When you think of football in the 1980s, a couple Hall of Fame names immediately spring time to mind. Guys like Lawrence Taylor, Joe Montana, Eric Dickerson jump off the page right away. All those players, however, played in the NFC, a conference that dominated the NFL with seven out of 10 Super Bowl victories during that decade. But in the AFC, their was one man, and one man alone that was synonymous with success in 1980s: Dan Marino.
Marino’s legendary passing prowess was unmatched during that time and may still be to this day. He was the first quarterback to throw for 5,000 yards in one season (1984). He was the first QB to throw for 40 touchdowns in one season (1984, 1986). Marino was a nine time Pro Bowler, the NFL MVP in 1984, and thrived throwing the ball in an era where defenses could do a lot more than they could today.
In a feature on NFL.com, NFL Media’s Elliot Harrison ranked the top players of the 1980s in honor of NFL Network’s Decades Month, and listed “Dan The Man” as the top player of the decade within the AFC, and fourth overall in the 80s.
Marino played seven seasons in the 1980s, and in three of them, he was named first-team All-Pro. That’s an impressive hit rate, being dubbed the absolute best of the best at the game’s most important position 43 percent of the time. Oh, and his 1984 campaign might be the most impressive offensive season in NFL history: We’re talkin’ 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns … in an era when defensive backs were allowed to play far more aggressively.
Here’s a list of active records still held by Marino to this day.
- Most games, 400 or more yards passing, Career: 13
- Most seasons leading league, pass attempts: 5 (1984, 1986, 1988, 1992, 1997)
- Most seasons leading league, completions: 6 (1984–86, 1988, 1992, 1997)
- Most seasons leading league, lowest sack percentage: 10 (1983-89, 1994, 1997, 1999)
- Most consecutive seasons leading league, lowest sack percentage: 7 (1983-89)
- Fewest number of games in career to hit the 100 passing touchdowns mark: 44
- Fewest number of games in career to hit the 200 passing touchdowns mark: 89
He was also dominant when the lights shined the brightest in primetime, as he holds every notable quarterbacking statistical record during Monday Night Football.
- Most passing yards: 9,654
- Most completions: 798
- Most attempts: 1,303
- Most touchdown passes: 74
- Most wins as a starter: 20
Marino compiled the fifth most wins ever by a starter with 147 victories during his career, and started and finished his storied 17 year career with the Dolphins. He ended his career with 420 total touchdowns, and 61,361 yards passing (both good for 3rd most all time).
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