Is Culpepper the real deal?

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Sep 06, 2006



We wanted to take a look at Daunte Culpepper's highly productive career and determine if he's the real deal or not.
 
But somebody beat us to it. We're not in the business of linking to fan web sites because, well, most of the stuff you find there sucks. In fact, that's why the Gridiron Gods have blessed you with the Cold, Hard Football Facts: to provide a safe haven, away from the factless morons of the online world. Hey, the mainstream media is not the only place filled with yahoos. But this story from a Miami Dolphins fan site (someone sent it to us recently) struck us as a tremendous bit of research by someone who utilized our own weapon of choice – the Cold, Hard Football Facts.
 
Sure, it's written through the eyes of a fan who only wants the best for his team. But it's filled with quite a bit of data, including many factoids that even we didn't know. It also proves something else: It doesn't matter who you root for if you come armed with Cold, Hard Football Facts. After all, data has no emotion or loyalty to any player or team. Cold, Hard Football Facts are sublime and perfect and unwavering.
 
In this case, the Cold, Hard Football Facts confirm what we already suspected: Culpepper is not given enough credit for his amazing numbers.
 
The Cold, Hard Football Facts, for their part, have likened Daunte Culpepper's 2004 season to the conquest of Rome in World War II.
 
The liberation of Rome was one of the great achievements of the war – the first Axis capital to fall to Allied forces. But nobody knows anything about it today, and few read anything about it back in 1944 either.
 
There's a good reason why: Rome fell on June 5, 1944 – just hours before the D-Day invasion. When people awoke on June 6, stories of heroic young men breaching the walls of Hitler's Fortress Europe filled the news. The conquest of the Eternal City became little more than a historical footnote.
 
O.K., so Culpepper's 2004 season is not quite that dramatic. But you get the point.
 
In 2004, Culpepper passed and ran for more yards in a season (5,123) than any player in the history of football. He also passed for 39 TDs with just 11 INTs, while posting a 110.9 passer rating. Here's how his 2004 season compares to the best seasons of some of the most productive quarterbacks in NFL history, including a pair of other two-way threats in Warren Moon and Randall Cunningham:
 
Player
Year
Passing Yards
Rushing Yards
Total Yards
Daunte Culpepper
2004
4,717
406
5,123
Dan Marino
1984
5,084
-7
5,077
Warren Moon
1990
4,689
215
4,904
Peyton Manning
2004
4,557
38
4,595
Randall Cunningham
1988
3,808
624
4,432
 
Despite one of the most productive offensive performances in the history of football, nobody remembers Culpepper's 2004 season because it coincided with P-Day: Peyton Manning's amazing 49-touchdown, 121.1-passer-rating season. Both numbers are NFL records.
 
Many "pundits" look at Culpepper's 2004 season as a statistical anomaly. It came, after all, in the easiest season ever in which to pass the football, at least according to historic passer rating records chronicled by the Cold, Hard Football Facts.
 
But Culpepper did post a tremendous 96.4 rating the season before. And, back in 2000, his first full year as a quarterback, Culpepper posted a 98.0 rating with 33 TD passes. This is, in other words, a guy with a track record – even if it's an inconsistent track record – of putting up big numbers. (He did have a miserable 2002 season with 18 TDs, 23 INTs and a 75.3 rating.)
 
The fan site story mentioned above provides some other impressive data.
 
Culpepper, for example, has accounted for 164 total TDs – 135 passing and 29 rushing – in just 81 games. Here's how he stacks up in TD production against some of the most prolific quarterbacks in history:
 
Player
Games
TDs
TDs Per Game
Daunte Culpepper
81
164
2.02
Peyton Manning
128
253
1.98
Brett Favre
225
408
1.81
Dan Marino
242
429
1.77
Kurt Warner
73
121
1.66
 
Sure, Culpepper played all those years with the TD machine named Randy Moss. Playing with a battery-mate of such talent certainly improved Culpepper's production.
 
But Moss was merely ordinary last year in Oakland (60 catches, 1,005 yards, 8 TDs), playing with Kerry Collins instead of Culpepper. It remains to be seen if Culpepper will be merely ordinary without Moss.
 
But we'll start to find out tonight.

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