Best passing teams of the Super Bowl Era

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Apr 13, 2008



Here's a look at the greatest passing teams of the Super Bowl Era, based upon Yards Per Attempt, the easy-to-understand stat that we believe is the greatest single indicator of passing success.
 
Click here for a complete wrap-up on the topic. One thing you'll notice is that many of the these teams were highly successful. Eight of these teams won the Super Bowl, and five others reached the Super Bowl. By contrast, the great running teams were not as successful.
 
 
GREATEST PASSING TEAMS - Super Bowl Era
 
TEAM
ATT.
YARDS
YPA
RESULT
1
1989 49ers
483
4584
9.491
14-2 (Won SB XXIV)
2
2000 Rams
587
5492
9.356
10-6 (lost wildcard)
3
1968 Chiefs (AFL)
270
2492
9.230
12-2 (lost div. playoffs)
4
1988 Bengals
392
3592
9.163
12-4 (lost SB XXIII)
5
1969 Cowboys
355
3212
9.048
11-2-1 (lost div. playoffs)
6
1984 Dolphins
572
5146
8.997
14-2 (lost SB XIX)
7
2004 Colts
527
4732
8.979
12-4 (lost div. playoffs)
8
1982 Chargers
338
3021
8.938
6-3 (lost div. playoffs)
9
1976 Colts
361
3221
8.922
11-3 (lost div. playoffs)
10
1983 Packers
526
4688
8.913
8-8
11
1966 Packers
318
2831
8.903
12-2 (won SB I)
12
2001 Rams
551
4903
8.898
14-2 (los SB XXXVI)
13
1976 Raiders
361
3195
8.850
13-1 (won SB XI)
14
1969 Bengals (AFL)
308
2720
8.831
4-9-1
15
1998 Falcons
424
3744
8.830
14-2 (lost SB XXXIII)
16
1971 Falcons
285
2495
8.754
7-6-1
17
1999 Rams
530
4580
8.642
13-3 (won SB XXXIV)
18
1972 Dolphins
259
2235
8.629
14-0 (won SB VII)
19
1968 Colts
359
3094
8.618
13-1 (lost SB III
20
2004 Vikings
552
4754
8.612
8-8
21
1990 Raiders
336
2885
8.586
12-4 (lost AFC title)
22
1993 49ers
524
4480
8.550
10-6 (lost NFC title)
23
1994 49ers
511
4362
8.536
13-3 (won SB XXIX)
24
1992 49ers
480
4054
8.427
14-2 (lost NFC title)
25
1972 Jets
347
2930
8.444
7-7
26
1991 Redskins
447
3771
8.436
14-2 (won SB)
27
1998 Vikings
533
4492
8.428
15-1 (lost NFC title)
28
1971 Cowboys
361
3037
8.413
11-3 (won SB VI)
Note: In the form we use as a Quality Stat, Net Passing Yards Per Attempt involves taking total passing yards and subtracting yards lost to sacks. We then add the number of sacks to the number of passing attempts to get true Passing Yards Per Attempt – the average gained every time a team dropped back to pass.
 
This proved exceedingly difficult for this exercise. Namely, sacks did not become an official stat until 1982 – so calculating their impact on teams' passing efforts throughout history is virtually impossible.
 
Thus, for this exercise, we looked only at gross passing yards divided by attempts. It's not perfect. In fact, it's a bit inflated. But since we're looking here at only the best passing teams of all time, you can imagine that sacks would not have led to a serious change in the rankings. Let's put it this way: If a team averaged 8.8 yards every time it got off a pass, chances are their quarterbacks weren't under a lot of pressure to begin with.

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