Playing quarterback in the NFL is one of the hardest jobs in sports. It takes talent, intelligence, quick reactions, determination, and also a lot of luck to be good at it. Most good quarterbacks, even the great ones, are not that successful in their first year in the league. This is true for all teams, including the San Diego Chargers.
The Chargers have had some great quarterbacks over the years, but how have they done as rookies? Here is a look at the rookie quarterbacks of the San Diego Chargers.
-No quarterback threw for more yards (1,632) or more touchdowns (15) as a rookie quarterback for San Diego than John Hadl in 1962.
-The oldest player to ever play quarterback for the Chargers and still be a rookie was Mike Kelley in 1978. He was 28 years old that season.
-No rookie quarterback for the Chargers was ever sacked more than Ryan Leaf. In 1998, he was tackled behind the line of scrimmage by the opponent 22 times.
-The Chargers rookie quarterback to attempt the most passes was John Hadl in 1962 with 260. The rookie quarterback with the most completions in a season though was Craig Whelihan with 118 in 1997.
-The highest completion percentage attained by any Chargers rookie quarterback with at least 50 attempts was 67.8%. This mark was set in 1987 by a man that would go on to greater fame as a college football coach, Rick Neuheisel.
-In 1962, John Hadl started ten of the team’s 14 regular season games. No rookie quarterback has ever started more games for San Diego. In second place on that list is Don Woods in 1974 and Ryan Leaf in 1998 with nine starts apiece.
-The worst touchdown to interception ratio by a Chargers rookie quarterback ever came in 1998 when Ryan Leaf threw two touchdown passes and 15 interceptions.
-1962 saw two different rookie quarterbacks see action for the Chargers, John Hadl and Dick Wood.
-The Chargers have had just three rookie quarterbacks see action with the team after being drafted in the first round: Marty Domres in 1969, Ryan Leaf in 1998, and Philip Rivers in 2004. John Hadl was drafted in the first round of the 1962 NFL Draft, but the Chargers were in the American Football League at the time and they took him in the third round of the 1962 AFL Draft.
The San Diego Chargers have had some great quarterbacks over the years, including John Hadl, Dan Fouts, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers. None of them were in a position to display what they could do during their rookie year though. Succeeding at quarterback is tough, doing so as a rookie sometimes seems impossible.