Kenny’s peak period as a top NFL QB was relatively brief by HoF standards-1973 to 1977 if you wish to be a bit liberal. He threw lots of interceptions even during his peak years. I loved watching him, mind, but there is a long line of QBs ahead of him.
Ricky Watters? I love Ricky but I don’t know a bout that. According to the list of all time rushers, there are probably a couple guys who should be ahead of him.
Would you believe Edgerrin James’ carries and yards are nearly identical to Marcus Allen? Allen has nearly double the TDs but I personally don’t put a lot of stock in that stat.
The QB with the most passing yards not in the HOF is Vinny Testaverde. He’s 9th all time with over 46k yards. He’s also 10th all time in TDs with 275. Now, his passer rating is pretty low at 75.0, just a tick below Stabler at 75.3. I don’t know that either really belongs in the HOF, but I’d say Vinny is the more deserving of those two.
Vinny is not deserving, but he illustrates an important point. By almost every stat, Vinny was a LOT better than numerous revered quarterbacks of the Sixties and Seventies who ARE in the Hall of Fame.
To use one example, everyone remembers Bob Griese as a guy who threw short passes with great accuracy, right?
Well, Griese’s lifetime completion percentage was 56.2%, and 5% of his throws were intercepted. By contrast, Testaverde had a career completion rate of 56.5% and only 4% of his passes were intercepted.
In other words… almost everyone perceives Griese as an all-time great, almost everyone perceives Testaverde as a mediocrity… but Testaverde was a MORE accurate passer than Griese!
It’s a LOT harder to be a great quarterback today than it once was. Stats that would have made you an All-Pro in 1975 just don’t cut it today. A modern NFL quarterback is expected to be a much more accurate passer than Roger Staubach or Kenny Stabler ever was, while facing defenses that are MUCH tougher and MUCH more complicated than any Roger or the Snake ever faced. In my youth, a quarterback with a 60% completion percentage was regarded as a wonder. Today, a quarterback who doesn’t have a 60% completion rate won’t keep his job long.
Brian Griese had BETTER career stats than his Dad in almost every way, but Bob is in the Hall of Fame and Brian never will be. The game has changed, folks!
Not a chance. Testaverde piled up those numbers only because he played for 21 years. He was a good quarterback for a long time, and a serviceable quarterback for even longer, but he was never even in the conversation for best QB in the league. He led the league in passes attempted once, and in interceptions 4 times, but never topped the charts in any of the typical offensive categories.
Stabler was an MVP, a 2-time player of the year, and led the league in TDs and completion percentage multiple times. Oakland went to the playoffs 5 of Stabler’s 7 years as their starter, including 4 trips to the conference championship and one Super Bowl victory; Testaverde played on 2 playoff teams (1998 and 2001 Jets) in 21 seasons. Stabler’s record as a starting QB was 96-49-1 (.658); Testaverde’s was 90-123-1 (.421). Stabler’s career 75 passer rating came in seasons when the avergae rating was 65; Testaverede’s 75 came in seasons when the average rating was 76.
Testaverde piled up the numbers simply by playing as long as he did without ever hitting a hall-of-fame level. Stabler was, for a short time, the best quarterback in the NFL. There’s no comparison between the two.
Vinny’s numbers are totally a credit to his longevity, no question. It’s just kind of funny to see a top 10 guy in passing yards and passing TDs not even be remotely considered for the HOF.
As valued as career stats are in baseball, it would be unthinkable to keep a top 10 guy out of the HOF (unless the guy gambled or was suspected of using PEDs). As a side note, Harold Baines has the most hits and RBIs among HOF eligible players not connected to gambling or PEDs.
Otto Graham, Bart Starr and Johnny Unitas played 12 games a season for most of their careers, while modern quarterbacks play 16 games a season. Over the course of a 15 year career, that’s 60 extra games for Vinny and guys like him.
Passing is a much bigger part of the game than it ever was before.
Ricky Watters absolutely belongs in the Hall. The ONLY guy not in that’s even a question, to me, is LTomlinson. Everything Marshall Faulk did, Ricky did first. I believe Ricky’s not in the Hall because he told everyone how great he was and he left no doubts that he was in the game to get paid.
Apparently, the NFL went to a 14 game season in 1961, quite a bit earlier than I recalled.
But let’s look at 1964, one of Johnny Unitas’ best seasons. In 14 games, he had 305 pass attempts. In other words, he threw the ball about 22 times per game.
By contrast, last season, Tom Brady threw the ball 582 times in 16 games- roughly 36 passes per game. Peyton Manning the the ball 597 times, Drew Brees threw it 659 times (41 times a game). Even Russell Wilson, who is nowhere near as pass-happy as those other guys, threw 28 passes per game last year.
Even a mediocre quarterback in 2015 will throw the ball a LOT more than Kenny Stabler or Terry Bradshaw did.
Exactly so. Rules changes in the 1970s and later helped to open up the passing game. Combine that with near-universal adoption of the West Coast-style passing offense (valuing short, high-completion-percentage passing, and teams using the pass now in many circumstances in which they would have run in the 1950s and 1960s), and it’s virtually impossible to compare stats between the eras.
Just doing a little back-of-the-envelope math for Starr and Testaverde, using the stats on Pro Football Reference:
An “average” game for Starr (simply dividing his career numbers by his 196 career games played) was 9 completions out of 16 attempts, for 126 yards, with 0.8 TDs and 0.7 INTs.
An “average” game for Testaverde, doing the same math, was 16 out of 29 for 198 yards, with 1.2 TDs and 1.1 INTs.
Edit: astorian posted the same general idea while I was typing. :D*
Another example: Drew Bledsoe was never even considered for the Hall, and shouldn’t have been. But: Fifth in NFL history in pass attempts (6,717) and completions (3,839), seventh in passing yards (44,611), and 13th in touchdown passes (251).
Per your link, Watters’ career most resembles that of Tiki Barber. They both played 9 years and their rushing / receiving stats are very similar. Basically, I don’t think you could have one in the HOF without the other. And I don’t think of Tiki Barber as a Hall of Famer. Edgerrin James has better numbers than either of them and I don’t really consider him to be a HOFer, either.
Lamonica was only a starter for 6 seasons ('67-'72). He played very well in those seasons (5 Pro Bowls, 2 All-Pros), but I suspect that those 6 seasons may just be a few too few for some voters (it’s the Gale Sayers / Terrell Davis debate).
Can’t argue about Edge or Tiki, still disagree about Ricky. I don’t think the numbers tell the complete story. For one thing the league Tiki and Edge played in was very different than when Ricky played. I know that sounds lame. My ultimate factor is more emotional. If you have to think before saying a player is a HoFer then they’re probably not. I don’t have to think for Ricky, but a lot of people obviously do.
hell, maybe watching the 49ers kick the crap out of the Falcons so many times skewed my view.
I don’t agree at all. It is much easier to be a QB in the NFL today because of how the game has evolved. Rule changes have been enacted for the sole purpose of increasing the passing game. In era’s past, the DB’s could make contact with receivers without drawing a PI flag. And until the last two decades or so, you could hit the crap out of the QB and not get a penalty. The QB’s took a lot more wear and tear in the past. Someone like Brady would have gotten beaten up far more and likely had to retire earlier. And guys like Marino, Elway, and Montana would have even more impressive careers if they played today.