Yearly league-wide passer rating & passer rating leaders

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 24, 2008



How does Tom Brady's amazing 2007 passing performance stack up relative to the league-wide passer rating?
 
He posted a 117.2 rating durng a season in which the league-wide rating was 80.9. In other words, he exceeded the league-wide mark by 44.9 percent. Only twice in the Live Ball Era (1978-present) has a passer exceeded the league-wide rating by a larger percentage. And the performers are the usual suspects:
  • In 1989, Joe Montana (112.4) exceeded the league-wide rating (75.6) by 49.2 percent
  • In 2004, Peyton Manning (121.4) exeeded the league-wide ratingg (82.8) by 46.6 percent
We realize comparing passer ratings (which has a finite end) against league averages is an imperfect way to measure relative passing performances, especially across different eras. But it at least offers some sort of context as we try to measure individual passing performances in the context of their times.
 
Plus, the numbers tend to confirm what we all suspected: Montana '89, Manning '04 and Brady '07 were probably the most spectacular passing seasons any of us have seen over the past 30 or more years.
 
The complete list is below, updated through 2007, preceded by our original introduction to the data.
 
***
 
Here's a look at the league-wide passer ratings for every year since 1940, along with each season's individual passer-rating leader.
 
As far as we know, the Cold, Hard Football Facts is the only outlet to publish this very telling collection of information. And for that, we must thank awesome NFL researcher Coach T.J. Troup, a friend of the Facts from Tustin, California. Troup has provided research for numerous NFL Teams, NFL Films and even Hollywood, as the technical advisor to the upcoming George Clooney flick "Leatherheads" (Troup was cool enough to invite us onto the set of the film back in the spring of 2007).
 
We also analyzed this data pretty intently when we first published it a while back.
 
The most telling aspect, basically, is that this data shows how much easier it's become to pass the ball in the modern game and the dramatic rise in passing efficiency of NFL quarterbacks. For example, here are the league-wide passer ratings by decade:
  • 1940s: 47.8
  • 1950s: 58.8
  • 1960s: 69.4
  • 1970s: 65.2
  • 1980s: 74.4
  • 1990s: 77.3
  • 2000s: a shade over 80.0
But look at the list and take it all in yourself.
 
YEAR-by-YEAR PASSER RATINGS AND PASSER-RATING LEADERS
 
Year
League Rating
 
Passing Leader (Team)
 
Rating
 
% > League
1940
42.3
Sammy Baugh (Washington)
85.6
102.4%
1941
39.6
Sid Luckman (Chicago)
95.3
140.7%
1942
40.1
Cecil Isbell (Green Bay)
87.0
117.0%
1943
48.4
Sid Luckman (Chicago)
107.5
122.1%
1944
42.2
Frank Filchock (Washington)
86.0
103.8%
1945
47.4
Sammy Baugh (Washington)
109.9
131.9%
1946
47.8
Sid Luckman (Chicago)
71.0
48.5%
1947
57.6
Sammy Baugh (Washington)
92.0
59.7%
1948
60.0
Tommy Thompson (Philly)
98.4
64.0%
1949
53.9
Tommy Thompson (Philly)
84.4
56.6%
1950
52.9
Norm Van Brocklin (L.A. Rams)
85.1
60.9%
1951
55.6
Bob Waterfield (L.A. Rams)
81.8
47.1%
1952
55.5
Tobin Rote (Green Bay)
85.6
54.2%
1953
54.2
Otto Graham (Cleveland)
99.7
83.9%
1954
61.7
Adrian Burk (Philly)
80.4
30.3%
1955
57.2
Otto Graham (Cleveland)
94.0
64.3%
1956
59.6
Ed Brown (Chicago)
83.1
39.4%
1957
63.2
Tommy O'Connell (Cleveland)
93.3
47.6%
1958
63.2
Johnny Unitas (Baltimore)
90.0
42.4%
1959
66.9
Charlie Conerly (N.Y. Giants)
102.7
53.4%
1960
65.2
Milt Plum (Cleveland)
110.4
69.3%
1961
64.8
Billy Wade (Chicago)
93.7
44.6%
1962
72.6
Bart Starr (Green Bay)
90.7
24.9%
1963
71.7
Y.A. Tittle (N.Y. Giants)
104.8
46.2%
1964
71.7
Bart Starr (Green Bay)
97.1
35.4%
1965
73.5
Johnny Unitas (Baltimore)
97.4
32.52%
1966
67.4
Bart Starr (Green Bay)
105.0
55.8%
1967
66.6
Sonny Jurgensen (Washington)
87.3
31.1%
1968
68.6
Bart Starr (Green Bay)
104.3
52.0%
1969
71.6
Bart Starr (Green Bay)
89.9
25.6%
1970
63.8
John Brodie (San Francisco)
93.8
47.0%
1971
62.2
Roger Staubach (Dallas)
104.8
68.5%
1972
66.3
Earl Morral (Miami)
91.0
37.3%
1973
64.9
Roger Staubach (Dallas)
94.6
45.8%
1974
64.2
Ken Anderson (Cincy)
95.7
49.1%
1975
65.6
Ken Anderson (Cincy)
93.9
43.14%
1976
67.0
Ken Stabler (Oakland)
103.4
54.3%
1977
60.7
Bob Griese (Miami)
87.8
44.64%
1978
65.0
Roger Staubach (Dallas)
84.9
30.6%
1979
70.8
Roger Staubach (Dallas)
92.3
30.4%
1980
74.1
Brian Sipe (Cleveland)
91.4
23.3%
1981
72.9
Ken Anderson (Cincy)
98.4
35.0%
1982
73.4
Ken Anderson (Cincy)
95.3
29.8%
1983
75.9
Steve Bartkowski (Atlanta)
97.6
28.6%
1984
76.1
Dan Marino (Miami)
108.9
43.1%
1985
73.6
Ken O'Brien (N.Y. Jets)
96.2
30.7%
1986
74.1
Tommy Kramer (Minnesota)
92.6
25.0%
1987
75.2
Joe Montana (San Francisco)
102.1
35.8%
1988
72.9
Boomer Esiason (Cincy)
97.4
33.6%
1989
75.6
Joe Montana (San Francisco)
112.4
49.2%
1990
77.3
Jim Kelly (Buffalo)
101.2
31.0%
1991
76.2
Steve Young (San Francisco)
101.8
33.6%
1992
75.3
Steve Young (San Francisco)
107.0
42.1%
1993
76.6
Steve Young (San Francisco)
101.5
32.5%
1994
78.4
Steve Young (San Francisco)
112.8
43.9%
1995
79.2
Jim Harbaugh (Indy)
100.7
27.1%
1996
76.8
Steve Young (San Francisco)
97.2
26.6%
1997
77.2
Steve Young (San Francisco)
104.7
35.6%
1998
78.2
Randall Cunningham (Minnesota)
106.0
35.5%
1999
77.1
Kurt Warner (St. Louis Rams)
109.2
41.6%
2000
78.1
Brian Griese (Denver)
102.9
31.7%
2001
78.5
Kurt Warner (St. Louis Rams)
101.4
29.2%
2002
80.4
Chad Pennington (N.Y. Jets)
104.2
29.6%
2003
78.3
Steve McNair (Tennessee)
100.4
28.2%
2004
82.8
Peyton Manning (Indy)
121.4
46.6%
2005
80.1
Peyton Manning (Indy)
104.1
30.0%
2006
80.4
Peyton Manning (Indy)
101.0
25.6%
2007
80.9
Tom Brady (New England)
117.2
44.9%

 


From our partners




Must See Videos
NFL Draft Changing Cities, Moving Out Of New York City | FootballNation.com
2014 NFL Draft: No Dunking In Football
2014 NFL Combine Winners

Team Pages
AFC East NFC
South
North
West

Connect With Us
Sign up for our newsletter to recieve all the latest news and updates...
Privacy guaranteed. We'll never share your info.




The Football Nation Network

© Copyright 2014 Football Nation LLC. Privacy Policy & Terms of Use
Some images property of Getty Images or Icon/SMI