Last year, Tyrod Taylor led all quarterbacks with 580 rushing yards. Colin Kaepernick, in 12 games, ranked 2nd with 468 rushing yards, and no other quarterback had even 400 rushing yards. But Aaron Rodgers, Blake Bortles, Cam Newton, Marcus Mariota, and Andrew Luck all had at least 300 rushing yards, so 7 out of 32 teams had a quarterback with at least that many yards.
How does that compare historically? Two years ago, in one of my favorite posts/methodologies, I looked at how to measure quarterback rushing yards. Here’s what I did.
1) Calculate the percentage of league-wide passing yards by each player in each season. For example, Tyrod Taylor was responsible for 2.3% of all passing yards in 2016.
2) Calculate the weighted average league-wide rushing yards for each season. So we take the result in step 1 and multiply that by each player’s number of rushing yards. For Taylor, this means multiplying 2.3% by 580 for a result of 13.4 rushing yards. Perform this calculation for each player in each season and sum the results to obtain a league-wide total. For 2016, this total was 150.9 rushing yards (obviously Taylor was the biggest contributor among quarterbacks).
3) For non-16 game seasons, pro-rate to 16 games.
Perform this calculation for each season since 1950, and you get the following results:
We are currently in an era for rushing quarterbacks, but it’s not a big outlier, either. The early ’50s, ’55 and ’56, 1972, 1990, and the early ’00s were also notable for rushing quarterbacks. The current trend started a few years ago: in 2009, the average was 93 rushing yards; that jumped to 118 in 2010, 133 in 2011, and 157 in 2012, and was at 159 or 160 in 2013, 2014, and 2015 before dropping slightly last year.