucka (32)||34||1960||DEN|
|4||John Hadl (28)||32||1968||SDG|
|Fran Tarkenton+ (38)||32||1978||MIN|
|6||Sid Luckman+ (30)||31||1947||CHI|
|7||George Blanda+ (37)||30||1965||HOU|
|Al Dorow (31)||30||1961||NYT|
|Jim Hart (23)||30||1967||STL|
|Ken Stabler+ (32)||30||1978||OAK|
|Richard Todd (26)||30||1980||NYJ|
Yes, that would be the Snake for all you trivia fans out there.
Interception Rate (Good)
What about the reverse: As you probably knew, Brady had a helluva interception rate last year. What you might not have known:
|1||Damon Huard (33)||0.4%||2006||KAN|
|Josh McCown (34)||0.4%||2013||CHI|
|3||Tom Brady (39)||0.5%||2016||NWE|
|4||Nick Foles (24)||0.6%||2013||PHI|
|5||Joe Ferguson (26)||0.7%||1976||BUF|
|6||Tom Brady (33)||0.8%||2010||NWE|
|7||Dak Prescott (23)||0.9%||2016||DAL|
|Steve DeBerg (36)||0.9%||1990||KAN|
|Sam Bradford (28)||0.9%||2016||MIN|
|David Garrard (29)||0.9%||2007||JAX|
Prescott had a 0.87% interception rate last year, while Bradford was at 0.91%. It’s incredible that as a rookie, Prescott had one of the top ten interception rates in NFL history… and didn’t even get to win the interception rate crown!
What fun non-league leading stats can you find?