Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert have thrown for 5,000 yards in the NFL regular season, but can they — or anyone else — surpass 6,000 passing yards? Well, Hall of Famer Dan Marino thinks he could have.
“Yes, we’d throw for 6,000 yards,” Marino said on Thursday’s edition of the “This is Football” podcast. “Defenses in the middle of my career and then towards the end, they got a little more complex and guys do a lot more things now as far as blitzing and changing personnel and all that than I did earlier in my career; later in my career, I had to deal with it. It would be a lot of fun, so that’s why we’re trying to unretire here, so I can come back and throw for 6,000 yards.”
Marino, a nine-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro and the 1984 NFL MVP, led the sport in passing yards five times, as well as in passing touchdowns three times across his 17-year NFL career (1983-99), which was spent entirely with the Miami Dolphins.
He’s seventh all-time among NFL quarterbacks in passing touchdowns (420), eighth in passing yards (61,361) and ninth in completed passes (4,967). Marino’s best season was arguably his second in the sport (1984), when he threw for an NFL-best 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns and helped the Dolphins go 14-2 and reach the Super Bowl.
Marino feels that the sport’s modern-day rules would bode well for him.
“You can’t hit the quarterback the way you used to. You can’t get a shot in the head, you can’t go under your knees, and that’s a good thing I think because when I played you were allowed to do that, and players could take shots at you,” Marino said. “That and then the fact that as far as down the field, the PIs, they’ll get more calls now. They used to be able to touch you down the field even after five yards even though that was the rule, they (were) more physical, and there’s a lot of guys that could tell you that same thing that it changed in that way.”
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Miami’s current quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, is on pace (albeit on a very small sample size) to throw for 7,922 yards after totaling 466 yards in the Dolphins’ thrilling 36-34 road victory against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1. Alright, that’s probably not going to happen, but Tagovailoa has a pair of explosive wide receivers to look for downfield in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, who would each surely do well with Marino as their quarterback.
Peyton Manning holds the NFL record for passing yards in a single season, throwing for 5,477 yards with the Denver Broncos in 2013. Drew Brees is a hair behind Manning in second, as he threw for 5,476 yards with the New Orleans Saints in 2011, followed by Tom Brady throwing for 5,316 yards with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021 — albeit it was with a 17-game regular season.
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