Happy 4th of July! Before you head to your barbecue, I’d recommend you take a look at the incredible document our founders signed 236 years ago.
As far as football goes, today’s a good time for a data dump. The table below shows the career passing leaders for each franchise, organized by when the current leader last played for that team.
Those passing marks in Chicago and Detroit are in jeopardy, but not in 2012. Jay Cutler has 9,259 passing yards since he came to Chicago, and is likely to break Luckman’s mark in the middle of the 2013 season. Matt Stafford has 7,840 passing yards, making him halfway to reaching Layne. The former Georgia Bulldog is already 12th on the Lions career passing list; if he can repeat last year’s performance, he’ll move up to number two, pushing aside Scott Mitchell. Stafford needs 7,781 yards to move ahead of Layne, a conceivable target for 2013. Len Dawson and Joe Namath’s marks aren’t in jeopardy of falling anytime soon.
The Raiders have been fortunate to have Daryle Lamonica, Ken Stabler, Jim Plunkett and Rich Gannon star for the team, but none of them gained 20,000 yards as a Raider. In 1996, Troy Aikman pushed Roger Staubach aside to top the Cowboys passing register; does Romo have a chance to do the same to Aikman? He’s over 12,000 yards back, but could conceivably do so in 2015. Romo will be just 35 years old by then, so if he remains the Dallas starter for a number of years, he’ll presumably end up as the franchise’s all-time leading passer.
What about the career leaders in passing touchdowns for each franchise?
Luckman and Layne also hold their franchise’s touchdown records, but a couple new names enter at the bottom of the list. For the Rams, Roman Gabriel lost the yardage mark to Jim Everett but held on to the touchdown record. If Sam Bradford doesn’t pan out, his record could be safe for awhile. Ditto goes for Fran Tarkenton and Len Dawson (and probably Namath, too). Robert Griffin III is being drafted to be the next great Redskins quarterback, and it’s the greatest of them all that is the career passing touchdown leader. Eli Manning is 15 touchdowns away from breaking Simms’ record; he’ll do that this season, barring injury. For the yardage record, he’ll need to wait until 2013: he’s still over 5800 yards away. Ben Roethlisberger is 48 touchdowns away from breaking Bradshaw’s record; meanwhile, Jim Hart and Brian Sipe look safe for the foreseeable future as the franchise leaders for the Cardinals and Browns, respectively.
As interesting as the career lists are, you could probably guess most of those names. I suspect you’ll see a few more surprises in the next list, which looks at the single season leaders in passing yards for each team.
Only one single-season passing record comes from before 1980. Joe Namath was the first person to ever pass for 4,000 yards, and the Jets have never had another passer match that feat. With the Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow (fulfilling my SEO obligations of the day) in New York, the Jets remain one of the few teams unlikely to challenge the 4,000 yard mark this season. Robert Griffin III and Brandon Weeden each will have an opportunity to set their franchise’s single season record, conceivably as early as this year. Expecting such production from a rookie was laughable even a few years ago, but in the Cam Newton NFL, the old rules are off the books. And while the Jets hold the oldest current franchise passing yardage mark, no Eagle, Bear, Buccaneer or Seahawk has ever thrown for 4,000 yards in a season.
Let’s close out the day with a look at the single season passing touchdown leaders:
The single-season touchdown marks for three NFC East teams were set in the ’60s. With Eli Manning, RG3 and Mike Vick in New York, D.C., and Philadelphia, there’s a good chance one of those records will need to be updated in the next couple of seasons. The Eagles, despite seeing several talented quarterbacks don their jersey over the years, have a surprisingly low passing touchdown record.
Jake Plummer, not John Elway, holds the Broncos passing touchdown mark. A healthy Peyton Manning will be sure to restore the natural order to things in 2012. What sticks out to you as the biggest surprises?