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Passing yardage is for lovers

Posted by Doug on February 14, 2008

Here is what it looks like when one pfr-blogger sends sweet nothings into the email box of another pfr-blogger:

I noticed during my QB research that there are a fairly large number of quarterbacks who have been on a roster this year or last that were born on Valentine's Day.

Indeed, Valentine's Day is the premier birthday for NFL passers. In terms of total career passing yards through the entire history of the league, it has an enormous lead on the second-best birthday, which I've mysteriously blanked out in the chart below:

| birthday | total_pass_yd |
| 02-14    | 127372        |
| ?????    |  85155        |
| 06-28    |  75082        |
| 02-03    |  74217        |
| 03-24    |  68344        |
| 05-07    |  68312        |
| 10-10    |  66950        |
| 07-31    |  66778        |
| 09-15    |  63013        |
| 09-17    |  59014        |

As you can easily discover from this page, the main contributors to the Valentine's Day Passing Phenomenon are Drew Bledsoe, Jim Kelly, and Steve McNair. That may not wow you, but keep in mind that we'd expect roughly one of the top 365 passers of all time to have been born on Valentine's day, but we've got three of the top 30. And we've got David Garrard (and maybe Jared Lorenzen) to continue the tradition. Patrick Ramsey and Anthony Wright are no great shakes, but if they're QB5 and QB6 on your birthday team, that's pretty solid. In NFL history, 301 players have passed for at least 3000 career yards, so some birthdates must have none of them. February 14th has six.

Savvy readers of this blog might sense that this is going to be the equivalent of one of those sitcom episodes where they slap together bits and pieces of other episodes and try to pass it off as new. And I could go that route. It would be easy to go in a splits happen direction here, which could take us right through a what are the odds of that? discussion as well. Or we could return to the general question of the distribution of birthdays among NFL players, which I discussed here.

Instead, I'll continue the tradition of total "holiday" nonsense established in the infamous Friday the 13th post.

Returning to the chart above, guess what the second-best passing birthdate is. It's tomorrow, February 15th, which features John Hadl and Ken Anderson in addition to the 123rd-leading passer in NFL history. So 17% of all the NFL's 30,000-yard passers were born in a two-day span that accounts for only 0.6% of the days of the year.

So while tonight might be fun, it's May 14th and 15th that you should circling on the calendar if your goal is to sire an NFL quarterback.

Or, if you'd prefer not to deal with a young field general every night at the dinner table, here are the target dates for other positions:

Running back: July 7th (April 7th = Tony Dorsett, Ricky Watters, and Tiki Barber)

Wide Receiver: December 28th (Sept 28 = Steve Largent, Irving Fryar, Charley Taylor, Jake Reed, and Mel Gray)

Offensive line: June 10th (March 10 = lots of old geezer offensive linemen that made a lot of pro bowls, including Buckets Goldenberg (naming the kid buckets is a good idea too))

Defensive line: December 3rd (September 3rd = Jevon Kearse, Casey Hampton, and another bunch of highly-decorated old-timers)

Linebackers: July 4th (April 4th = Jessie Tuggle, Tom Jackson, Keith Bulluck, Jack Del Rio)

Defensive backs: May 10th (Feb 10 = Ty Law, Cornell Green, Dick Anderson, et al)