The selections of John Elway and Barry Sanders into the Pro Football Hall of Fame begs the question -- who has posted the best single-season numbers in recent history?
While many of the names are familiar and on their way to enshrinement in the Hall, several others might come as a surprise to even the most educated football pundit. One thing is certain when looking back into the annals of the Super Bowl era -- Fantasy owners are currently experiencing some of the best single-season performances in NFL history.
Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins (1984, 5,084 yards, 48 TDs): Marino was arguably the best quarterback to ever grace the NFL gridiron, posting six seasons with at least 4,000-plus yards. He threw for at least 20 touchdowns in 12 of his first 13 pro seasons, including two with more than 40. Marino holds the record for passing yards and passing touchdowns in a single season, and will be an esteemed member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame when eligible for induction in 2005.
Dan Marino threw 48 touchdowns in 1984.(Getty Images)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (1999, 4,353 yards, 41 TDs): An undrafted free agent out of Northern Iowa, Warner's Cinderella story peaked with a memorable Super Bowl championship in 1999. The two-time NFL MVP threw the most touchdown passes in a single season since Marino (44), and led many Fantasy teams to glory. His value is no longer at such lofty heights, but it's tough to argue that Warner didn't post one of the most productive seasons in history.
Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers (1995, 4,413 yards, 38 TDs): Favre has been one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, posting at least 3,361 yards and 20 touchdowns in each of his past 10 seasons. He has tossed 30-plus scores in seven of those seasons, including 32 in 2003. A Super Bowl champion in 1996, Favre is truly one of the league's most productive and well-respected signal-callers of the modern era.
Steve Beuerlein, Carolina Panthers (1999, 4,436 yards, 36 TDs): While he isn't mentioned among the league's elite quarterbacks, Beuerlein was a Fantasy monster in 1999. He finished first in completions (343), passing yards and finished second to Warner with 36 scoring strikes.
Dan Fouts, San Diego Chargers (1981, 4,802 yards, 33 TDs): One of the most underrated quarterbacks in league history, Fouts was the definition of a Fantasy production. He led the league in completions (36), passing yards and touchdown passes in his ninth NFL season.
Warren Moon, Houston Oilers (1990, 4,689 yards, 33 TDs); Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers (1998, 4,170 yards, 36 TDs); Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts (2000, 4,413 yards, 33 TDs).
Marshall Faulk(Getty Images)
Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams (2000, 2,189 yards, 26 TDs): No one typified the term Fantasy stud better than Faulk in the late 1990s. He was a dangerous runner and receiver out of the backfield, and continues to be a valuable commodity as he approaches his 31st birthday. Faulk led the league in total touchdowns in 2000 and finished second to Edgerrin James in yards from scrimmage. He's also one of the few players to compile 1,000-plus rushing and receiving yards in the same season (1999).
Priest Holmes, Kansas City Chiefs (2003, 2,110 yards, 27 TDs): Holmes now sits in the Fantasy Football throne as the league's most productive player. He broke Emmitt Smith's record for rushing touchdowns in a season with 27, and has compiled a total of 51 scores in his past two seasons combined. The surefire No. 1 overall selection in most drafts, Holmes is still building upon his status as the league's most explosive running back.
Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys (1995, 2,148 yards, 25 TDs): Smith helped lead the Cowboys to three Super Bowl championships in four seasons in the early to mid 1990s. Combining speed, elusiveness and great field vision, Smith rushed for a record 25 scores and led the league with 1,773 rushing yards in 1995. The NFL's all-time leading rusher is in the twilight of his career, but he will go down in history as one of the top backs to ever set foot in an NFL stadium.
O.J. Simpson, Buffalo Bills (1975, 2,243 yards, 23 TDs): Simpson is best known for being the first running back to eclipse the 2,000-yard mark in a single season, but his most productive campaign was in 1975. He led the league in rushing yards (1,817), was second to Pete Banaszak in rushing touchdowns, and finished tops in all-purpose yards and total touchdowns.
Terrell Davis, Denver Broncos (1998, 2,225 yards, 23 TDs): His nickname (T.D.) was very appropriate, as the Georgia alum compiled a league-leading 23 in 1998. He also became only the fourth running back in NFL history to surpass 2,000 rushing yards in a single season.
Edgerrin James, Indianapolis Colts (2000, 2,303 yards, 18 TDs); LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers (2003, 2,370 yards, 17 TDs); Ahman Green, Green Bay Packers (2003, 2,250 yards, 20 TDs).
Note: Yards include running and receiving.
Jerry Rice(Getty Images)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers (1995, 1,848 yards, 15 TDs): Rice had several huge seasons during his illustrious career, including a 22-touchdown campaign in 1987. But 1995 was his most productive season from a Fantasy perspective. The Mississippi Valley State alum led the league in receiving yards, and finished second in receptions (122) and receiving touchdowns.
Randy Moss, Minnesota (2003, 1,632 yards, 17 TDs): Moss is arguably the most talented wide receiver in the league, and he proved his worth with a monstrous 2003 season. He led the league in receiving touchdowns, finished second in receptions (111) and receiving yards, and is the only non-running back in the league to finish in the top five in total scores.
Isaac Bruce, St. Louis (1995, 1,781 yards, 13 TDs): Unlike most wide receivers, Bruce's breakout season came in his sophomore campaign. He was fourth in receptions (119), second in receiving yards to Rice and was in the top 10 in receiving touchdowns.
Herman Moore, Detroit (1995, 1,686 yards, 14 TDs): Moore was a major Fantasy stud in the early to mid 1990s, posting three consecutive seasons with 100-plus receptions. He broke the single-season record for receptions (123) in 1995, finished third in receiving yards and tied for fourth among wide receivers with 14 touchdowns.
Mark Clayton, Miami Dolphins (1984, 1,389 yards, 18 TDs): Clayton's success was a direct result of Marino's brilliance at quarterback. His 18 touchdowns remain second all-time to Rice's single-season record of 22, which was recorded in 1987. Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (2001, 1,524 yards, 15 TDs): Harrison has had five consecutive huge seasons for Fantasy owners, but 2001 was arguably his finest. He finished in the top three in receptions (109), receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
Torry Holt, St. Louis (2003, 1,696 yards, 12 TDs): Holt finished in the top two in receptions (117), receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in his fifth NFL season. His 1,696 yards is good for the fifth-highest single-season total in the Super Bowl era.
Cris Carter, Minnesota Vikings (1995, 1,371 yards, 17 TDs): All he does is catch touchdowns, and that's much of what Carter did in 1995. He tied Carl Pickens with a career high 17 touchdowns, which remains the fourth-best single-season total in NFL history.
Roy Green, St. Louis Cardinals (1984, 1,555 yards, 12 TDs); Carl Pickens, Cincinnati Bengals (1995, 1,234 yards, 17 TDs); Terrell Owens, San Francisco (2001, 1,412 yards, 16 TDs).
Todd Christensen, Oakland (1983, 1,247 yards, 12 TDs): Christensen had a solid four-season run with the Raiders, which included arguably the most productive season for a tight end in league history. He led all players in receptions (92) in 1983, and finished in the top four in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City (2000, 1,203 yards, 9 TDs): Considered the most valuable tight end in Fantasy Football, Gonzalez's best season came in 2000. He led all tight ends in receptions (93) and finished among the league's top 10 in receiving touchdowns.
Jackie Smith, St. Louis Rams (1967, 1,205 yards, 9 TDs): Best known for dropping a certain touchdown in Super Bowl XIII, Smith was actually one of the most productive tight ends of his era.
Kellen Winslow, San Diego Chargers (1981, 1,075 yards, 10 TDs); Shannon Sharpe, Denver Broncos (1996, 1,062 yards, 10 TDs); Jerry Smith, Washington Redskins (1967, 849 yards, 12 TDs).
Gary Anderson(Getty Images)
Gary Anderson, Minnesota Vikings: (1998, 164 points): The ageless Anderson benefited greatly from an explosive Vikings offense, connecting on 35-of-35 field-goal attempts and all 59 extra points.
Jeff Wilkins, St. Louis Rams (2003, 163 points): One season removed from posting a mediocre 94 points, Wilkins re-emerged as a Fantasy stud by connecting on 39-of-42 field-goal attempts.
Mark Moseley, Washington Redskins (1983, 161 points): Using a non-traditional kicking approach worked for Moseley, who converted only 70.2 percent of his field-goal attempts but posted 62 extra points.
Mike Vanderjagt, Indianapolis Colts (2003, 157 points): Chip Lohmiller, Washington Redskins (1991, 149 points); John Kasay, Carolina Panthers (1996, 145 points).
Note: Kicker stats are from 1980-2003.
I thought this was an intresting little tidbit!!!
Imagine the points Marino would have gotten you if you had him in 84