NFL 2012 Football
Saints QB Drew Brees
It was the Year of the Quarterback.
The league-wide passer rating (84.3) and touchdown-interception ratio (1.472:1) were both at historic levels, topping the previous records set in 2010 (84.1 passer rating; 1.470:1 TD:INT ratio). Games averaged an all-time high 693.7 total net yards per game, surpassing the previous mark, also set in 2010 (672.0). Explosive passing offenses fueled that trend, with an average of 459.4 net passing yards per game, also an all-time high (443.1 in 2010).
There were 121 individual 300-yard passing games in 2011, the most in any season in NFL history (104 in 2009), and a record number of individual 400-yard passing performances (18), surpassing the previous record of 13 (1986 and 2004).
"It's a quarterback's league now," says CBS analyst and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback DAN FOUTS. "It's how the game has evolved. You've got coaches willing to throw the ball more than ever, and you've got receivers who are the best athletes on the field. Why wouldn't a coach want to use weapons like that?"
Two of the NFL's most significant individual single-season passing records also fell in 2011.
DREW BREES of New Orleans passed for 5,476 yards, besting Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO's previous mark of 5,084 yards in 1984. Green Bay's AARON RODGERS led the NFL with a passer rating of 122.5, topping PEYTON MANNING's record of 121.1 set in 2004.
Bengals QB Andy Dalton
And young quarterbacks excelled, too, highlighted by the standout performances of rookies CAM NEWTON of Carolina and ANDY DALTON of Cincinnati. Newton (NFL rookie-record 4,051 passing yards) and Dalton (3,398) became the first pair of rookie passers to throw for at least 3,000 yards in the same season.
As professional football has evolved, the sophistication and importance of the passing game has grown consistently. Defenders have grown stronger and faster while defensive coordinators have become more creative. Moving the ball downfield three yards at a time via the run has grown increasingly difficult.
"Everybody feeds off of what the quarterback can and cannot do," says ESPN analyst and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback STEVE YOUNG. "Defensively, offensively, everybody reacts to what threats or non-threats the quarterback has. Everything else is secondary."
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
Three quarterbacks reached the 5,000-yard mark in 2011, more than the previous combined total in NFL history. Entering 2011, only two quarterbacks in NFL history had ever passed for at least 5,000 yards in a season.
A record three quarterbacks threw 40+ passing touchdowns. No other season in NFL history had more than one quarterback with at least 40 passing TDs.
Four quarterbacks finished the year with a passer rating of 100 or better, which is tied for the second-most in history (5 in 2009; 4 in 1998, 2004 and 2011).
The quarterbacks with 5,000+ yards, 40+ touchdowns or a 100+ passer rating in 2011:
5,000+ Passing Yards:
Drew Brees (5,476), Tom Brady (5,235), Matthew Stafford (5,038)
40+ Touchdown Passes
Drew Brees (46), Aaron Rodgers (45), Matthew Stafford (41)
100+ Passer Rating
Aaron Rodgers (122.5), Drew Brees (110.6), Tom Brady (105.6), Tony Romo (102.5)
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- NFL 2012 Quarterback Update
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- NFC East Preview
- NFC West Preview
- NFC South Preview
- NFC North Preview
- Dolphins Acquire Wideout Anthony Armstrong Off Waivers
- Running Back Jones-Drew Ends Holdout, Reports to Jaguars
- Patriots Acquire Receiver Greg Salas from Rams
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- Super Bowl Champions Giants Not Among Those Favored to Win
- AFC East Preview
- AFC South Preview
- AFC West Preview
- AFC North Preview
- Jaguars Not Trading Running Back Jones-Drew
- Giants Linebacker Kiwanuka Gets Back at Cowboys Owner Jones
- NFL Players Union: Replacement Refs Jeopardize Safety
- Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez Agrees to Five-Year Extension
- Time's Up for T.O. - Seahawks Cut Veteran Wideout
- Big Ben Chimes In: Roethlisberger Blames FieldTurf for DeCastro's injury
- Giants and Cowboys Kick Off NFL 2012 Season
- Giants Rising
- The Empire State Strikes Back
- Patriots Look to Continue Winning Tradition
- NFL 2012 Kickoff Weekend Streaks
- NFL 2012 Strength of Schedule
- What To Look for in 2012
- Quarterback Success
- Pack Man: MVP Aaron Rodgers Leads Packers
- Eli Manning: Elite Quarterback
- Tom Brady: Tom Terrific
- Peyton Manning: Pey Day
- Cool Brees: Saints QB Drew Brees
- Young Quarterbacks on The Rise
- Running Backs: Good Things Come in Pairs
- Double Trouble Running Backs!
- Top Superlative? Run the Ball!
- Steven Jackson: Action Jackson
- Darren Sproles: Mister Versatility
- Devin Hester: Thank Devin
- NFL Tight Ends On The Rise
- Charles Woodson: Charles In Charge
- Rookies Excelled in 2011
- NFL Receivers Making a Splash
- Many Happy Kickoff Returns
- Big Play Excitement
- Clutch Performering Quarterbacks
- On Target Receivers
- Yards After The Catch
- Receivers Moving The Chains
- NFL Rules: A Constant Evolution
- New NFL Rules for 2012
- Modified Sudden Death Overtime
- NFL 2012 Headline Games
- NFL Player Offseason Moves: Same Faces, New Places
- New Orleans Hosts Its 10th Super Bowl
- Total Miles to Travel in 2012
- The NFL on TV in 2012
- NFL On The Go and Online in 2012
- NFL Anniversaries
- The 1932 NFL Indoor Championship
- 1967 NFL Championship: The 'Ice Bowl'
- The 'Immaculate Reception'
- 1972 Dolphins: The Perfect Season
- Pro Football is America's Favorite Sport By Far
- Top-Selling NFL Player Jerseys
- NFL Ratchets Up The Excitement
- The NFL is So Unpredictable
- From Worst to First in the NFL
- NFL Division Titles Up for Grabs
- Exciting Comebacks Highlighted NFL 2011 Season
- NFL Overtime Excitement
- Sustained Success
- Best NFL Records: Past 10 Years
- Football's Popularity in High School Keeps Growings
- Andrew Luck Throws 2 TD Passes in Pre-Season Debut
- Brian Urlacher: I'll Be Ready For Season Opener vs Colts
- Cowboys Not Interested in Plaxico Burress
- Justin Tuck Sacks Clay Matthews Comments
- Still Fighting: Jousting Jets Draw Coach Rex Ryan's Ire
- Tom Brady Leading Patriots by Example
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