When a quarterback has a 3,000 yard season, it is generally considered that they have been very effective running their team’s passing game. A quarterback who passes for more than 4,000 yards in a season though has really done something exceptional. Needless to say, the list of quarterbacks who have accomplished this includes some of the all time greats like Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Warren Moon, Kurt Warner, Dan Fouts, and Tom Brady. Here though is a look at quarterbacks you may not have realized have thrown for more than 4,000 yards in a season.
Joe Namath – New York Jets
He was a Hall of Fame player, but most football fans associate huge passing numbers with the more modern era of football. In 1967, Namath became the first player to pass for more than 4,000 yards when he threw 26 touchdown passes and 4,007 passing yards.
Lynn Dickey – Green Bay Packers
Lynn Dickey started his career with the Houston Oilers in the 1970s, but then came to Green Bay and had some decent years. 1983 saw Dickey throw 32 touchdown passes while amassing 4,458 passing yards for the Packers.
Bill Kenney – Kansas City Chiefs
Bill Kenney played his entire career with the Kansas City Chiefs and was somewhat of a fan favorite during some very lean years. In 1983, Bill Kenney threw for 4,348 yards and 24 touchdowns for the Chiefs.
Neil Lomax – St. Louis Cardinals
Neil Lomax was the quarterback for St. Louis after the Jim Hart era ended and before the team moved to Arizona, though he would be with the team for one season in the desert. In 1984, Lomax finished the season for the Cardinals with 4,614 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Jay Schroeder – Washington Redskins
Jay Schroeder came up with the Redskins, but probably made his name as the quarterback of the Los Angeles Raiders. The 1986 NFL season saw Schroeder pass for 4,109 yards and 22 touchdowns for the Redskins.
Don Majkowski – Green Bay Packers
Nicknamed the Majik Man, Don Majkowski had an immediate, though short lived impact on Green Bay in the late 1980s. Majkowski passed the 4,000 yard threshold for the Packers in 1989 when he threw for 4,318 yards and 27 touchdowns. A couple of years later he was gone and a young kid named Brett Favre had taken over as the quarterback in Title Town.
Scott Mitchell – Detroit Lions
Scott Mitchell gained recognition for very capably filling in for an injured Dan Marino with the Miami Dolphins. This earned him a shot in the league as a regular starting quarterback. He would get that shot in the early to mid 1990s with the Detroit Lions. In 1995, he would throw for 4,338 yards and 32 touchdowns for Detroit.
Vinny Testaverde – Baltimore Ravens
Vinny Testaverde had a very long career in pro football and spent time with the Buccaneers, Browns, Ravens, Jets, Panthers, Cowboys, and Patriots. He is thought of as a mediocre quarterback by many, but he did manage to put up some impressive career numbers. In 1996, while with the Ravens, Testaverde compiled 4,177 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Steve Beuerlein – Carolina Panthers
Steve Beuerlein came out of Notre Dame and spent his first few years in the league with the Raiders. He achieved his greatest success though as the quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. In 1999, he threw 36 touchdown passes and compiled 4,436 yards passing.
Brad Johnson – Washington Redskins
Brad Johnson played college football at Florida State and got his start in the NFL as a backup for the Minnesota Vikings. He would eventually start in Minnesota before moving on to also start games for the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 1999, Brad Johnson passed for 4,005 yards and 24 touchdowns for the Redskins.
Jeff Garcia – San Francisco 49ers
Jeff Garcia came to San Francisco at the end of the Steve Young era and had some pretty good success on a team that lacked the talent of the 49ers from the time of Montana and Young. Garcia threw for more yards than any other 49ers quarterback ever had in 2000, and that’s saying something, when he racked up 4,278 yards and 31 touchdowns.
Elvis Grbac – Kansas City Chiefs
Elvis Grbac came out of the University of Michigan and got his start in the NFL with the 49ers, but would achieve his greatest success with Kansas City. As the quarterback of the Chiefs in 2000, Grbac threw for 4,169 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Jon Kitna – Detroit Lions
Jon Kitna is used to being underestimated. He came out of tiny Central Washington University as a somewhat unheralded quarterback that landed a job as an undrafted free agent with the Seattle Seahawks. He went on to start there and with the Cincinnati Bengals before making his way to the Detroit Lions and eventually the Dallas Cowboys. In 2006, Kitna threw for 4,208 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Lions. The very next year he would do it again, this time throwing for 4,068 yards and 18 touchdowns.