Thirty Days and Thirty Passing Touchdowns

There are thirty days until what I consider the unofficial start of the NFL season, the Hall Of Fame Game, on August 1st 2019. To kick this waiting period off today I look at some NFL fact related to the number thirty. Thirty is a good benchmark for passing touchdowns in a season. It is not too easy or too hard to attain.

Out of all retired quarterbacks in NFL history only 32 had at least one season of 30+ passing touchdowns. Of those only five had greater than 20% of their seasons meeting that benchmark. Three of those five quarterbacks are in the NFL Hall Of Fame and another one, Peyton Manning, probably will be. Here is the full list of retired quarterbacks with at lest one season of 30+ passing touchdowns sorted by the percentage of seasons meeting the criteria. Hall of Fame quarterbacks have an asterisk after their name. Quarterbacks with greater than 20% of their seasons meeting the benchmark are in bold.

Player From To Tm 30+ Seasons Yrs Seasons / year
Peyton Manning 2000 2014 IND/DEN 9 17 52.94%
Brett Favre* 1994 2009 GNB/MIN 9 20 45.00%
Tony Romo 2007 2014 DAL 4 13 30.77%
Kurt Warner* 1999 2008 STL/ARI 3 12 25.00%
Dan Marino* 1984 1994 MIA 4 17 23.53%
Daunte Culpepper 2000 2004 MIN 2 11 18.18%
Jeff Garcia 2000 2001 SFO 2 11 18.18%
Daryle Lamonica 1967 1969 OAK 2 12 16.67%
Steve Bartkowski 1980 1981 ATL 2 12 16.67%
Carson Palmer 2005 2015 CIN/ARI 2 14 14.29%
Dan Fouts* 1980 1981 SDG 2 15 13.33%
Steve Young* 1994 1998 SFO 2 15 13.33%
Randall Cunningham 1990 1998 PHI/MIN 2 16 12.50%
Warren Moon* 1990 1995 HOU/MIN 2 17 11.76%
Y.A. Tittle* 1962 1963 NYG 2 17 11.76%
Sonny Jurgensen* 1961 1967 PHI/WAS 2 18 11.11%
Vince Ferragamo 1980 1980 RAM 1 9 11.11%
Brian Sipe 1980 1980 CLE 1 10 10.00%
Jim Kelly* 1991 1991 BUF 1 11 9.09%
Scott Mitchell 1995 1995 DET 1 11 9.09%
George Blanda* 1961 1961 HOU 1 12 8.33%
Jim Everett 1988 1988 RAM 1 12 8.33%
Donovan McNabb 2004 2004 PHI 1 13 7.69%
Lynn Dickey 1983 1983 GNB 1 13 7.69%
Steve Beuerlein 1999 1999 CAR 1 14 7.14%
Babe Parilli 1964 1964 BOS 1 15 6.67%
Joe Montana* 1987 1987 SFO 1 15 6.67%
John Brodie 1965 1965 SFO 1 17 5.88%
Johnny Unitas* 1959 1959 BAL 1 18 5.56%
Dave Krieg 1984 1984 SEA 1 19 5.26%
Len Dawson* 1964 1964 KAN 1 19 5.26%
Vinny Testaverde 1996 1996 BAL 1 21 4.76%

 

 

Today the league is a much more pass oriented league. Some factors contributing to this have been

  • Quarterbacks coming out of college more skilled in reading defenses,
  • Bigger faster receivers,
  • More schemes using shotgun, west coast offense and run-pass option,
  • Changes in coach play calling philosophy, and
  • Rule changes/enforcement protecting quarterbacks and receivers.

In 2019 among active quarterbacks there have been 19 quarterbacks with at least one season of 30+ passing touchdowns. That is more than half of all the retired quarterbacks making that benchmark. Also the season percentage numbers of making that benchmark are up. The number of active quarterbacks with over 20% of their seasons meeting the benchmark is double that of all retired quarterbacks. In addition there are four quarterbacks right at 20% that could move into the over 20% group with 30+ touchdowns this season. Here are the quarterbacks that have had 30+ passing  touchdowns in a season.

Player From To Tm 30+ Seasons Years Play Seasons / Yrs
Drew Brees 2008 2018 NOR 10 18 55.6%
Andrew Luck 2014 2018 IND 3 6 50.0%
Patrick Mahomes 2018 2018 KAN 1 2 50.0%
Aaron Rodgers 2009 2016 GNB 6 14 42.9%
Russell Wilson 2015 2018 SEA 3 7 42.9%
Philip Rivers 2008 2018 LAC 6 15 40.0%
Tom Brady 2007 2017 NWE 7 19 36.8%
Carson Wentz 2017 2017 PHI 1 3 33.3%
Jared Goff 2018 2018 LAR 1 3 33.3%
Matt Ryan 2012 2018 ATL 3 11 27.3%
Ben Roethlisberger 2007 2018 PIT 3 15 20.0%
Blake Bortles 2015 2015 LAR – Sec 1 5 20.0%
Derek Carr 2015 2015 OAK 1 5 20.0%
Eli Manning 2010 2015 NYG 3 15 20.0%
Matthew Stafford 2011 2015 DET 2 10 20.0%
Kirk Cousins 2018 2018 MIN 1 7 14.3%
Andy Dalton 2013 2013 CIN 1 8 12.5%
Cam Newton 2015 2015 CAR 1 8 12.5%
Ryan Fitzpatrick 2015 2015 MIA – Sec 1 14 7.1%

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