Barnwell: Is the AFC West the best quarterback division … ever? Here’s how it stacks up

NFL

In case you have not observed, the AFC West is stacked. The largest prize within the division’s offseason spending spree was Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, who is anticipated to fill the post-Peyton Manning gap the crew has desperately been trying to take care of for the past half-decade. When you think about Denver had been rolling with Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Drew Lock, Wilson is perhaps the most important improve any crew made at a key place this offseason.

He isn’t alone within the AFC West. The division can boast one Corridor of Famer coming into the prime of his profession in Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes, whose résumé requires no introduction. The Chargers’ Justin Herbert simply completed a 5,014-yard season and is off to among the best begins we have ever seen from a younger quarterback. The Raiders’ Derek Carr has a nearly an identical passer score over the previous 4 seasons (97.3) to Tom Brady (97.7) and leads within the league in fourth-quarter game-winning drives over that span.

Most individuals would agree that the AFC West is one of the best division of quarterbacks, one by 4. After the Wilson commerce, although, I began questioning: Does it venture to be one of the best quarterback division ever?

To see the place they stand, now we have to guage the previous. I ran by each crew and each division going again by the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 and charted how every division’s quarterbacks carried out, each when it comes to how they did that season and what their careers seemed like in hindsight. I eradicated the passers who did not throw a minimum of 200 passes and who weren’t their crew’s main starter.

As well as, now we have to take care of the truth that the league used five-team divisions for stretches of the previous 50 years. It is simpler to seek out 4 nice quarterbacks than 5, which goes to weight our evaluation towards smaller divisions. I’ve tried to be extra beneficiant towards divisions that had 4 nice quarterbacks and a fifth who struggled to maintain up the tempo.

I additionally needed to decide a stat to investigate these quarterbacks. Passer score is perhaps wonderful when it comes to evaluating quarterbacks traditionally inside a given season, however utilizing any unadjusted stat to check quarterbacks throughout eras is hopeless, given how the baselines for quarterback play have modified over the previous 50 years.

I went with the Pro Football Reference stat era-adjusted internet yards per try (ANY/A+), which takes a greater model of passer score, adjusts it for the extent of play in every given season after which places it on a normalized scale. A 100 ANY/A+ is common, no matter season. For reference, in 2021, Aaron Rodgers led the league with a 123 ANY/A+. Zach Wilson‘s 69 ANY/A+ was the worst amongst common starters. Mahomes posted a 136 ANY/A+ throughout his breakout season in 2018. Josh Rosen posted a 66 ANY/A+ that season, his rookie 12 months with Arizona.

Utilizing a easy projection mannequin, we might anticipate the AFC West passers to all publish optimistic ANY/A+ marks in 2022. Mahomes unsurprisingly tops the group at 121. Wilson and Carr are tied behind him at 111. Herbert, partly due to his inexperience, is available in at 109. The common mark for these 4 could be an ANY/A+ of 113. We’ll hold that 113 quantity in thoughts as we take a look at different divisions.

Let’s begin with the qualitative argument: Has there ever been a division extra prone to reunite in Canton someday?

Soar to a piece:
HOFers who played in the same division
Ranking the best QB seasons by division

Argument No. 1: The Corridor of Famers

By way of the present AFC West, Mahomes may retire tomorrow and make it to the Corridor of Fame. Wilson is not fairly a lock, however he has made 9 Professional Bowls and each different quarterback with that quantity has been enshrined. One other Tremendous Bowl ring ought to push Wilson excessive. Carr might be not making it barring one thing actually outstanding within the second half of his profession, and it is too early to attract any conclusions about the place Herbert stands after two seasons.

The AFC West is extraordinarily prone to ship two quarterbacks to the Corridor of Fame, with the potential of a 3rd in Herbert. That is proper in step with one of the best quarterback divisions in league historical past. No division has despatched three of its beginning quarterbacks in the identical season to the Corridor of Fame in additional than 40 years. There have been 39 totally different seasons of a division with two Corridor of Fame starters butting heads.

Since I needed to attempt to make latest comparisons right here, I additionally went forward and projected journeys to Canton for Brady, Rodgers, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger, all of whom appear to be surefire locks for enshrinement. I overlooked Eli Manning, Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers, every of whom aren’t no-brainers, even when they’ve significant circumstances. Likewise, I wasn’t in a position to assure younger stars Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson, neither of whom have Mahomes’ résumé.

Let’s run by these 39 examples, who’re accounted for within the blurbs under (sorted by division). A lot of them have been runs through which two future enshrinees battled one another for a number of seasons, though I wish to begin with a one-off that finally produced the league’s most notable out-of-division rivalry:

The AFC East, 2001: Tom Brady (Patriots) and Peyton Manning (Colts). Nicely, it is exhausting to argue with the star energy. Brady and Manning is perhaps the 2 greatest quarterbacks in NFL historical past, and so they have been of their early 20s. Brady had loads of success for the Patriots from the leap, as he famously stepped in for Drew Bledsoe and gained a Tremendous Bowl in his debut season as a starter, however he wasn’t but the dynamic passer we’d see at his peak.

Manning additionally struggled by a disappointing 12 months with the Colts, with 26 landing passes towards 23 picks and an ANY/A+ of 109. He had been at 120 and 127 the prior two seasons and would not drop under that determine once more till 2010. With Jay Fiedler (Dolphins), Alex Van Pelt (Payments) and a 38-year-old Vinny Testaverde (Jets) within the different three beginning jobs, this group would not examine to the AFC West in the event that they dwell as much as expectations in 2021.

The AFC East, 1986-1996: Jim Kelly (Payments) and Dan Marino (Dolphins). That is the longest sustained stretch for any division with two Corridor of Fame quarterbacks in league historical past. Outdoors of 1993, when Marino missed many of the season with a torn Achilles, the AFC East was headlined by two of one of the best signal-callers we have ever seen. They performed in pass-friendly offenses and had a legit (if pleasant) rivalry. That is the dream consequence for Herbert and Mahomes over the subsequent decade.

The supporting casts round them diversified. Browning Nagle (Jets) and Hugh Millen (Patriots) could not maintain up their finish of the cut price in 1992. At its brightest, although, the AFC East may compete. In 1994 and 1995, for instance, the division rolled out its two stars and former No. 1 general decide Drew Bledsoe (Patriots), who led the league in passing yards. Boomer Esiason, by then in his mid-30s, was the starter for the Jets. The Colts obtained an MVP-caliber season from Jim Harbaugh in 1995 and superior to the AFC Championship Sport. The one problem is Kelly slipped in 1994 and was an average-or-worse quarterback over his remaining three years.

Relying on the way you decide the starters outdoors of the massive two, the AFC East seemingly peaked in 1986 or 1987, when Ken O’Brien (Jets) was the third choice. The Pats truly gained the division in 1986 with Tony Eason as their quarterback, though he was by no means a viable starter once more. I feel the fashionable AFC West profiles higher than one of the best we noticed from this period of the AFC East, though the Kelly-Marino battles paved the way when it comes to longevity.

The AFC East, 1998-1999: Dan Marino (Dolphins) and Peyton Manning (Colts). In between these two teams, we obtained a 12 months through which there’s severe competitors. You might say 1999 was compromised by Marino’s decline and a season-ending harm within the opener to Testaverde, however 1998 is an fascinating group of quarterbacks. Marino was on his approach down, however he nonetheless posted a 104 ANY/A+. Manning threw 28 picks as a rookie and truly posted the worst ANY/A+ (96).

The “different guys” carried the East. Testaverde threw 29 landing passes towards seven picks for the 12-4 Jets. Bledsoe posted a 109 ANY/A+ for the Patriots. Doug Flutie led the division with a 121 ANY/A+, as he took over because the starter in Buffalo for an injured Rob Johnson and led the Payments into the postseason. This group mixed to publish an ANY/A of slightly below 112.

The AFC East, 1970: Bob Griese (Dolphins) and Johnny Unitas (Colts). We might have had three Corridor of Fame starters on this division if everybody had stayed wholesome, however Joe Namath was restricted to 5 video games with the Jets. Griese and a 37-year-old Unitas battled atop the division, with the latter’s Colts taking first place and finally successful Tremendous Bowl V over Craig Morton’s Cowboys. Unitas was knocked out of that recreation within the second quarter.

Elsewhere within the division, Dennis Shaw (Payments) gained Offensive Rookie of the Yr, however the Patriots began two passers who mixed to throw 4 occasions as many interceptions as touchdowns.

The AFC East, 1974-76: Bob Griese (Dolphins) and Joe Namath (Jets). Sadly, Griese missed most of 1975 with a torn tendon in his toe, whereas Namath threw 16 interceptions towards simply 4 landing passes in 1976 in what could be his remaining season with the Jets.

In 1974, although, Griese made the Professional Bowl, whereas Namath produced an above-average season for the final time. Payments starter Joe Ferguson was above common, however he threw simply 232 passes in 14 begins for one of many the league’s most run-heavy offenses. The Patriots obtained a stable 12 months from the 1971 No. 1 general decide, Jim Plunkett, however the Colts break up time between Bert Jones (the 1973 No. 2 general decide who had but to interrupt out) and Marty Domres, who set the post-merger report for many interceptions (12) with out a landing go in a single season.

The AFC West, 1974-1979: Dan Fouts (Chargers) and Ken Stabler (Raiders). This was one of the best prolonged run of quarterback play within the West earlier than what we anticipate to see in 2022. Stabler was the beginning quarterback on the Raiders in a stretch that included a Tremendous Bowl and an MVP Award. Fouts wasn’t actually at his greatest, although, till Don Coryell took over because the Chargers coach in 1978. Fouts began a run of six consecutive Professional Bowl journeys in 1979.

Now we have two seasons that may compete with our projected AFC West. In 1974, when the division nonetheless had solely 4 groups, the starters mixed to publish a mean ANY/A+ of 113.5. Three of its quarterbacks made the Corridor of Fame. Stabler carried the load and gained league MVP. Fouts and Charley Johnson (Broncos) have been barely above common. Len Dawson (Chiefs) additionally made it to the Corridor of Fame, however at this level, he was 39 years previous and posted a below-average ANY/A+ (96).

Two years later, these groups had 4 starters produce a mean ANY/A+ of 117.5, one of the best mark for any division’s high 4 starters for the reason that merger. Stabler wasn’t pretty much as good as he was in 1974, however he and Fouts have been surrounded by Steve Ramsey (Broncos) and Mike Livingston (Chiefs), who each capitalized on taking large photographs downfield. The issue is the enlargement Bucs, who went 0-14 with Steve Spurrier posting an 89 ANY/A+. Ramsey and Spurrier by no means performed once more. That is not going to occur with this model of the AFC West.

The AFC West, 1983-1987: John Elway (Broncos) and Dan Fouts (Chargers). Fouts was at his peak between 1979 and 1983, which is why it is a disgrace his Corridor of Fame rivals popped up on both finish of that stretch. Fouts was nonetheless a Professional Bowler in 1983 and 1985; Elway, sadly, did not publish a optimistic ANY/A+ in both season.

Elway gained league MVP in 1987, however Fouts struggled by the ultimate season of his profession, and the Chiefs and Raiders mixed to start out seven totally different quarterbacks amid a gamers’ strike. Dave Krieg had an awesome season for the Seahawks, however there’s not likely a season through which the West delivered one thing particular as a bunch.

The AFC West, 1993-1994: John Elway (Broncos) and Joe Montana (Chiefs). That is one other unimaginable one-two punch of legends. Elway led the league in passing yards in 1993, whereas Montana returned from lacking many of the earlier two seasons by posting a 119 ANY/A+ on 298 go makes an attempt.

The group additionally had a former Tremendous Bowl winner in Jeff Hostetler (Raiders), however Stan Humphries had an off season for the Chargers, whereas former No. 2 general decide Rick Mirer did not launch for the Seahawks. The supporting forged was higher in 1994, however Elway wasn’t at his greatest.

The AFC Central, 1980-1981: Terry Bradshaw (Steelers) and Ken Stabler (Oilers). Stabler moved from the Raiders to the Oilers, however he posted two sub-90 ANY/A+ seasons over this two-year run. Bradshaw was nonetheless taking part in at a excessive degree, and he was joined by an MVP in every of those two years. In 1980, Cleveland’s Brian Sipe threw 30 landing passes, led the league in passer score and gained MVP. Sipe fell off in 1981, however Cincinnati’s Ken Anderson responded to an injury-hit season by matching Sipe’s earlier season and throwing 29 landing passes, main the league in passer score and successful MVP.

You might make a case this four-team division had the star energy to check to our fashionable AFC West, however Anderson and Sipe have been superstars in a single season and below-average within the different, and Stabler wasn’t something just like the man we noticed at his peak.

The NFC Central, 1994-1996: Brett Favre (Packers) and Warren Moon (Vikings). The standout season right here is 1995, when Favre was coming into the height of his profession. Favre gained the primary of his three MVP Awards and posted a league-best ANY/A+ of 130. The opposite Corridor of Famer? Moon, who threw 33 landing passes on the age of 39 for the Vikings. Scott Mitchell was no slouch, as the previous Dolphins backup threw 33 landing passes towards 12 picks for the Lions, whereas Erik Kramer had a 29-to-10 touchdown-to-interception ratio for the Bears and posted a 129 ANY/A+.

The highest 4 quarterbacks on this division have been all taking part in nice soccer. The fifth man was second-year Bucs quarterback Trent Dilfer. The long run Tremendous Bowl winner threw simply 4 landing passes towards 18 picks and posted an ANY/A+ of 75. From high to backside, the 1995 NFC North might need been essentially the most environment friendly beginning quarterback group in fashionable league historical past. Even when we minimize them some slack for a fifth crew, Dilfer drags them down a bit.

The NFC North, 2009-2010: Brett Favre (Vikings) and Aaron Rodgers (Packers). The battle of former teammates! Favre left for the Jets in 2008 earlier than returning to the Vikings to complete his profession. He was wonderful in 2009 and posted a 123 ANY/A+ earlier than falling off of a cliff the next season. Rodgers made it to his first Professional Bowl in 2009, so the highest finish holds up that season.

There have been large names elsewhere within the division, albeit at a lot totally different factors of their respective careers. Jay Cutler was coming off of a profession season and had simply been traded to the Bears, however he led the league in interceptions in 2009. Detroit’s Matthew Stafford was a rookie and combined moments of brilliance with irritating stretches of play. This group had as a lot hype as the present AFC West heading into the 2009 season, and whereas Favre and Rodgers performed like superstars, Cutler and Stafford have been below-average.

The NFC West, 1983: Joe Montana (49ers) and Ken Stabler (Raiders). We obtained a one-off with two Corridor of Famers in 1983, with Montana producing an MVP-caliber season for the 49ers. Steve Bartkowski (Falcons) led the league in passer score and Vince Ferragamo (Rams) was simply over league common, however the 38-year-old Stabler was beginning for the Saints and threw twice as many interceptions as touchdowns.

The NFC South, 2020: Tom Brady (Bucs) and Drew Brees (Saints). Two years in the past, the South had two of one of the best passers in league historical past. Brady gained the Tremendous Bowl with the Bucs, whereas Brees’ step backward nonetheless yielded a 113 ANY/A+. The division had one other former MVP in Matt Ryan, who was simply above common for the Falcons, whereas Teddy Bridgewater was in an identical spot for the embattled Panthers.

The NFC East, 1970-1971: Fran Tarkenton (Giants), Sonny Jurgensen (Washington) and Roger Staubach (Cowboys). Tarkenton, then taking part in for the Giants, confronted a pair of Corridor of Famers in consecutive seasons. In 1970, he went up towards a 36-year-old Jurgensen, who managed to publish a 118 ANY/A+ in what was his remaining 12 months as a starter. Tarkenton completed third in MVP balloting that 12 months. The next season noticed Staubach take over for his debut season as the first starter in Dallas, one 12 months after Craig Morton led the league in ANY/A+ (132) and led the Cowboys to the Tremendous Bowl.

Had been any of those divisions higher than our projected AFC West? The very best instance from this group might be the 1995 NFC Central or 2009 NFC North. Within the former, we had 4 quarterbacks who all performed at a excessive degree, together with an MVP-caliber season from Favre. I would argue that Carr, Herbert and Wilson have been extra spectacular and venture to play higher in 2022 than Kramer, Mitchell and Moon did heading into 1995. In fact, Dilfer was a drag on the proceedings, one thing the four-team North will not must cope with this time round.

In 2009, the division additionally had a younger famous person in Rodgers and a Corridor of Fame-caliber arrival in Favre, who was coming off of an injury-hit season, similar to Wilson. Cutler additionally arrived after a Professional Bowl season in Denver, whereas Stafford had simply been the No. 1 general decide. Once more, this group seemed thrilling and would possibly finally ship three Corridor of Famers to Canton, however our 2022 class tasks to play higher.

We talked by divisions full of huge names. Which divisions have truly had essentially the most productive beginning quarterbacks?


Argument No. 2: The very best QB divisions ever

Because it seems, there are 15 cases of a division with starters who posted a mean ANY/A+ of 113 or higher. Let’s run by these pairings, beginning with one of the best:

NFC West, 1989: 119.0 The NFC West had two Corridor of Fame quarterbacks, however they have been on the identical crew in San Francisco: Joe Montana and Steve Young. Montana was the starter right here; he posted a 143 ANY/A to one way or the other win his first MVP Award at 33. Like our fashionable AFC West, there was a younger QB in Los Angeles, as Jim Everett led the league in landing passes for the second consecutive season.

The Falcons and Saints, then inexplicably taking part in within the Western Division, additionally fielded above-average starters in Chris Miller and Bobby Hebert. Even if you wish to forged Mahomes as Montana and Herbert as Everett, Wilson is a way more thrilling choice than both Hebert or Miller, who have been extra like Carr. This was one of the best division in league historical past, and the fashionable AFC West feels prefer it might be even higher.

NFC West, 1992: 119.0 Three years later, the West repeated the feat whereas swapping out its star quarterback. This time, Younger obtained his first full season with the beginning job in San Francisco and gained league MVP. Hebert posted a 118 ANY/A+ for the 12-4 Saints, however they have been carried extra by their league-best protection than the offense. Miller (114) and Everett (105) have been additionally effectively above common. You possibly can decide between the 1989 or 1992 variations, however I’d argue the fashionable AFC West may recreate this efficiency if issues go effectively.

AFC Central, 1988: 116.5. There’s one other MVP season within the combine right here. The star was Boomer Esiason, who adopted a Professional Bowl nod in 1986 and a down season in 1987 by successful league MVP and pushing the Bengals to the Tremendous Bowl. Warren Moon, the division’s lone Corridor of Famer, was fifth in MVP balloting regardless of lacking 5 video games for the Oilers.

Accidents have been a priority elsewhere, too. Bernie Kosar qualifies as our starter for the Browns and posted an above-average ANY/A+, however he suited up for under 9 video games. The Steelers obtained a middling 13 begins from Bubby Brister. The highs have been excessive right here with Esiason and Moon, however Esiason was the one one to finish a whole season.

AFC West, 2004: 116.3. This was a enjoyable one. In San Diego, the Chargers began future Corridor of Famer Drew Brees, whose breakout season stored rookie Philip Rivers and a 42-year-old Doug Flutie on the bench. Brees had been on the verge of shedding his job, however he posted a 129 ANY/A+ and was a starter for the subsequent 15 years.

The remainder of the division was extra good than nice, however they have been all comparatively wholesome and performed good-to-very good soccer. Trent Green posted a 120 ANY/A+ for the Chiefs, who completed second within the league in scoring. Jake Plummer was at 117 for the Broncos, who obtained 1,000-yard seasons out of Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie. Kerry Collins was a step down for the Raiders, however even he managed a 99 ANY/A+ in taking on for Rich Gannon. This group may not have seemed dominant heading into the season, however the gamers delivered.

AFC South, 2004: 115.8. Sure, two of the 5 greatest performances by this measure in fashionable league historical past got here in the identical season. The South was actually a one-man present, as Peyton Manning gained his second consecutive MVP Award. He threw for 4,557 yards, 49 touchdowns and led the league in each yards per try class. His 153 ANY/A+ remains to be one of the best mark in league historical past, simply forward of Marino’s 1984 marketing campaign (150).

The remainder of the division was narrowly above common. Byron Leftwich (Jaguars), David Carr (Texans) and Billy Volek (Titans) every posted ANY/A+ marks between 103 and 104, with the latter quarterback filling in for an injured Steve McNair. That is a unique form of division than the one we anticipate on this 12 months’s AFC South, however while you get among the best seasons in soccer historical past, common throughout the board elsewhere goes a great distance.

NFC West, 1991: 115.5. The George Seifert-era 49ers are again once more, however this time, Steve Young was restricted to 10 begins by a knee harm and was changed by backup Steve Bono. San Francisco truly missed the postseason regardless of going 10-6 and having Younger publish a 140 ANY/A+ when wholesome.

The remainder of the division was a serious step down, as Miller’s 113 ANY/A+ was the one different above-average full season. Former Cowboys supplemental first-rounder Steve Walsh was stable in New Orleans, however he began solely seven video games. Everett, coming off his first Professional Bowl nod, was disappointing in posting a 97 ANY/A+ for the Rams. With Younger and Walsh taking part in solely partial seasons, this one seems higher by the speed stats than it did in actuality.

NFC South, 2008: 115.3. Brees is again, however this time his Saints completed in final place regardless of going 8-8. The star quarterback wasn’t accountable, as he made it to the Professional Bowl and posted a 126 ANY/A+. He started what would finally grow to be essentially the most energetic quarterback rivalry in NFL historical past with Matt Ryan, whose 116 ANY/A+ was among the best rookie seasons in league historical past.

Ryan’s Falcons made the playoffs, as did the Panthers and longtime quarterback Jake Delhomme, who posted a 113 ANY/A+ and completed second in Comeback Participant of the Yr balloting. Jeff Garcia, who began 11 video games for the Bucs, rounded the division up at an ANY/A+ of 110. There was no actually transcendent season on this pack, however all people was effectively above common.

NFC Central, 1995: 114.6. We mentioned this division earlier; it is one of the best five-team division for the reason that merger.

AFC East, 2002: 114.5. Contemplating that is the one season through which Tom Brady began multiple recreation and did not make it to the playoffs, the quarterbacks wanted to be fairly good. Brady threw 28 landing passes in his second season as a starter, however the stars have been elsewhere. Drew Bledsoe, traded to the Payments, made it to the Professional Bowl with a 107 ANY/A+. Chad Pennington, getting the primary significant motion of his professional profession for the Jets, led the league in passer score and posted a 134 ANY/A+ in a uncommon wholesome season.

This could have been one of many key rivalries in Brady’s profession, however Pennington suffered a wrist harm the next preseason and performed solely two extra full seasons as a professional, successful Comeback Participant of the Yr each occasions. Jay Fiedler, who break up time with Ray Lucas in Miami, stuffed out the pack. Bledsoe-Brady-Pennington was an underrated trio.

AFC South, 2020: 114.5. The … AFC South? In 2020? Sure. The Texans went 4-12, however Deshaun Watson posted a 125 ANY/A+ in what could be his remaining season with the franchise. Rivers, coming over from the Chargers, wasn’t far behind with a 121 ANY/A+ for the Colts. And Ryan Tannehill did not throw the ball typically for the Titans, however the ruthless effectivity of their play-action assault delivered a 125 ANY/A+, as he averaged almost 9 yards per try.

Gardner Minshew qualifies because the starter for the Jags and posted a league-average ANY/A+, though he served because the lead passer for under eight video games. I think most individuals would anticipate the present AFC West to look quite a bit higher than the 2020 South, a minimum of on paper.

NFC East, 1970: 114.0. We talked about this group earlier. Fran Tarkenton (Giants) and Sonny Jurgensen (Washington) have been excellent, whereas Craig Morton (Cowboys) most likely ought to have been an MVP candidate. He managed to maintain Roger Staubach, a future Corridor of Famer, on the bench. Jim Hart (Cardinals) and Norm Snead (Eagles), the opposite two starters within the East, have been additionally round league-average.

NFC South, 2018: 113.4 Quick-forward 48 years to an awesome season from Brees, who posted one of the best completion share in league historical past (74.8%). Ryan threw 35 landing passes towards simply seven picks, solely to be let down by one of many league’s worst defenses. Cam Newton broke down within the second half, and Jameis Winston break up time with Ryan Fitzpatrick in Tampa Bay, however they have been each at or simply above league common. With Brees and two former MVPs, this division had loads of expertise.

NFC East, 2006: 113.5 This division would possibly ship three passers to the Corridor of Very Good, but it surely wasn’t pretty much as good of a 12 months because it appeared. In Dallas, Tony Romo took over for a disappointing Bledsoe and have become a folks hero earlier than his botched hold in a playoff loss. Donovan McNabb (Eagles) was restricted to 10 begins by a torn ACL. Eli Manning (Giants) and Mark Brunell (Washington) began full seasons, however Manning was below-average, posting a 93 ANY/A+. One 12 months later, he could be a Super Bowl champion.

AFC South, 2009: 113.3 This was Peyton’s final nice season for the Colts, as Indy began 14-0 earlier than eradicating Manning within the second half in Week 16 towards the Jets, who promptly got here again to win. Indy would finally get revenge over Rex Ryan & Co. within the postseason, solely to lose within the Tremendous Bowl to the Saints.

Manning got here in simply forward of Matt Schaub (Texans), who posted a 121 ANY/A+ and led the league in passing yards throughout his first 16-game season. Vince Young (109) and David Garrard (101) have been additionally barely above common, though Younger break up time with Collins in Tennessee. Garrard did sufficient for the Jaguars to make his lone journey to the Professional Bowl, though he’d be out of soccer after the next season.

NFC Central, 1998: 113.0 This was one other spectacular five-quarterback efficiency, though it was primarily pushed by three full-time starters. Brett Favre wasn’t fairly pretty much as good for the Packers as he had been throughout his MVP run, however Randall Cunningham gained the job in Minnesota and led the league in passer score. His 140 ANY/A+ was one of the vital gorgeous performances in league historical past, on condition that he had briefly retired two years earlier.

Dilfer was proper round league common for the Bucs, one 12 months after making it to the Professional Bowl. Rookie Lions passer Charlie Batch and veteran Bears starter Erik Kramer have been each in an identical ballpark, though they every break up time. This one would haven’t seemed spectacular on paper, however with Cunningham forming an immediate partnership with rookie sensation Randy Moss, the Central exceeded expectations.

AFC West, 2002: 113.0 Let’s end with one other division through which all 4 groups have been .500 or higher. The very best crew within the West was in Oakland, the place Rich Gannon led the league in passing yards, posted a 126 ANY/A+ and gained MVP. The post-Jon Gruden Raiders superior all the way in which to the Tremendous Bowl earlier than being blown out by the Buccaneers, with Gannon throwing five interceptions, together with three pick-sixes.

He truly did not publish one of the best ANY/A+ within the division, as over in Kansas Metropolis, Inexperienced’s 128 mark led the league. Priest Holmes obtained extra consideration than Inexperienced after he racked up greater than 2,200 yards from scrimmage, however the Chiefs have been the league’s most devastating offense. Their protection completed twenty eighth in factors allowed, so that they went 8-8. Brees was slightly below league-average in his rookie season for the Chargers, whereas Brian Griese was simply above it in his remaining marketing campaign for the Broncos.


How do they examine to the 2022 AFC West?

On paper, I can not discover a division that matches up with the résumés and prime seasons of the 4 guys within the AFC West. Once we’ve had a number of Corridor of Famers in a division, there have been too many occasions through which one among them has been effectively previous his prime. The lesser groups within the division have struggled by a number of replacement-level passers. To have each the ceiling of gamers equivalent to Mahomes and a flooring the place all 4 starters venture to be effectively above common is extraordinarily uncommon, if not unprecedented altogether.

Naturally, a projection doesn’t suggest we are able to crown the West simply but. Quarterbacks may get injured. Wilson may take time to construct chemistry along with his new teammates. Mahomes simply lost his best wide receiver. Carr shall be working in a brand new offense. Herbert performs for a corporation whose stars seem like cursed most years.

Hopefully, we get 17 video games at every quarterback’s established degree of play. If we do, the outcomes might be historic.

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