March 29, 2015

Highlighted Year: Tom Brady, 2002

Quarterback, New England Patriots


Age: 25
3rd season in pro football & with Patriots
College: Michigan
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 220

Prelude:
A lightly-regarded sixth-round draft choice by New England in 2000, Brady got his chance when starting QB Drew Bledsoe was injured in the second game of the ’01 season. With the young quarterback showing surprising poise and leadership ability, the team surged in the second half and ended up with a stunning win over the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl. Brady was selected to the Pro Bowl.

2002 Season Summary
Appeared and started in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Passing
Attempts – 601 [3]
Most attempts, game – 55 at Chicago 11/10
Completions – 373 [4]
Most completions, game – 39 vs. Kansas City 9/22
Yards – 3764 [6]
Most yards, game – 410 vs. Kansas City 9/22
Completion percentage – 62.1 [13]
Yards per attempt – 6.3
TD passes – 28 [1]
Most TD passes, game – 4 vs. Kansas City 9/22
Interceptions – 14 [15, tied with Kerry Collins & Rodney Peete]
Most interceptions, game – 3 vs. Green Bay 10/13
Passer rating – 85.7 [10]
400-yard passing games – 1
300-yard passing games – 3
200-yard passing games – 10

Rushing
Attempts – 42
Most attempts, game – 6 (for 4 yds.) vs. Minnesota 11/24
Yards – 110
Most yards, game – 26 yards (on 5 carries) vs. Green Bay 10/13
Yards per attempt – 2.6
TDs – 1

Scoring
TDs – 1
Points – 6

Patriots went 9-7 to finish second in the AFC East.

Aftermath:
The Patriots followed up with NFL Championships in 2003 and ’04. Brady was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2004 and ’05, the latter year in which he led the league with 4110 passing yards. In 2007, Brady passed for a NFL-record 50 TDs while also leading the league in passing yards (4806), completion percentage (68.9), yards per attempt (8.3), and passer rating (117.2). He was a consensus first-team All-Pro for the first time as well as league MVP and the Patriots went undefeated in the regular season – however, they were upset in the Super Bowl by the Giants. Brady’s 2008 season ended prematurely due to a knee injury in the opening game. He came back to throw for 4398 yards and 28 TDs in 2009 and had another MVP season in 2010, in which he led the NFL in passing (111.0 rating) and TD passes (36). Brady passed for a career-high 5235 yards in 2011 and the Patriots won another AFC Championship, although they came up short in the Super Bowl. His outstanding play, and durability, continued through the next three years as he passed for over 4000 yards in each. The Patriots capped the 2014 season, in which both Brady and the club got off to a slow start, with a victory in the Super Bowl over Seattle. Brady was selected to the Pro Bowl in every season from 2009 through ’14, giving him a total of ten in all. Thus far, he has passed for 53,258 yards and 392 touchdowns, both figures ranking fifth all-time, against only 143 interceptions, with a completion percentage of 63.5, an average of 7.4 yards per attempt, and a passer rating of 95.9. In the postseason, he has thrown for 7345 yards and 53 TDs, with 26 interceptions, and the Patriots have compiled a 21-8 record in his starts that include four Super Bowl wins against two defeats.  

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Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970

March 27, 2015

1983: Blitz Defeat Express to Even Record


The Chicago Blitz were off to a lesser start than anticipated in the inaugural United States Football League season as they hosted the Los Angeles Express on March 27, 1983. Coming into the new league with the best-known head coach, George Allen, and a veteran-laden roster that also included touted rookies in HB Tim Spencer and WR Trumaine Johnson, the Blitz were viewed as the team to beat. But after handily defeating Washington in the opening week, they dropped two straight contests and were at 1-2 as they faced Los Angeles.

The Express was coached by Hugh Campbell, who had enjoyed success in the CFL. He employed a two-quarterback rotation that utilized veteran NFL backup Mike Rae and rookie Tom Ramsey out of UCLA, and unheralded rookie RB Tony Boddie had been a pleasant surprise.  The defensive line, anchored by NT Eddie “Meat Cleaver” Weaver was an asset.

It was a chilly, rainy day at Soldier Field before a sparse crowd of 10,936 fans. Following a scoreless first quarter, John Roveto kicked a 38-yard field goal with 5:43 remaining in the first half to put the Blitz in front by 3-0. Meanwhile, Tom Ramsey came in at quarterback for an ineffective Mike Rae early in the second quarter for the Express.

Later in the period, the Blitz put together a 64-yard series that included an uncharacteristic gamble. Facing a fourth-and-three situation, FB Kevin Long ran around left end for an 11-yard gain. QB Greg Landry (pictured above) then threw to Trumaine Johnson for 22 yards and Long finished the drive off with a one-yard touchdown carry. Roveto added the extra point and Chicago took a 10-0 lead into halftime.

Early in the third quarter, a breakdown by the Blitz defense allowed Ramsey to throw to Tony Boddie for a 40-yard TD and Vince Abbott kicked the PAT. With the lead cut to three points, the Blitz drove 73 yards in 10 plays. Landry completed passes to TE Paul Ricker, Trumaine Johnson, and WR Wamon Buggs along the way and capped the possession by floating a pass to TE Doug Cozen that was caught just inside the end zone for a five-yard touchdown. A pass interference call on the visitors was declined, Roveto kicked the point after, and it was a 17-7 game.

LA got a break later in the period when a poor punt by Chicago’s Frank Garcia traveled just 18 yards. The Express capitalized, scoring on a touchdown pass from Ramsey to TE Ricky Ellis that covered 18 yards. The extra point by Abbott again narrowed the margin to three points.

For the remainder of the contest, the Chicago defense came up with key turnovers to expand and then preserve the lead. First, MLB Jim Fahnhorst recovered a fumble by Los Angeles FB LaRue Harrington, who was stripped by DT Joe Ehrmann, and that led to a 24-yard Roveto field goal that put the Blitz up by six points with 2:07 remaining.

There were still opportunities for the Express, but Chicago’s defense garnered two more takeaways in the last two minutes to seal the win. LB Ed Smith and safety Eddie Brown intercepted Ramsey passes and the Blitz won by a final score of 20-14.

Chicago had the edge in total yards (322 to 208), with an almost-equal balance between rushing (158) and passing (164), and also led in first downs (19 to 12). Los Angeles turned the ball over three times, to none by the Blitz. However, Chicago was hurt by 13 penalties, to just five called on the Express.

Greg Landry completed 20 of 36 passes for 173 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Tim Spencer ran for 87 yards on 21 carries and Kevin Long added 58 yards on 12 attempts that included a TD. Trumaine Johnson topped Chicago’s receivers with 6 catches for 70 yards and Wamon Buggs contributed another 53 yards on his three receptions.

For the Express, Mike Rae was a dismal four-of-12 for 29 yards before being relieved by Tom Ramsey, who was successful on 8 of 20 throws for 93 yards and two TDs, but also gave up the two late interceptions. Tony Boddie rushed for 50 yards on 10 carries and also topped the club with 46 yards on his two catches that included a score. WR Kris Haines, RB Wilbert Haslip, and LaRue Harrington all had three pass receptions, for 26, 20, and 12 yards, respectively.

“Chicago has the best personnel of all the teams we’ve played so far, no question about it,” said LA’s Coach Campbell. “They present you with a lot of problems, especially their defense.”

The Blitz went on to a 12-6 record, finishing second in the Central Division and grabbing a Wild Card playoff spot. While leading the USFL in scoring and overall defense, Chicago was not so adept at holding fourth quarter leads over the course of the season as it was against the Express, and that extended into the playoffs as they fell to the Philadelphia Stars in the Semifinal round. The inconsistent Express ended up at 8-10 and second in the weak Pacific Division.

March 26, 2015

Highlighted Year: Jared Allen, 2008

Defensive End, Minnesota Vikings


Age:  26
5th season in pro football, 1st with Vikings
College: Idaho State
Height: 6’6”   Weight: 270

Prelude:
Chosen by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL draft, Allen was initially viewed as strictly a situational player who would add depth on the defensive line, but surprised by leading the team in sacks as a rookie with 9. Intense, tenacious, and with good instincts, he followed up with 11 sacks in ’05 and improved his play against the run. Allen led the league in fumble recoveries in 2006 with 6, although his sacks fell to 7.5, and there was friction with the front office as well as a suspension from the league for a second DUI offense heading into 2007. Still, he led the NFL with 15.5 sacks in ’07 and was a consensus first-team All-NFL and Pro Bowl choice for the first time. The Chiefs traded him to Minnesota in the offseason where he continued to excel while a member of a stronger overall defensive line.

2008 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Sacks – 14.5 [5, tied with Julius Peppers]
Most sacks, game – 2.5 vs. Chicago 11/30
Multi-sack games – 5
Interceptions – 0
Fumble recoveries – 0
Forced fumbles – 3
Tackles – 41
Assists – 13

Scoring
Safeties – 2 [1, tied with Jameel McClain]
Points – 4

Postseason: 1 G (NFC Wild Card playoff vs. Philadelphia)
Sacks – 2
Interceptions – 0
Forced fumbles – 1
TD – 0

Awards & Honors:
1st team All-NFL: AP
Pro Bowl

Vikings went 10-6 to finish first in the NFC North while leading the NFL in fewest rushing yards allowed (1230). Lost NFC Wild Card playoff to Philadelphia Eagles (26-14).  

Aftermath:
Allen recorded another 14.5 sacks and received All-NFL and Pro Bowl honors again in 2009. 2010 was a down year for the franchise as a whole, and Allen had a comparative off-year, although he still led the team with 11 sacks, his fourth consecutive season in double figures. He bounced back strongly with a 22-sack season in 2011 and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year by The Sporting News as well as receiving consensus first-team All-NFL and Pro Bowl recognition. Allen followed up with 12 sacks in 2012 and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the fifth time. He registered 11.5 sacks in 2013 and signed with the Chicago Bears as a free agent for 2014. A bout with pneumonia caused Allen to lose 18 pounds, snapped a 113-game playing streak, and had him playing at less than full-strength. The defense as a whole suffered through a disastrous year and Allen’s sack total fell to 5.5. Through 11 seasons and 172 games, Allen has been credited with 134 sacks, as well as five interceptions and 19 fumble recoveries. He has been a consensus first-team All-NFL honoree four times in addition to the five Pro Bowl selections.

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Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970

March 24, 2015

Highlighted Year: Trace Armstrong, 2000

Defensive End, Miami Dolphins


Age:  35 (Oct. 5)
12th season in pro football, 6th with Dolphins
College: Florida
Height: 6’4”   Weight: 270

Prelude:
Originally a college star at Arizona State, Armstrong was forced to transfer to Florida for his senior year due to a ruling by the NCAA regarding his academic eligibility. He received All-America recognition from the Sporting News at defensive end as well as All-SEC honors and was chosen by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 1989 NFL draft (12th overall). He moved into the starting lineup as a rookie, with unspectacular results, but possessing a good work ethic as well as speed and tenacity, Armstrong improved significantly by his second year, garnering 10 sacks. He was slowed by knee and ankle injuries in 1991 but settled into being a solid starting player over the course of six seasons in Chicago, accounting for 42 sacks with a high of 11.5 in 1993. Armstrong moved on to the Dolphins in 1995 where he continued to struggle with injuries but had a 12-sack season in ’96. He performed in more of a reserve role as a pass rushing specialist while also providing veteran leadership.

2000 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Sacks – 16.5 [2, tied with Warren Sapp, 1st in AFC]
Most sacks, game – 3.5 vs. Buffalo 10/8
Multi-sack games – 4
Interceptions – 0
Fumble recoveries – 0
Forced fumbles – 7
Tackles – 24
Assists – 10

Postseason: 2 G
Sacks – 1
Interceptions – 0
Fumble recoveries – 1
TD – 0

Awards & Honors:
2nd team All-NFL: AP
1st team All-AFC: Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Dolphins went 11-5 to finish first in the AFC East while leading the NFL in interceptions (28). Won AFC Wild Card playoff over Indianapolis Colts (23-17). Lost AFC Divisional playoff to Oakland Raiders (27-0).

Aftermath:
Armstrong signed with the Oakland Raiders as a free agent for 2001. His season was cut short due to an Achilles injury and he lasted two more years as a part-time performer. Overall, he played in 211 regular season games over 15 years and finished with 106 sacks, reaching double figures five times. His Pro Bowl selection in 2000 was the only one of his career.

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Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970

March 22, 2015

Highlighted Year: Marcus Allen, 1993

Running Back, Kansas City Chiefs


Age: 33
12th season in pro football, 1st with Chiefs
College: Southern California
Height: 6’2”   Weight: 210

Prelude:
After winning the 1981 Heisman Trophy at USC, Allen was chosen by the Raiders in the first round of the ’82 draft. In the strike-shortened 1982 season, he led the NFL with 1098 yards from scrimmage, 14 TDs, and 84 points. For his efforts, he was a consensus Rookie of the Year and first-team All-NFL selection and was chosen to the Pro Bowl. He gained over a thousand yards rushing in each of the next three seasons, with a high of 1759 yards in ’85, which led the league along with his 2314 yards from scrimmage. He also topped the league in touchdowns with 18 in 1984 and was the MVP of the Super Bowl following the ’83 season, after rushing for 191 yards. Allen was a proficient receiver out of the backfield, catching a total of 237 passes in his first four seasons. He was a consensus first-team All-Pro in 1982 and ’85, when he also received MVP recognition, and was selected to the Pro Bowl five times. However, after 1985, Allen never again ran for a thousand yards or caught more than 51 passes in a season. Bothered by injuries (and involved in disputes with owner Al Davis), he shared time with other running backs during the remainder of his career with the Raiders, most notably Bo Jackson. Having rushed for 8545 yards on 2090 carries (4.1 avg.) and caught 446 passes for another 4258 yards (9.5 avg.) and scoring a total of 98 touchdowns, Allen left the Raiders for the Chiefs in 1993 and took over the starting running back job from Harvey Williams during the season.

1993 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Rushing
Attempts – 206 [15]
Most attempts, game – 22 (for 74 yds.) vs. Buffalo 11/28
Yards – 764 [15]
Most yards, game – 91 yards (on 17 carries) vs. Denver 9/20
Average gain – 3.7
TDs – 12 [1]

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 34
Most receptions, game – 5 (for 36 yds.) at Miami 10/31, (for 20 yds.) vs. San Diego 12/19
Yards – 238
Most yards, game – 36 (on 5 catches) at Miami 10/31
Average gain – 7.0
TDs – 3

Scoring
TDs – 15 [2, tied with Andre Rison, 1st in AFC]
Points – 90

Postseason: 3 G
Rushing attempts – 53
Most rushing attempts, game – 21 vs. Pittsburgh, AFC Wild Card playoff
Rushing yards – 191
Most rushing yards, game – 74 at Houston, AFC Divisional playoff
Average gain rushing – 3.6
Rushing TDs – 3

Pass receptions – 7
Most pass receptions, game – 4 vs. Pittsburgh, AFC Wild Card playoff
Pass receiving yards – 77
Most pass receiving yards, game – 36 at Buffalo, AFC Championship
Average yards per reception – 11.0
Pass Receiving TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL Comeback Player of the Year: AP
1st team All-AFC: UPI, Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Chiefs went 11-5 to finish first in the AFC West. Won AFC Wild Card playoff over Pittsburgh Steelers (27-24) and AFC Divisional playoff over Houston Oilers (28-20). Lost AFC Championship to Buffalo Bills (30-13).

Aftermath:
Having reinvigorated his career, Allen played another four seasons with the Chiefs, still scoring 11 TDs as a backup in his final year at age 37. He retired in 1997 with 123 career touchdowns, as well as 12,243 rushing yards and 587 pass receptions (the record for a running back at the time) for another 5412 yards. Of those totals, 3698 rushing yards and 1153 receiving yards came in Kansas City. Allen was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2003.

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Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970

March 21, 2015

1962: Eagles Trade Billy Barnes to Redskins in Four-Player Deal


On March 21, 1962 the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins made a four-player trade, with the Eagles sending HB Billy Barnes (pictured at right) and safety Bobby Freeman to Washington in exchange for C Jim Schrader and CB Ben Scotti.

The teams were in significantly different situations following the 1961 season. The Eagles had been NFL Champions in 1960 and, while they had lost both Head Coach Buck Shaw and QB Norm Van Brocklin to retirement, contended in ‘61 while featuring the league’s most productive offense. The Redskins, cellar dwellers in ‘60, had suffered through a dreadful 1961 season with the league’s poorest attack while compiling a 1-12-1 record. A rookie, Norm Snead, started at quarterback and experienced a rough trial by fire. HB Dick James led the team in rushing with just 374 yards and FB Don Bosseler, once a productive ball carrier, suffered through an injury-riddled season and gained 220 yards.

Washington’s transaction with the Eagles followed the momentous December trade of the rights to first draft choice Ernie Davis, the Heisman Trophy-winning halfback out of Syracuse, to Cleveland for halfbacks Bobby Mitchell, a savvy veteran of four years, and Leroy Jackson, a sprinter out of Western Illinois who had been a first round draft pick by the Browns (and who thus became the first African-American players for the Redskins, along with RB/DB Ron Hatcher, who was drafted in the eighth round and signed before their acquisition). While Davis was a powerful runner (and who tragically never played in the NFL, dying of leukemia at age 23), the Redskins hoped to make good use of Mitchell’s and Jackson’s speed.

Billy Barnes (often referred to with his middle name included as Billy Ray Barnes) was stocky and not especially fast but played with great determination. He had been chosen in the second round of the 1957 NFL draft out of Wake Forest and was selected to the Pro Bowl after each of his first three seasons. High-spirited off the field but a fierce competitor on it, QB Norm Van Brocklin nicknamed Barnes “the Boiler” because his face would turn red during games. He rushed for a high of 687 yards on 181 carries (3.8 avg.) in 1959 and had his best year as a pass receiver out of the backfield in ’58 with 35 catches for 423 yards (12.1 avg.). His production had dropped in both 1960 and ’61 due to a knee injury and the presence of young halfbacks Ted Dean and Timmy Brown made him available to the Redskins. In five seasons with the Eagles, Barnes rushed for 3421 yards and gained another 1786 yards on 153 catches, scoring a total of 28 touchdowns.



The key to the deal for Philadelphia was Jim Schrader (pictured at left), who filled a need at center, thus freeing up Chuck Bednarik, who moved between center and linebacker, to move back to the defense full-time. Schrader had been a college star at Notre Dame and started 64 straight games at center for the Redskins, garnering three Pro Bowl selections, including one following the ’61 season.

As for Bobby Freeman and Ben Scotti, it was an exchange of defensive backs that were expected to start for their respective teams. Freeman had been a third round draft pick of the Browns in 1955 who moved on to Green Bay in ’59 and was acquired by the Eagles during the 1960 preseason. He was a starting safety as the team went on to win the NFL title that year, and his key interception in a crucial contest against the Giants was a notable highlight along the way. Scotti was undrafted out of Maryland in 1959 and spent three years with Washington. Freeman ended up playing just one more season while Scotti intercepted four passes in ’62, although his performance was uneven and he split time with Mike McClellan. He was released during the 1963 season following a vicious off-field fight with a teammate, DT John Mellekas, and moved on to the 49ers.

Barnes moved into the lineup at halfback while Bobby Mitchell was converted to flanker (with outstanding results). He led the club in rushing with 492 yards on 159 carries (3.1 avg.) while catching 14 passes for 220 yards (15.7 avg.) despite being limited to ten games by injury. It was an adequate performance while Mitchell led the league with 72 pass receptions for 1384 yards and 11 touchdowns. Washington got off to a 4-0-2 start before collapsing during the second half of the season and finishing at 5-7-2 (putting them ahead of the injury-riddled Eagles, who replaced Washington in the cellar of the Eastern Conference with a 3-10-1 record).

While unhappy with his contract, Barnes played another year for the Redskins, with lesser returns, and after suffering an injury during the preseason, was released and missed all of 1964. He was with Minnesota in 1965 and ’66, where Van Brocklin was now the head coach, for his last two seasons. Overall in Washington, Barnes ran for 866 yards, averaging 3.4 yards per carry, and caught 29 passes for 476 yards, scoring a total of nine touchdowns. 

Schrader spent the last three years of his career with the Eagles, starting at center in 1962 and ’63 and then backing up Jim Ringo after the future Hall of Famer was obtained from the Packers in ’64. Knee problems caused his performance to drop off during his time in Philadelphia and he failed to play at the anticipated level.

March 18, 2015

Highlighted Year: Mark Brunell, 1996

Quarterback, Jacksonville Jaguars



Age: 26 (Sept. 17)
4th season (3rd active) in pro football, 2nd with Jaguars
College: Washington
Height: 6’0”   Weight: 217

Prelude:
Brunell led the Univ. of Washington to a Rose Bowl triumph following the 1990 season but suffered a knee injury the next year that made teams wary of him during the ’93 NFL draft. He was picked by Green Bay in the fifth round and backed up durable QB Brett Favre for two seasons, seeing no action at all as a rookie. Nearly traded to the Eagles, he instead was dealt to the expansion Jaguars in 1995. The mobile lefthanded passer took over the starting job seven games into the season and passed for 2168 yards with 15 TDs against 7 interceptions while rushing for 480 yards with a per-carry average of 7.2.

1996 Season Summary
Appeared and started in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Passing
Attempts – 557 [2]
Most attempts, game – 52 at St. Louis 10/20
Completions – 353 [2]
Most completions, game – 37 at St. Louis 10/20
Yards – 4367 [1]
Most yards, game – 432 at New England 9/22
Completion percentage – 63.4 [3]
Yards per attempt – 7.8 [1]
TD passes – 19 [8]
Most TD passes, game – 3 at New England 9/22
Interceptions – 20 [2, tied with Dave Brown]
Most interceptions, game – 5 at St. Louis 10/20
Passer rating – 84.0 [8]
400-yard passing games – 2
300-yard passing games – 6
200-yard passing games – 15

Rushing
Attempts – 80
Most attempts, game - 10 (for 41 yds.) vs. Pittsburgh 9/1, (for 25 yds.) at Baltimore 11/24, (for 47 yds.) at Houston 12/8
Yards – 396
Most yards, game – 58 yards (on 7 carries) vs. Baltimore 11/10
Average gain – 5.0 [4]
TDs – 3

Scoring
TDs – 3
2-point PATs – 2 [2, tied with Michael Jackson, Edgar Bennett & Keenan McCardell]
Points – 22

Postseason: 3 G
Pass attempts – 100
Most pass attempts, game – 38 at New England, AFC Championship
Pass completions – 56
Most pass completions, game – 20 at New England, AFC Championship
Passing yardage – 674
Most passing yards, game – 245 at Denver, AFC Divisional playoff
TD passes – 3
Most TD passes, game – 2 at Denver, AFC Divisional playoff
Interceptions – 4
Most interceptions, game – 2 at Buffalo, AFC Wild Card playoff; at New England, AFC Championship

Rushing attempts – 16
Most rushing attempts, game – 7 at Denver, AFC Divisional playoff
Rushing yards – 87
Most rushing yards, game – 44 at Denver, AFC Divisional playoff
Average gain rushing – 5.4
Rushing TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
Pro Bowl

Jaguars went 9-7 to finish second in the AFC Central and qualify for the postseason as a Wild Card entry while leading the NFL in passing yards (4110). Won AFC Wild Card playoff over Buffalo Bills (30-27) and AFC Divisional playoff over Denver Broncos (30-27). Lost AFC Championship to New England Patriots (20-6).

Aftermath:
Brunell followed up with another Pro Bowl season in 1997, although hindered by a knee injury that forced him to wear a knee brace, and the Jaguars again made it to the playoffs for the second of four consecutive years. He made the Pro Bowl for a third (and last) time in 1999 but the team came up short in the postseason and began to deteriorate thereafter. Tough and a good leader as well as effective passer, Brunell became less mobile and more battered over time and finally lost his starting job to rookie Byron Leftwich in 2003. He was traded to Washington in ’04 and had one last significant season in 2005, passing for 3050 yards and a career-high 23 TDs as the team reached the playoffs for the first time in six years. Brunell started nine games in ’06 and again yielded the starting job to a young quarterback, Jason Campbell. He finished his career with two years apiece as a backup with the Saints and Jets. Overall, he passed for 32,072 yards and 184 touchdowns, with 25,698 of those yards and 144 TDs coming with the Jaguars, who went 63-54 in the regular season and 4-4 in the playoffs with Brunell behind center. He also rushed for 2421 yards and 15 touchdowns.  

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Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970