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Rating the ten best quarterback seasons in NFL history: Lamar Jackson’s epic 2019 campaign makes the cut

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Of all of the positions in sports, there may be none quite like quarterback. While it has undergone massive changes through the years, the quarterback position has only grown in significance, popularity, and scrutiny. 

The numbers quarterbacks are capable of compile has also gone up, especially because the start of the millennium. While favorable rule changes are an element, the natural evolution of the position has also played a serious role within the video-game like numbers that quarterbacks are capable of compile in the fashionable game. 

After all, individual greatness is the largest reason for the spike in numbers. Unlike within the ’70s, when the passers of that era looked as much as quarterbacks who played in run-heavy offenses, today’s quarterbacks molded their games from quarterbacks who littered the sky with footballs. While they might not have known it on the time, quarterbacks like Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, Len Dawson, Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw, Ken Stabler and Dan Fouts provided inspiration for the following generation. The cycle continued with Dan Marino, John Elway, Jim Kelly, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, and Michael Vick, who inspired a lot of the celebrities who’re currently being idolized by tomorrow’s quarterbacks. 

Given the growing attention across the position, we decided to look back and rank the highest 10 seasons ever by a quarterback. Unlike most all-time rankings, this one wasn’t graded on a curve. Eras weren’t considered, only how each season stacked up against other all-time seasons. 

Here’s the official criteria used when making the list. 

  • One spot permitted per QB
  • Individual statistics
  • Individual accolades 
  • Team success 
  • Individual postseason success 
  • Enduring legacy 

1. Dan Marino: 1984

Marino’s 5,084 yards that season was 282 more yards than the second-highest total in league history at the moment. His 48 touchdown throws that 12 months was 16 greater than the next-highest total in league annals. Marino saved his best game of the 12 months for his childhood team: the Pittsburgh Steelers. Facing Pittsburgh within the AFC Championship Game, Marino threw for 421 yards that included two TD strikes to Mark Duper and one each to Mark Clayton and Nat Moore in Miami’s 45-28 win. 

Manning’s 5,477 passing yards and 55 touchdown passes remain the very best single-season totals in history. Named league MVP for a record fifth time that season, Manning took advantage of a Broncos’ receiving corps that featured Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker. The Broncos lost the Super Bowl that 12 months but would win the franchise’s third title in 2015. 

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Not only did he set the then-NFL single-season record with 50 TD passes, Brady led the NFL in completion percentage (68.9%) and passing yards (4,806). Brady’s historic season played a serious role within the Patriots becoming the NFL’s first and only team to go undefeated through the 16-game regular season format. Brady’s favorite goal, Randy Moss, also made history by catching 23 TD passes, a record that also stands. 

4. Kurt Warner: 1999

A story that was recently immortalized on the large screen, Warner seemingly got here out of nowhere to post one among the best passing seasons in history. In his first season as a starting NFL QB, the previous arena league standout won the “triple-crown” after leading the league with 4,830 yards and 36 touchdowns while completing 68.7% of his passes. 

Warner began the ’99 season strong and finished it even stronger. He was the primary QB in NFL history to throw at the least three touchdowns in each of his first three starts. Warner capped off his storybook season by throwing the winning TD pass and being named MVP of the Rams’ thrilling Super Bowl win over the Titans. 

5. Joe Montana: 1989

Montana’s best season with the 49ers got here a 12 months after he nearly lost his starting job to Steve Young. Montana, nevertheless, was capable of temporarily keep Young on the sideline after he led the 49ers to a dramatic win over the Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII. For an encore, Montana won league MVP in 1989 after completing a profession and league best 70.2% of his throws. He was simply immaculate within the playoffs, throwing 11 touchdowns and 0 picks while completing 78.3% of his passes. Montana punctuated his magical season by throwing five touchdowns and being named MVP of Super Bowl XXIV. 

6. Steve Young: 1994

After being largely a backup until age 30, Young quickly made up for lost time. In 1992, his second 12 months because the 49ers’ starting QB, Young was named to his first of seven straight Pro Bowls. He also won the primary of his two league MVP awards while leading the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game. 

If the ’92 season solidified Young’s status one among the NFL’s best players, the ’94 season cemented his status as an all-time great. The left-handed Young led the NFL in completion percentage and touchdown passes that season while also running for seven touchdowns and averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Within the playoffs, Young and his teammates dethroned the Cowboys — who had defeated them within the previous two NFC title games — before dismantling the Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. Young’s performance in that game was timeless, as he threw a still-standing Super Bowl record six touchdown passes while also ending because the game’s leading rusher. 

7. Brett Favre: 1996 

Statistically, Favre’s stats this season don’t quite match up with the remaining of the all-time seasons. But Favre did lead the NFL with 38 touchdowns while winning the second of three consecutive MVP awards. After two solid performances within the NFC playoffs, Favre did something only a few quarterbacks were capable of accomplish: defeat a Bill Parcells/Bill Belichick coached team in a championship game. 

A classic gunslinger, it was two audibles by Favre that helped propel the Packers to a 35-21 win over Latest England in Super Bowl XXXI. His first audible resulted in the sport’s first rating, a 54-yard touchdown pass to Andre Rison. Favre’s second audible led to an 81-yard TD pass to Antonio Freeman that gave Green Bay the lead for good. He also ran for a rating in leading the Packers to their first title in 29 years. 

In his first season as a starter, Mahomes joined Brady and Manning because the only quarterbacks to throw 50 touchdowns in a season. He also joined Manning, Brady, Marino, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, and Matthew Stafford within the 5,000-yard passing club. Mahomes, who had a pair of six-touchdown performances that season, threw at the least three TD passes in a game 10 times while nearly leading Kansas City to the Super Bowl. Mahomes and his teammates would finish the job the next season. 

Jackson’s MVP season of 2019 is actually unique. Together with leading the NFL in touchdown passes (36), Jackson led the league in yards-per-carry average (6.9 yards) in his first full season because the Ravens’ starting quarterback. Jackson’s 1,206 rushing yards that season broke Vick’s 13-year-old single-season record for a QB by 167 yards. Jackson won league MVP honors while leading the Ravens to a 14-2 record. 

Throwing a bunch of touchdowns without tossing many picks is one among the important thing staples of Rodgers’ game. That was definitely the case in 2020, when Rodgers threw 48 touchdowns against just five interceptions. Together with leading the NFL in TD passes, Rodgers also led the league in completion percentage after completing a career-high 70.7% of his throws. Rodgers was rewarded along with his first of consecutive league MVP awards.  

Honorable Mention: Drew Brees: 2011

During his legendary profession, Brees led the NFL in passing yards seven times, completion percentage six times, and touchdowns passes on 4 occasions. However the 2011 season was the one time he won the “triple-crown” as he led the league in all three categories. Together with throwing 46 touchdowns and completing 71.2% of his passes, Brees’ 5,476 yards that season was 241 more yards than Brady’s total that season, as each players broke Marino’s 27-year record. 

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