It’s obvious to anyone who knows football that the rules in the NFL have changed to make passing much easier compared to decades past. And, NFL Hall of Famer Dan Marino thinks that he would put up record-setting numbers in today’s NFL.
Of course, Dan Marino did in fact put up record-setting numbers during his time in the league, where he starred for the Miami Dolphins from 1983-1999.
When the Pitt alum retired, he had the all-time career NFL records for completions, touchdowns, and yards, among dozens of other records. Dan Marino’s 5,084 yards passing in 1984 impressively stood as the NFL record for 27 years, until Drew Brees and Tom Brady both eclipsed that number in 2011.
And, since then, passing has only become easier due to rule changes. Rules like illegal contact, defensive holding, and pass interference have been called much more frequently than in the past. Receivers are also protected by defenseless player rules, making throwing over the middle a much better proposition.
And, quarterbacks are simply protected more, as roughing the passer is called much more frequently in different situations, such as for low hits and slamming the quarterback to the ground.
During an interview with ESPN’s Kevin Clark, Clark asked Dan Marino if he would love to play in this era. And, Marino responded by saying he thought he could throw for 6,000 yards. Take a look.
I asked Dan Marino if he’d put up 6,000 yards if he played in this era 👀. pic.twitter.com/zuOQhyVxiV
— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) September 14, 2023
For context, here are some Dan Marino highlights.
I’m torn on his claim. On the one hand, passing has gotten much easier, and he did throw for over 5,000 yards in a season all the way back in 1984. That would lead one to believe he could at least put up pretty big numbers right now.
On the other hand, everyone in the league is way better now. I was lucky to have dinner with Giants legend Phil Simms. He claims that everyone’s mechanics nowadays are better than his peers back in the 80’s and 90’s, and quarterback training now is much better, as well. Marino had an arm that oftentimes was significantly better than league average back in the 1980s and early 90’s. But, I’m not sure if that would be the case now.
And, 6000 yards is a lot of yards. Yes, its a seventeen game schedule as opposed to a sixteen game schedule now. But, no one has surpassed Peyton Manning’s 5477 yards in 2013. In fact, in the first two years of the seventeen game schedule, there have only been two 5,000 yard seasons, by Tom Brady in 2021 and Patrick Mahomes in 2022.
It stinks there’s no way to find out if Dan Marino would throw for 6,000 yards in today’s game. But, I guess it’s good fodder for the sports talk shows.