6 Quarterbacks Poised To Break Dan Marino's Single-Season Passing Yards Record

Tim Lewis@timdlewiContributor IOctober 6, 2011

6 Quarterbacks Poised To Break Dan Marino's Single-Season Passing Yards Record

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    In 1984, Dan Marino broke six NFL single season passing records—including most passing yards, with 5,084.

    Amazingly, the record has stood for 26 years despite the league's ever-increasing tendency to throw the ball on nearly 60 percent of all downs.

    Unfortunately for Mr. Marino, one of the all-time great passing records will be broken this season by at least one, if not multiple, quarterbacks.

    It's a special time for today's signal-caller, and it wouldn't be a stretch to say we're witnessing an era that will produce a significant number of Hall of Fame quarterbacks.

    Today's game is all about spreading the defense out with multiple-receiver sets, shotgun formations and empty backfields.

    So here we are with a quarter of the season in the books and six quarterbacks each on pace to etch their name in the NFL record books.

    Let's take a look at their respective chances...

6. Tony Romo: 1,273 Yards

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    With 1,273 passing yards through the first four games, Tony Romo is on pace for 5,092 yards—eight yards ahead of Marino's pace.

    If Romo can stay healthy for 16 games (and that's a very big if), he'll have a decent shot at breaking Marino's record considering the Cowboys inability to run the ball (26th in rushing offense) and propensity for getting involved in shootouts on a weekly basis.

    Romo is averaging 38 pass attempts per game and is on pace for 608 for the season. By comparison, Marino attempted 564 passes during his record-breaking season in 1984.

    Odds:  20 to 1

5. Philip Rivers: 1,286 Yards

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    After throwing for 4,710 yards in 2010, Philip Rivers is at it again with 1,286 yards through four games—on pace for 5,144.

    If Rivers is going to break Marino's record, he's going to need his top targets to stay on the field. Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd have all missed time this season due to injury.

    The Chargers have notoriously been a pass-first team, but with the recent emergence of running back Ryan Matthews combined with the injuries to the receiving corps, that philosophy may soon shift.

    Rivers is averaging nearly 40 attempts per game; however, his attempts have gradually decreased each week due to head coach Norv Turner's newfound commitment to the running game. 

    Odds:  15 to 1

4. Aaron Rodgers: 1,325 Yards

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    The unofficial (or is it?) best football player on the planet and current fantasy football king, Aaron Rodgers, is on pace for 5,300 passing yards.

    Rodgers is averaging 35.25 pass attempts per game, which puts him right in line to equal Marino's 564 attempts in 1984.

    The difference? Rodgers is averaging a ridiculous 9.4 yards per attempt compared to Marino's 9.0-yard average.

    Rodgers is also on pace to throw for 48 touchdowns versus just eight interceptions, while Marino threw for 48 and 17.

    Odds:  10 to 1

3. Cam Newton: 1,386 Yards

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    Can you believe this guy?  Not only is Cam Newton ushering in a new era of quarterbacks, he's doing things on the field that we've never seen before from a first-year NFL player.

    Newton is on pace for a ridiculous 5,544 passing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns.

    Pretty impressive start from a guy NFL scouts were unsure of coming out of college.

    Newton is averaging nearly 41 pass attempts per game—combine that with a below-average defense and a team that is always playing from behind, it adds up to a guy with a great shot at NFL history.

    Odds:  5 to 1

2. Drew Brees: 1,410 Yards

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    Drew Brees was oh so close in 2008, throwing for 5,069 yards—the second highest total in NFL history.

    Brees is off to an even better start in 2011, throwing for 1,410 yards through four games—on pace for 5,640 yards.

    With Sean Payton's playbook dictating short passing plays on typical running downs, Brees is averaging 43.5 pass attempts per game and is on pace for nearly 700 throws this season.

    With a high-octane offense playing on the Louisiana Superdome's fast track, Brees appears to be a pretty safe bet to break Marino's record in 2011.

    Odds:  2 to 1

1. Tom Brady: 1,553 Yards

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    The man who many already consider the greatest quarterback of all time apparently wants to make sure there is no debate.

    Tom Brady is on pace for the best season in NFL history—6,212 yards to go along with 52 touchdown passes (breaking his own record of 50 touchdowns in 2007).

    There's not a whole lot else you can say about Brady that hasn't already been said, so I'll leave you with this one final thought:

    If Tom Brady breaks Marino's record for passing yards and wins one more Super Bowl, he will without a doubt go down as the best quarterback in NFL history.

    Odds:  1 to 2