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Divisions with lots of “future experience”

Posted by Doug on July 23, 2007

Prompted by the observation that this year's AFC West will likely feature a lot of very inexperienced quarterbacks I posted a list last Thursday of divisions that were collectively the least experienced at quarterback.

Commenter Vince suggested that it might be fun to look forward instead of looking back. In other words, rather than seeing how much previous experience the players had at the time, we could look at how much experience they would accrue after that point. So a division that scores high in this measurement is one that not only has good players, but good players near the start of their careers.

For example, look at the division that this year's AFC West will likely displace as the least experienced of the 16-game-schedule era: the 1985 AFC Central. Fans didn't know it at the time, but they were witnessing the early stages of some very good long careers. That division featured three first-year starters --- Bernie Kosar, Boomer Esiason, and Mark Malone --- and one second-year starter: Warren Moon. As you know, those players went on to play a lot of games from 1985 on. In fact, they threw more than 16,000 combined passes from that season on, an average of 4027 each. That's the second-highest figure for any division since 1978. Here are the top few. The numbers shown are pass attempts before that season, and passing attempts in that season and after.

1992 NFC Central       853   4191
Rich Gannon            724   3482
Jim Harbaugh          1076   2842
Rodney Peete           660   1686
Vinny Testaverde      1802   4727
Brett Favre              4   8219

1985 AFC Central       233   4027
Bernie Kosar             0   3365
Mark Malone            380   1268
Warren Moon            450   6373
Boomer Esiason         102   5103

1986 AFC Central       555   3705
Bernie Kosar           248   3117
Boomer Esiason         533   4672
Warren Moon            827   5996
Mark Malone            613   1035

1988 AFC East         1006   3573
Dan Marino            2494   5864
Ken O'Brien           1566   2036
Doug Flutie             71   2080
Jim Kelly              899   3880
Chris Chandler           0   4005

1983 AFC West         1401   3458
Jim Plunkett          2769    932
Dave Krieg             192   5119
Dan Fouts             3533   2071
Bill Kenney            512   1918
John Elway               0   7250

1986 AFC East          589   3401
Ken O'Brien            691   2911
Jim Kelly                0   4779
Dan Marino            1427   6931
Jack Trudeau             0   1644
Tony Eason             825    739

1988 AFC Central      1091   3310
Bubby Brister           72   2140
Warren Moon           1683   5140
Boomer Esiason        1442   3763
Bernie Kosar          1168   2197

1990 NFC Central       535   3246
Rich Gannon             21   4185
Jim Harbaugh           286   3632
Don Majkowski         1062    843
Vinny Testaverde      1111   5418
Rodney Peete           195   2151

1987 AFC Central      1034   3227
Boomer Esiason        1002   4203
Mark Malone           1038    610
Bernie Kosar           779   2586
Warren Moon           1315   5508

1984 AFC West         1018   3207
Dan Fouts             3873   1731
John Elway             259   6991
Todd Blackledge         34    847
Marc Wilson            490   1591
Dave Krieg             435   4876

1991 NFC Central       690   3168
Rich Gannon            370   3836
Vinny Testaverde      1476   5053
Mike Tomczak           915   1422
Jim Harbaugh           598   3320
Erik Kramer             92   2207

1995 AFC Central      1161   3159
Mark Brunell            27   4567
Chris Chandler        1242   2763
Neil O'Donnell        1455   1774
Jeff Blake             315   2926
Vinny Testaverde      2766   3763

1993 AFC East         1507   3096
Scott Mitchell           8   2338
Drew Bledsoe             0   6717
Boomer Esiason        3378   1827
Jim Kelly             3024   1755
Jeff George           1125   2842

1988 NFC West         1093   2989
Chris Miller            92   2800
Joe Montana           3276   2115
Bobby Hebert           554   2567
Jim Everett            449   4474

1987 AFC East         1412   2983
Dan Marino            2050   6308
Steve Grogan          2939    654
Jim Kelly              480   4299
Jack Trudeau           417   1227
Ken O'Brien           1173   2429

1989 AFC Central      1419   2982
Boomer Esiason        1830   3375
Warren Moon           1977   4846
Bernie Kosar          1427   1938
Bubby Brister          442   1770

No reason to stop with quarterbacks. The 1998 AFC Central housed a lot of future running back production. Priest Holmes and Fred Taylor were in their first seasons, Corey Dillon was in his second, Eddie George his third, and even the old man Jerome Bettis wasn't yet halfway done with his career. The numbers shown here are rushing yards.

1998 AFC Central      2017   8562
Corey Dillon          1129  10112
Fred Taylor              0   9513
Jerome Bettis         6187   7475
Priest Holmes            0   8035
Eddie George          2767   7674

1996 AFC Central      1250   7041
Garrison Hearst       1239   6463
Eddie George             0  10441
Jerome Bettis         3091  10571
James Stewart          525   5316
Bam Morris            1395   2414

1995 AFC East         2249   6917
Bernie Parmalee        922   1257
Curtis Martin            0  14101
Adrian Murrell         317   4882
Marshall Faulk        1282  10997
Thurman Thomas        8724   3350

1993 NFC West          363   6909
Erric Pegram           438   2960
Derek Brown              0   1383
Jerome Bettis            0  13662
Ricky Watters         1013   9630

1995 NFC East         3559   6883
Ricky Watters         2840   7803
Garrison Hearst        169   7533
Terry Allen           2795   5819
Rodney Hampton        4807   2090
Emmitt Smith          7183  11172

1979 NFC East         1931   6629
Billy Taylor           250   1394
John Riggins          5669   5683
Tony Dorsett          2332  10407
Wilbert Montgomery    1403   5386
Ottis Anderson           0  10273

1997 AFC Central      2251   6623
Eddie George          1368   9073
Jerome Bettis         4522   9140
Bam Morris            2132   1677
Corey Dillon             0  11241
Natrone Means         3232   1983

1997 AFC East         1813   6562
Curtis Martin         2639  11462
Adrian Murrell        2361   2838
Karim Abdul-Jabbar    1116   2297
Antowain Smith           0   6881
Marshall Faulk        2947   9332

As is often the case, the wide receiver list degenerates into a whole page of Jerry Rice-fueled groups. I'll show the top division, and then some others of interest. Lots of Rice groups have been deleted in between.

1986 NFC West         1419  10676
Eric Martin            522   7639
Charlie Brown         2527   1021
Henry Ellard          1701  12076
Jerry Rice             927  21968

1998 AFC East         1802   7761
Eric Moulds            573   9075
Terry Glenn           1563   7260
Marvin Harrison       1702  11995
Keyshawn Johnson      1807   8764
O.J. McDuffie         3365   1709

2000 NFC West         2623   6833
Joe Horn               879   7622
Torry Holt             788   9887
Muhsin Muhammad       2918   6446
Terrell Owens         3307   8408
Shawn Jefferson       5222   1801

1997 AFC West         4469   6561
Tony Martin           5002   4063
Joey Galloway         2026   7532
Rod Smith              389  11000
Tim Brown             7180   7754
Andre Rison           7747   2458

1991 AFC East         4290   6154
Andre Reed            5353   7845
Mark Duper            7022   1847
Irving Fryar          3921   8864
Rob Moore              692   8676
Billy Brooks          4462   3539

1995 AFC West         3303   6138
Joey Galloway            0   9558
Anthony Miller        6689   2459
Willie Davis          2487   2016
Tony Martin           2607   6458
Tim Brown             4734  10200

1978 AFC West         2337   6087
John Jefferson           0   5714
Henry Marshall         888   5657
Steve Largent         1348  11741
Haven Moses           5484   2607
Cliff Branch          3967   4718

Finally, the tight ends:

1997 AFC West         1160   4241
Freddie Jones            0   4232
Carlester Crumpler     531    448
Shannon Sharpe        4884   5176
Rickey Dudley          386   2638
Tony Gonzalez            0   8710

1998 AFC West         1708   3995
Tony Gonzalez          368   8342
Shannon Sharpe        5991   4069
Rickey Dudley         1173   1851
Freddie Jones          505   3727
Christian Fauria       505   1985

1978 AFC Central       158   3308
Ozzie Newsome            0   7980
Don Bass                 0   1580
Mike Barber             94   2694
Randy Grossman         537    977

1979 AFC Central       590   3217
Bennie Cunningham      717   2162
Mike Barber            607   2181
Ozzie Newsome          589   7391
Don Bass               447   1133

1999 AFC West          979   3122
Rickey Dudley         1722   1302
Christian Fauria       882   1608
Freddie Jones         1107   3125
Tony Gonzalez          989   7721
Byron Chamberlain      193   1855

1980 AFC Central      1018   2907
Ozzie Newsome         1370   6610
Randy Grossman        1202    312
Mike Barber            984   1804
Dan Ross               516   2903

1982 AFC West          745   2897
James Wright            48    618
Kellen Winslow        2620   4121
Al Dixon               943    305
Pete Metzelaars          0   3686
Todd Christensen       115   5757

1981 AFC Central      2114   2760
Dan Ross              1240   2179
Dave Casper           3791   1425
Bennie Cunningham     1461   1418
Ozzie Newsome         1964   6016

This entry was posted on Monday, July 23rd, 2007 at 7:34 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.