Greatest QB Season ever? Dan Marino’s 1984!

EJay

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FWIW, here’s a statistical look how Marino’s ’84 and Warner’s ‘99 seasons compare:

Marino: 5,084 pass yards, 362 comp, 64.2%, 14.0 ypc, 48 TD’s, 17 INT, 108.9 rating, MVP, 16-3 team record

Warner: 4,353 pass yards, 325 comp, 65.1%, 13.4 ypc, 41 TD’s, 13 INT, 109.2 rating, MVP, 16-3 team record (+SB)

Marino’s is clearly better in terms of yardage and TD’s, but Warner threw fewer INT’s and had a tad higher rating.

So, I don’t see how you can’t view them as comparable. They are very comparable.

I just feel it was a little tougher for Marino to accomplish what he did in 1984 and he didn’t have as many weapons at his disposal as Warner did. Which is why he his ‘84 season should be considered the very best.
 
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Goin' Deep

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How good was that Pittsburgh team to have gotten that far with Mark Malone at QB? What a lot of Miami fans might not know was that David Woodley was the backup on that team. He was the reason I became a Dolfan, despite how mediocre he was.
I think Woodley was their starter for the first half of the year, iirc.
 

BlueFin

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Personally, other than the playoffs I didn't get to see many games, having grown up in CA in Oak/SF territory.

I think, other than the SB, the game that stood out most that season was the AFCCG. How good was that Pittsburgh team to have gotten that far with Mark Malone at QB? What a lot of Miami fans might not know was that David Woodley was the backup on that team. He was the reason I became a Dolfan, despite how mediocre he was.
I think your mistaken Joe....Woodley’s last season in Miami was 1983....Marino’s rookie year..

In 1984 Don Strock backed up Marino.
 

Ozfin

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I think your mistaken Joe....Woodley’s last season in Miami was 1983....Marino’s rookie year..

In 1984 Don Strock backed up Marino.
Yes you are correct Blue regards Strock but I think Joe was referring to Woodley as back to Malone.
 

PhinFan1968

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Absolutely. There have been a few contenders, but when you consider just how dominant it was compared to the standard, there's no argument.
 

BlueFin

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Absolutely. There have been a few contenders, but when you consider just how dominant it was compared to the standard, there's no argument.
What gets lost in time is the conditions in which he accomplished the records...the rules in place and how far he exceeded the norm at the time.

Marino was so accurate that today’s game would seem easy to him by comparison.

That why many, including people like Charlie Casserly that saw both eras....know he would post 6000 yards and 60 touchdowns in today’s game.
 
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the beginning of the end of Dolphins dominance in the division (although maybe that began in the 1985 AFC championship).
The '85 playoffs marked the end of the Dolphins and Raiders as any kind of factor in the NFL. Both lost to the Pats in back to back postseason weeks (not that this is the cause) but it's really amazing how both teams fell apart from then on. The Raiders had to deal with bad QB play and an older team while John Elway started reaching his peak in the division and conference whereas the Dolphins under Shula just didn't have the supporting cast to get Dan a championship. Think about it: Dan Marino in years 4, 5, 6 and 7 doesn't sniff the playoffs. How can that be? Miami should have been torching teams at that point.
 

Adam Strange

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The '85 playoffs marked the end of the Dolphins and Raiders as any kind of factor in the NFL. Both lost to the Pats in back to back postseason weeks (not that this is the cause) but it's really amazing how both teams fell apart from then on. The Raiders had to deal with bad QB play and an older team while John Elway started reaching his peak in the division and conference whereas the Dolphins under Shula just didn't have the supporting cast to get Dan a championship. Think about it: Dan Marino in years 4, 5, 6 and 7 doesn't sniff the playoffs. How can that be? Miami should have been torching teams at that point.
Interesting that you bring up the Raiders with this observation. You’re right, but also interesting is how eerily they paralleled the Dolphins between 1985-1990.

The Raiders lost at home to the Patriots, as you stated, in 1985. They were then out of contention for the rest of the 80s (two 8-8 seasons and two below .500) before bouncing back with a 12-4 season in 1990 (then getting trounced by the Bills in Buffalo for the AFC championship that season). Miami also spent the late 80s in the doldrums, burst out of the gate into the 90s with a 12-4 season and a run in the playoffs.

Their fates continued to be intertwined as the Bills eliminated the Dolphins in the Buffalo snow the week before steamrolling the Raiders.
 
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Digital

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It's hard for young fans to understand just how impressive this was. Dan Marino threw for 48 TD's when the next highest guy only had 36 TD's. Marino had 133% of the TD's of the next-highest guy in the entire league. Pat Mahomes threw for 50 TD's recently and was MVP of the league, and instantly hailed as potentially the greatest QB of all time. It would be like someone in that same season throwing for 67 TD's ... shattering the previous record. No disrespect to Mahomes--who is an extraordinary QB and destined for greatness IMHO--but what Dan Marino did was THE Masterclass at the position.

Marino threw for 48 TD's in an era when it was tremendously harder to throw TD's. Pass rushers made their careers off of ending QB careers .... and it was legal. When the QB dropped back, he was head hunted by every DE/OLB and blitzer. It wasn't an occasional helmet-to-helmet hit ... it was every play. They went for the big hit over the sack, because if they could knock the guy out for an entire season, they regularly got bounties and notoriety and far bigger contracts. And the QB's were not allowed to throw the ball away like they are today. Tom Brady would have retired or been out from injury by age 35, forget playing into his 40's, he'd be a broken shell long before that. The only play today that even comes close to the life of a QB in the pocket, would be Punt Returner if he was never allowed to fair catch. Guys rushing full speed with the objective of making the most violent hit possible, and the returner expected to make the magical play. If today's small QB's were asked to return 40 punts a game ... they simply wouldn't finish the season. That was how it was to play QB in Dan Marino's era. Defenders using their helmets as weapons and their bodies as missles? Yes, that was the basic plan and expectation. Helmet to helmet contact? All the time. Guys aiming to take out a QB's knees and end his career? Yes, frequently. You gotta remember ... all of this was legal back then.

DB's that were allowed to mug WR's everywhere on the field--full on double fisted jersey and shoulder grab type muggings far worse than 90% of the Pass Interference calls you see today. The reason all the WR's back then were small and all the WR's now are gargantuan targets is that the rules changed. In Marino's era, no big WR would ever create separation, because the DB would simply hop onto him like a backpack and every target he got would be contested. So, the WR's were all like Jakeem Grant, super-quick guys who sometimes got held up at the line of scrimmage, but other times were able to create separation. WR's were open a lot less back then, because of the rules. And the QB needed to have far better accuracy, because the wingspan, hands, and window those small WR's presented was far smaller than it is now. Today's bigger WR's don't need to worry about DB's really, because after the first few yards the rules require the DB's let go of the WR's ... which makes it 10,000% easier to create separation because all the DB is allowed to do today is run near you ... not really cling to you like a backpack. So, WR's don't even worry about it. The bigger WR's are strong enough to push through the "press" coverage of today--which is laughable compared to the muggings DB's used to be able to impose. The big WR's of today are playing flag football out there, and their big catch radius make them much, much, much easier to hit. I'm a DeVante Parker fan, but he wouldn't have cut it back then, because he couldn't ever create any separation. The DB's would have hopped on for the ride. Sure, Larry Fitzgerald would have still made it work, but every catch is contested, so the QB simply cannot make even the tinniest mistake or it's an INT.

These are the reasons why the great Pittsburgh Steelers DB Rod Woodson always says things like "If Dan Marino played today he would throw 70 TD's in a season." Young fans dismiss that as hyperbole ... but Woodson is being serious. Playing QB today is like hunting fish in a barrel with a fully automatic machine gun. We don't really know exactly how today's guys would have fared back then. We know the small guys would have been destroyed physically. (Marino was 6'5 and 230 lbs, listed as 6'4.5 and 225 lbs). Guys who are 5'11 and 200 lbs would be crushed back then, no matter how seldom they got hit. And to survive, they would need to throw the ball away a LOT more, which means their completion percentage would go down by somewhere in the range of 7-10%.

The game wasn't "slower" or "easier" like some naiive fans think. The game was different. More physical, more physically demanding, far more violent, and much more dangerous for QB's. Heck, most young fans only know Dieon Sanders from his commentators days. He's a "historic figure" to most of them. So many do not know that he's the fastest CB that the NFL has ever seen, running a 4.21. He could play in any system in any era and dominate. At the CB position, Sanders is the GOAT, despite not playing recently. Because while the game changed ... humans didn't evolve significantly in only a few decades.
 
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royalshank

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It's hard for young fans to understand just how impressive this was. Dan Marino threw for 48 TD's when the next highest guy only had 36 TD's. Marino had 133% of the TD's of the next-highest guy in the entire league. Pat Mahomes threw for 50 TD's recently and was MVP of the league, and instantly hailed as potentially the greatest QB of all time. It would be like someone in that same season throwing for 67 TD's ... shattering the previous record. No disrespect to Mahomes--who is an extraordinary QB and destined for greatness IMHO--but what Dan Marino did was THE Masterclass at the position.

Marino threw for 48 TD's in an era when it was tremendously harder to throw TD's. Pass rushers made their careers off of ending QB careers .... and it was legal. When the QB dropped back, he was head hunted by every DE/OLB and blitzer. It wasn't an occasional helmet-to-helmet hit ... it was every play. They went for the big hit over the sack, because if they could knock the guy out for an entire season, they regularly got bounties and notoriety and far bigger contracts. And the QB's were not allowed to throw the ball away like they are today. Tom Brady would have retired or been out from injury by age 35, forget playing into his 40's, he'd be a broken shell long before that. The only play today that even comes close to the life of a QB in the pocket, would be Punt Returner if he was never allowed to fair catch. Guys rushing full speed with the objective of making the most violent hit possible, and the returner expected to make the magical play. If today's small QB's were asked to return 40 punts a game ... they simply wouldn't finish the season. That was how it was to play QB in Dan Marino's era. Defenders using their helmets as weapons and their bodies as missles? Yes, that was the basic plan and expectation. Helmet to helmet contact? All the time. Guys aiming to take out a QB's knees and end his career? Yes, frequently. You gotta remember ... all of this was legal back then.

DB's that were allowed to mug WR's everywhere on the field--full on double fisted jersey and shoulder grab type muggings far worse than 90% of the Pass Interference calls you see today. The reason all the WR's back then were small and all the WR's now are gargantuan targets is that the rules changed. In Marino's era, no big WR would ever create separation, because the DB would simply hop onto him like a backpack and every target he got would be contested. So, the WR's were all like Jakeem Grant, super-quick guys who sometimes got held up at the line of scrimmage, but other times were able to create separation. WR's were open a lot less back then, because of the rules. And the QB needed to have far better accuracy, because the wingspan, hands, and window those small WR's presented was far smaller than it is now. Today's bigger WR's don't need to worry about DB's really, because after the first few yards the rules require the DB's let go of the WR's ... which makes it 10,000% easier to create separation because all the DB is allowed to do today is run near you ... not really cling to you like a backpack. So, WR's don't even worry about it. The bigger WR's are strong enough to push through the "press" coverage of today--which is laughable compared to the muggings DB's used to be able to impose. The big WR's of today are playing flag football out there, and their big catch radius make them much, much, much easier to hit. I'm a DeVante Parker fan, but he wouldn't have cut it back then, because he couldn't ever create any separation. The DB's would have hopped on for the ride. Sure, Larry Fitzgerald would have still made it work, but every catch is contested, so the QB simply cannot make even the tinniest mistake or it's an INT.

These are the reasons why the great Pittsburgh Steelers DB Rod Woodson always says things like "If Dan Marino played today he would throw 70 TD's in a season." Young fans dismiss that as hyperbole ... but Woodson is being serious. Playing QB today is like hunting fish in a barrel with a fully automatic machine gun. We don't really know exactly how today's guys would have fared back then. We know the small guys would have been destroyed physically. (Marino was 6'5 and 230 lbs, listed as 6'4.5 and 225 lbs). Guys who are 5'11 and 200 lbs would be crushed back then, no matter how seldom they got hit. And to survive, they would need to throw the ball away a LOT more, which means their completion percentage would go down by somewhere in the range of 7-10%.

The game wasn't "slower" or "easier" like some naiive fans think. The game was different. More physical, more physically demanding, far more violent, and much more dangerous for QB's. Heck, most young fans only know Dieon Sanders from his commentators days. He's a "historic figure" to most of them. So many do not know that he's the fastest CB that the NFL has ever seen, running a 4.21. He could play in any system in any era and dominate. At the CB position, Sanders is the GOAT, despite not playing recently. Because while the game changed ... humans didn't evolve significantly in only a few decades.
If anyone watches clips of the SB vs San Fran you can see Dan getting knocked on his *** on every throw - many would have been late hits today.
 

Digital

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If anyone watches clips of the SB vs San Fran you can see Dan getting knocked on his *** on every throw - many would have been late hits today.
Most fans are unaware that the reason we have those QB-friendly rules today is in large part because of Don Shula and Dan Marino. The person on the Rules Committee who was always pushing for more offense, better WR-friendly rules, more QB-safety rules, was none other than Don Shula. When the NFL saw how the ratings spiked when they had great aerial passers like Dan Marino, Dan Fouts, Jim Kelly, John Elway, and Joe Montana ... it started to shift towards Don Shula's perspective that a more offensive-oriented rule set was a good thing.
 

BlueFin

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The '85 playoffs marked the end of the Dolphins and Raiders as any kind of factor in the NFL. Both lost to the Pats in back to back postseason weeks (not that this is the cause) but it's really amazing how both teams fell apart from then on. The Raiders had to deal with bad QB play and an older team while John Elway started reaching his peak in the division and conference whereas the Dolphins under Shula just didn't have the supporting cast to get Dan a championship. Think about it: Dan Marino in years 4, 5, 6 and 7 doesn't sniff the playoffs. How can that be? Miami should have been torching teams at that point.
Not really true....The early 90’s Dolphins were a top 5 team At times, reaching the AFC championship game once...only a Great Buffalo team diminished their impact.

Consequently....A missed field goal and an even greater Dallas dynasty diminished Buffalo’s accomplishments.
 
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Not really true....The early 90’s Dolphins were a top 5 team At times, reaching the AFC championship game once...only a Great Buffalo team diminished their impact.
Totally true. I said nothing that isn't confirmed by looking at their achievements since 1985. What? Two early 90s seasons where they post a decent record but the Bills torched them in the playoffs? Do you know what happens to us if we get there vs the Giants and Cowboys? Ouch! Seriously......the franchise was done after the '85 playoffs when you look at their relevance in the division and the league. And they shouldn't have been with Dan Marino playing out the '80s and '90s with us. Such a shame that was his fate and that the team has had no answer at QB and head coach since then. I have some hope for this new decade but will needless to say take a cautious approach as far as the expectations.
 

Goin' Deep

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Totally true. I said nothing that isn't confirmed by looking at their achievements since 1985. What? Two early 90s seasons where they post a decent record but the Bills torched them in the playoffs? Do you know what happens to us if we get there vs the Giants and Cowboys? Ouch
I'd take my chances again with that '90 team vs the Giants. We lost to them 20-3 in the Meadowlands, week 3. Marino and the offense turned it over three times.
 
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