What If? Jim Zorn's 1979 season

David FunkCorrespondent INovember 4, 2008

Welcome to another entry of the What If? Fantasy Football edition. This is where I look back at a season long before fantasy football became prominent among us in our society and figure how the fantasy numbers would look if the fantasy game existed then.

Today, we look back at the 1979 season for current Washington Redskins head coach and former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Jim Zorn. I'm using the default scoring systems for Sporting News and Yahoo! to calculate the point totals.

Here's the point scale for SN(default configuration)

60 points for every touchdown
2 points for every rushing, receiving, and punt return yard gained
1 point for every kickoff return yard gained
2 points for every reception
1 point for every passing yard
-10 points for every kickoff return attempt
-45 points for lost fumble and interception
-2 points for incomplete pass

Here's the point scale for Yahoo!(default configuration):

6 points for every rushing, receiving, and return touchdown
4 points for passing touchdown
1 point for every 10 rushing and receiving yards
1 point for every 25 passing yards
2 points for every two-point conversion
-1 point for every interception
-2 points for every fumble
No points are given for receptions or return yardage in the default configuration.

Here are the stats for Jim Zorn in 1979 and fantasy points for the SN games

Passing yards: 3,661 = 3,661 points
Passing touchdowns: 20 = 1,200 points
Incomplete passes: 220 = -440 points
Interceptions: 18 = -810 points
Rushing yards: 279 = 558 points
Rushing touchdowns: 2 = 120 points
Receptions: NA = NA
Receiving yards: NA = NA
Receiving touchdowns: NA = NA
Fumbles Lost: 6 = -270 points
Total points: 4,019 points
Total points per game: 251.19

Here are the stats for Jim Zorn in 1979 and fantasy points for the Yahoo! game

Passing yards: 3,661 = 146 points
Passing touchdowns: 20 = 80 points
Interceptions: 20 = -20 points
Rushing yards: 279 = 27 points
Rushing touchdowns: 2 = 12 points
Receiving yards: NA = NA
Receiving touchdowns: NA = NA
Fumbles Lost: 6 = -12 points
Total points: 233 points
Total points per game: 14.56

Statistical source: pro-football reference

Zorn was a very charismatic and entertaining quarterback that helped the Seahawks to a 9-7 record in his fourth season as a starter. The Seahawks got out to a very poor start, losing five of their first seven games of the 1979 season. But Zorn helped right the ship, as the team went 7-2 the rest of the way before coming up short on missing the playoffs.

Zorn's best game of the year was against the New Orleans Saints, when he went 24-for-33, 384 passing yards, and four touchdowns in Week 12. In the following week, on ABC's Monday Night Football, Zorn threw for three touchdowns in a 30-7 win over the New York Jets at home.

Zorn also threw for three touchdowns against the Oakland Raiders in Week Three and Houston Oilers in Week Eight. Zorn, a 1978 Pro Bowl Player, also had help from NFL Hall of Famer Steve Largent, who had his second-best season in terms of receiving yards in 1979, when he had 1,237 yards with nine of Zorn's 20 passing touchdowns going to him.

Statistically, this was Zorn's best season, and he would remain Seattle's starting quarterback until he was replaced by Dave Krieg midway into the 1983 season. He stayed with the team until playing one season with the Green Bay Packers in 1985 before a one-game stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a replacement player in 1987.

The 1979 season was the first in which he had more touchdown passes than interceptions. Zorn threw for 21,115 yards, 111 touchdowns, and 141 interceptions in his career. He did rush for at least one touchdown in each of his seasons as a starter, with a career-high of six in 1978 while finishing with 17 total for his career. Zorn is now currently in his first year as head coach for the Washington Redskins after being quarterback coach for the Seahawks the previous seven seasons.

If anyone wants to suggest a past player, then you can do so in the comments section. The only thing I ask is that the player and year be before 1990 because fantasy football wasn't as prominent then.

Photo courtesy of Vintage Seattle, which shows Zorn's 1977 Topps rookie card.

Past What If? posts:
Walter Payton's 1977 season
Gale Sayers' 1965 season
Eric Dickerson's 1983 season
Jim Brown's 1963 season
Dan Marino's 1984 season
Jerry Rice's 1987 season
O.J. Simpson's 1975 season
Johnny Unitas' 1959 season
Sid Luckman's 1943 season
Sammy Baugh's 1947 season
Beattie Feathers' 1934 season
Charley Hennigan's 1961 season
Timmy Brown's 1963 season
Rolland Lawrence's 1977 season
Dan Fouts' 1981 season
Don Hutson's 1942 season