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TheDirtyWord

Just How ‘Sick’ Was Dan Marino? Here's How Sick...

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When we talk QB’s, particularly ones who started their careers in the 21st century, the notion of comparing them to their 20th century counterparts from a production standpoint is almost fruitless.  The game has changes so much in the last 20-25 years, that the idea of saying ‘Ben Roethlisberger is 6th all-time in career passing yards’ doesn’t really acknowledge the changing nature of the NFL.

But there is one QB who despite how the NFL has morphed into a ‘bombs away/throw it 60% of the time’ type league who maintains his place amongst the statistical greats of today: Dan Marino.

It feels like the blemish on his resume (not winning a SB) somewhat overshadows the unreal career he had.  If you consider that his signature 1984 season where he put this statline up:

362 Completions
564 Attempts
5084 Yards
48 TD’s
17 INT’s

…compares favorably with the amazing season Pat Mahomes just exploded onto the scene with:

383 Completions
580 Attempts
5097 Yards
50 TD’s
12 INT’s

…it’s tough to comprehend just how ahead of the game Marino was.  So I sought to undertake an exercise.  What would Marino’s career look like statistically had he played in this era?

I wanted to compare him to Matt Ryan.  While Ryan doesn’t get a lot of buzz, through his first 11 seasons in the NFL, Ryan has thrown for more yards than any other QB through their first 11 seasons.  But again, on that sliding scale of 'yards accumulation' becoming easier by the season, how impressive this is, is debatable.  So, here was my step-by-step process.

Step 1: What was the average passing season for each NFL team since 2008, when Ryan entered the NFL; Completions, Attempts, Yards, TD, INT's

Step 2: Break those totals down to an average season and then average game over the course of 11 seasons.

Step 3: Calculate Matt Ryan’s per game averages over that same period

Here is how Ryan has performed over the average ‘passing game’ during his career to date:

8.28% more completions than average
3.38% more attempts than average
9.54% more yards than average
13.03% more TD’s than average
19.24% lower INT rate than average

All in all, we’ve watched Ryan play.  He’s consistently been an upper echelon QB below the elite tier of QB’s widely acknowledged as all-timers. 

Step 4: Calculate Dan Marino’s per game average during his first 12 seasons in the NFL.  I did this because a) Marino only started 9 games his rookie season b) in his 11th season, he tore his Achilles and missed 11 c) after 1994, he was really a shell of the QB he’d been. 

So taking those conditions into account, here is how Marino performed over the average ‘passing game’ during that similar career stretch.

22.68% more completions than average
15.59% more attempts than average
35.36% more yards than average
53.49% more TD’s than average
17.73 lower INT% than average

So the ultimate question is this on Marino.  If you took his per game averages over the first 11 years of his career, extrapolated the degree by which he exceeded league averages during his career…what would his 16 game averages look like if he played from 2008-2018.

This…for 11 seasons…   🤩

413 Completions
624 Attempts
66.2% Completion Rate
8.33 YPA
5199 Yards
36 TD’s
12 INT’s

...this includes his rookie year!!  So if you consider that there are guys like Mahomes, Rodgers, Rivers who sat at least one year, Marino didn't even get that benefit.  The only QB who really comes close to that is Brees...and his best 11 year stretch is his most recent, so really, byt the time we start counting, Brees is a 7 year veteran:

432 Completions
626 Attempts
7.87 YPA
4925 Yards
35 TD's
14 INT's

Know we had a Top 10 QB's thread last week.  But Marino gets glossed over a lot.  He was boss.

 

Edited by TheDirtyWord
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A for effort.  A+ for showing your work.  Good stuff. 

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19 minutes ago, Dr. Octopus said:

He's a ####.

No, no the OP said "sick."

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What a bummer Marino never won a SB, he should own 3/4 rings.  I blame his defense.

But he did a lot going for him, obviously Don Shula, and a great gang of receivers in RB Tony Nathan who was catching 50ish passes out of the backfield, he had the quick darting Mark Clayton and the 9.4 sprinter Mark Duper.  And, the Dolphins in a ton of games where they had to throw to get back into it.

Not that Marino wouldn't have been great on any team in any situation, yep, a special talent.

Heading into 2018 he was ranked....

Five in TD passes and will stay there awhile, his 420 will hang over Rivers with 360 something (not sure what he had this season)

In yards he's five there also and his 61, 361 is way out there from Eli at 51, 682. (I don't see him passing Marino) or Big Ben or Rivers..

With his quick release the fact he was not mobile wouldn't matter much today, the ball would be gone so fast even if throwing it away.

Brady, Montana, Peyton, Brees..............then the debate beigins, Otto? Johnny U? Marino?

 

Edited by ZenoRazon

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I had the pleasure of being a season ticket holder during The Marino era and it’s hard to really understand his ability. While Montana and Brady will always be considered “better” bc of the hardware, neither of them was Marino. Manning and Brees remind me the most of him and Mahomes is Marino with mobility. 

It really is a shame the Achilles injury kind of screwed him, and even worse that a year after he retired we could have simply drafted Brees instead of this revolving door of coaches and qbs. 

He shredded the bears 46 defense. Really only the 85 niners ever stopped  him in his prime. Shula will go down as one of the all time greats, but the fact he couldn’t give Marino even an average defense is a crime. 

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3 hours ago, Gatorman said:

I had the pleasure of being a season ticket holder during The Marino era and it’s hard to really understand his ability. While Montana and Brady will always be considered “better” bc of the hardware, neither of them was Marino. Manning and Brees remind me the most of him and Mahomes is Marino with mobility. 

It really is a shame the Achilles injury kind of screwed him, and even worse that a year after he retired we could have simply drafted Brees instead of this revolving door of coaches and qbs. 

He shredded the bears 46 defense. Really only the 85 niners ever stopped  him in his prime. Shula will go down as one of the all time greats, but the fact he couldn’t give Marino even an average defense is a crime. 

Or a running game. I think Marino still holds the record for passes w/o an INT, something close to 800 passes. 

My only knock on Marino besides coming off as a colossal Richard is he didn't have very much touch on his short passes, specifically to the RBs. 

 

Check out this 40 yard behind the back spiral

Edited by STEADYMOBBIN 22
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Some of my earliest Pats fan memories are of Marino and the Marks bros abusing them...Ronnie Lippett and Freddie Marion chasing them around. Wasn’t fair.

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Fun exercise. How does Marino’s / Miami’s run/pass play call mix compare to other teams of that era and today? 

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Given the changes in rules, era adjusted stats are always the most fair comparison.

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On 1/30/2019 at 5:36 AM, Gatorman said:

It really is a shame the Achilles injury kind of screwed him, and even worse that a year after he retired we could have simply drafted Brees instead of this revolving door of coaches and qbs. 

Jamar Fletcher.  That's who they took instead.  I remember because I literally threw my shoe at the TV when they announced the picks.

And then to add insult to injury a few years later they chose Culpepper over Brees in free agency because they were scared of Brees' shoulder.

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23 hours ago, FreeBaGeL said:

Jamar Fletcher.  That's who they took instead.  I remember because I literally threw my shoe at the TV when they announced the picks.

And then to add insult to injury a few years later they chose Culpepper over Brees in free agency because they were scared of Brees' shoulder.

They chose to trade a 2nd for Culpepper rather than just sign Brees. Thanks, Saban.

Marino was amazing to watch when I started watching football in the early 90s as a kid. It's thanks (?) To him I've been a huge dolphins fan since then.

Edited by jtd13

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15 minutes ago, SeniorVBDStudent said:

The fact that Marino put up those numbers in 1984 before the league turned into a quarterback princess league is mind boggling.

 

Agreed.

I'd like to see Marino compared to his peers in 1984 (or over his career) vs Brees (or whomever) during their career.  For example, Marino threw 48 TDs in 1984 and 2nd most that year was 32 (Dave Krieg) - 50% more!   Mahomes had 50 this year, second was Luck with 39 for a lame ;) 28% more.

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My favorite "personal" Marino story.  It was 1992 (i think) and my best friend was a huge Phins fan and convinced me to see them play the Saints (we were both in college in Louisiana).  We got there early and had decent seats (for the endzone) and the Dolphins were warming up at our end.  Marino was standing about the 45 yard line and goofing around throwing 40 yard dimes - behind his back.  Just flicking the ball behind his back on a line, right to the receiver.  Dude had a cannon.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Hov34 said:

 

My favorite "personal" Marino story.  It was 1992 (i think) and my best friend was a huge Phins fan and convinced me to see them play the Saints (we were both in college in Louisiana).  We got there early and had decent seats (for the endzone) and the Dolphins were warming up at our end.  Marino was standing about the 45 yard line and goofing around throwing 40 yard dimes - behind his back.  Just flicking the ball behind his back on a line, right to the receiver.  Dude had a cannon.

 

 

 

 Check the link I posted about 5 or so posts above yours. 

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1 hour ago, STEADYMOBBIN 22 said:

 Check the link I posted about 5 or so posts above yours. 

Nice.

:bag:  Maybe I should read the thread before I post...

However, my memory is in HD.

 

 

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When I first became a big football fan was during his junior year at Pitt.  I grew up in the deep south, a Razorback,  but he quickly became my favorite player.

Year he came out I was stuck living at a boarding school most of the year. Limited TV-closer to no TV, obviously no internet yet. Boring AF.  I bought Joel Bushbaums draft guide that year and would spent a chunk of spring sitting in the back of my classes hammering out mocks where I always tried to fudge Marino to the Steelers. I tried to do my mocks legit but could not help myself, but I kept telling myself that really there is no way he lasts till the Steelers pick.

When he actually did last that far and they passed him for Gabriel Rivera I was devastated. In my entire sports fandom life that is the worst decision a favorite team of mine has ever made. Even at the end of his career when there were rumors he might play for the Steelers I was geeked up. 

I've been following NFL since 1980. I would have a hard time rating QB's from past era's I never watched. In my opinion Dan Marino is one of the 5 best QB's I've seen since time I've been watching football, easily the best one to not win a SB.

Brady, Montana, Rodgers, Marino and Favre in some order.

 

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6 hours ago, Steeler said:

Agreed.

I'd like to see Marino compared to his peers in 1984 (or over his career) vs Brees (or whomever) during their career.  For example, Marino threw 48 TDs in 1984 and 2nd most that year was 32 (Dave Krieg) - 50% more!   Mahomes had 50 this year, second was Luck with 39 for a lame ;) 28% more.

1943 Sid Luckman will always win this type of comparison. He had a 54.5% completion%(only 1 other QB was over 50 and it was Sammy Baugh) 2,194 yards and 28 TD's, averaged 10.9(!!!!) YPA, and had a 107.5 passer rating(which would still be elite today.) Then in the Championship game(because the playoffs didn't really exist yet, Luckman completed 57.7% of his passes for 286 yards and 5 TD's with 0 INT's good for a 135.6 rating. These numbers would easily win an MVP for Brady or Goff on Sunday.

Anyway, the 3rd place finisher in each category put up 50.0% 875 yards, 9 TD's, 7.3 YPA, for a 78 rating. 

If you apply the same percentage of advantage to 2018. It would have been on par with a QB having the following stat line this season:

75.8% completions

12,346 yards

108 TD's

12.6 YPA

152.84 passer rating

Basically impossible numbers.

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I remember feeling sick as I watched a man as large as Dan leave hundreds of yards on the field running out of bounds on scrambles. 😔 I was in boot camp in Georgia during Miami’s super bowl appearance. Being from the west coast and growing tired of the east coast biased and smack talk I took bets with 20 or so Marino homers with various spreads. I hate the Niners, but that was too easy. Dan had everything except intestinal and reproductive fortitude.

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20 hours ago, SeniorVBDStudent said:

The fact that Marino put up those numbers in 1984 before the league turned into a quarterback princess league is mind boggling.

 

It really is.  If he had played in the current era, where you can't breathe on the QB without drawing a flag and not having a running game isn't as much of a detriment as it was then, he could have put up even crazier numbers now than he did then (relative to his peers at the time).  

While it is hard to feel bad for the guy, given what a #### he is, it is kind of a shame that he is rarely mentioned anymore when people talk about the all-time top tier quarterbacks of all time.  I am not saying he was as great or better than Brady, Peyton, Montana or a few of the others who often get mentioned, but he should at least be in the conversation, but oh yeah, many think rings are all that matter when it comes to evaluation the position. 

Edited by Ghost Rider

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On 1/30/2019 at 10:38 AM, STEADYMOBBIN 22 said:

Or a running game. I think Marino still holds the record for passes w/o an INT, something close to 800 passes. 

My only knock on Marino besides coming off as a colossal Richard is he didn't have very much touch on his short passes, specifically to the RBs. 

 

Check out this 40 yard behind the back spiral

Man this brings back childhood memories of when football was really fun.  Maybe it’s all the rule changes and greed, or maybe it’s just me getting old, but it seems football lost this element nowadays.  Hoping these young guys like mahomes bring it back.  

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On 2/1/2019 at 3:06 PM, Steeler said:

Agreed.

I'd like to see Marino compared to his peers in 1984 (or over his career) vs Brees (or whomever) during their career.  For example, Marino threw 48 TDs in 1984 and 2nd most that year was 32 (Dave Krieg) - 50% more!   Mahomes had 50 this year, second was Luck with 39 for a lame ;) 28% more.

That 1984 season,  Marino exceeded the league average by these percentages.

Passing Yards: 54.34%

Completions: 25.69%

Attempts: 10.16%

TD’s: 118.18%

INT’s: -19.05%

...so if a QB exceeded average league production levels in 2018 to the extent Marino did in 1984, that season would look as follows:

450 Completions

608 Attempts

6283 Passing Yards

59 TD’s

11 INT’s 

 

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2 hours ago, TheDirtyWord said:

That 1984 season,  Marino exceeded the league average by these percentages.

Passing Yards: 54.34%

Completions: 25.69%

Attempts: 10.16%

TD’s: 118.18%

INT’s: -19.05%

...so if a QB exceeded average league production levels in 2018 to the extent Marino did in 1984, that season would look as follows:

450 Completions

608 Attempts

6283 Passing Yards

59 TD’s

11 INT’s 

 

Is there a way to do these in reverse? For instance, can you place somebody like Aaron Rodgers back into the 80s?

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On 2/1/2019 at 2:23 PM, jtd13 said:

They chose to trade a 2nd for Culpepper rather than just sign Brees. Thanks, Saban.

Marino was amazing to watch when I started watching football in the early 90s as a kid. It's thanks (?) To him I've been a huge dolphins fan since then.

I thought I heard Saban wanted Brees regardless of the injury but was overruled by the team doctors and GM. 

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5 hours ago, Insein said:

I thought I heard Saban wanted Brees regardless of the injury but was overruled by the team doctors and GM. 

Sounds like something Satan Saban would say.

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Marino never got to face the 85 Bears in the SB because he lost to Tony Eason and a paper Patriots team.  At home.  What more do you need to know?  He was Phillip Rivers before Phillip Rivers.

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6 hours ago, Caveman_Nick said:

Marino never got to face the 85 Bears in the SB because he lost to Tony Eason and a paper Patriots team.  At home.  What more do you need to know?  He was Phillip Rivers before Phillip Rivers.

Meh, everyone loses to weaker teams in the playoffs. The Pats had the 6th ranked D that year. Brady (with randy Moss) lost to Flacco and his 4-10 for 48 yards with a QB rating of 10.

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9 hours ago, Caveman_Nick said:

Marino never got to face the 85 Bears in the SB because he lost to Tony Eason and a paper Patriots team.  At home.  What more do you need to know?  He was Phillip Rivers before Phillip Rivers.

:fishing:

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Loved Marino. Had him on my first fantasy team in mid 90's. 

He led the each of his first 7 seasons in lowest sack percentage and 10 times total. Tied with Peyton in career sack %

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On 2/4/2019 at 10:20 PM, Caveman_Nick said:

Marino never got to face the 85 Bears in the SB because he lost to Tony Eason and a paper Patriots team.  At home.  What more do you need to know?  He was Phillip Rivers before Phillip Rivers.

He did beat those 85 Bears on MNF, the only game the Bears lost in 85.

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On 2/3/2019 at 12:31 PM, STEADYMOBBIN 22 said:

Is there a way to do these in reverse? For instance, can you place somebody like Aaron Rodgers back into the 80s?

Using what most consider to be Rodgers best season in 2011, this is what I came up with.

Average QB in 1984: 56.3% completions, 2,754 yards, 16 TD's, 15 INT's, 7.4 YPA, 78.7 rating

Average QB in 2011: 60.5% completions, 3,398 yards, 18 TD's, 13 INT's, 7.2 YPA, 82.4 rating

Using those as baseline performances, Rodgers 2011 season, if it happened in 1984 would have looked like:

63.5% completions, 3,763 yards, 40 TD's, 6 INT's, 9.4 YPA, 116.9 rating for comparisons sake, Marino in 1984 had:

64.2 completions, 5,084 yards, 48 TD's, 17 INT's, 9.0 YPA, 108.9 rating

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On 2/2/2019 at 10:30 AM, KickinT said:

I remember feeling sick as I watched a man as large as Dan leave hundreds of yards on the field running out of bounds on scrambles. 😔 I was in boot camp in Georgia during Miami’s super bowl appearance. Being from the west coast and growing tired of the east coast biased and smack talk I took bets with 20 or so Marino homers with various spreads. I hate the Niners, but that was too easy. Dan had everything except intestinal and reproductive fortitude.

You confuse stupidity with courage.

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