October 8, 2011

MVP Profile: Boomer Esiason, 1988

Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals


Age: 27
5th season in pro football & with Bengals
College: Maryland
Height: 6’4” Weight: 220

Prelude:
Taken by the Bengals in the second round of the 1984 NFL draft, the left-handed Esiason replaced Ken Anderson as the starting quarterback in ’85. An accurate passer with a strong arm and good mobility, he led the league in TD percentage (6.3) in 1985 with 27 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in ’86 after passing for 3959 yards and leading the NFL in yards per attempt (8.4).

1988 Season Summary
Appeared and started in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Passing
Attempts – 388 [14]
Most attempts, game – 32 at Philadelphia 9/11
Completions – 223 [13]
Most completions, game – 21 at LA Raiders 10/2
Yards – 3572 [4]
Most yards, game – 363 at Philadelphia 9/11
Completion percentage – 57.5 [12]
Yards per attempt – 9.2 [1]
TD passes – 28 [2, tied with Dan Marino]
Most TD passes, game – 4 at Philadelphia 9/11
Interceptions – 14 [10, tied with Bubby Brister]
Most interceptions, game – 5 at New England 10/16
Passer rating – 97.4 [1]
300-yard passing games – 3
200-yard passing games – 9

Rushing
Attempts – 43
Most attempts, game - 5 (for 18 yds.) at Cleveland 10/30
Yards – 248
Most yards, game – 61 yards (on 3 carries) vs. NY Jets 10/9
Yards per attempt – 5.8
TDs – 1

Punting
Punts – 1
Yards – 21
Average – 21.0
Punts blocked – 0

Scoring
TDs – 1
Points - 6

Postseason: 3 G
Pass attempts – 64
Most attempts, game - 25 vs. San Francisco, Super Bowl
Pass completions – 29
Most completions, game - 11 vs. Buffalo, AFC Championship, vs. San Francisco, Super Bowl
Passing yardage – 346
Most yards, game - 144 vs. San Francisco, Super Bowl
TD passes – 1
Most TD passes, game - 1 vs. Buffalo, AFC Championship
Interceptions – 3
Most interceptions, game - 2 vs. Buffalo, AFC Championship

Rushing attempts – 12
Most rushing attempts, game - 7 vs. Buffalo, AFC Championship
Rushing yards – 37
Most rushing yards, game - 26 vs. Buffalo, AFC Championship
Average gain rushing – 3.1
Rushing TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL MVP: AP, PFWA, Sporting News
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, NEA, Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News
1st team All-AFC: UPI, Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Bengals went 12-4 to finish first in the AFC Central while leading the NFL in total yards (6057), rushing yards (2710), points (448), and TDs (59). Won AFC Divisional playoff over Seattle Seahawks (21-13) and AFC Championship over Buffalo Bills (21-10). Lost Super Bowl to San Francisco 49ers (20-16).

Aftermath:
Esiason had another Pro Bowl season in 1989, with nearly identical numbers to ’88, although the team’s record dropped to 8-8. After three disappointing seasons in 1990, ’91, and ’92, he was traded to the New York Jets and was selected to a fourth Pro Bowl in 1993, although his performance dropped off in the second half of the year. The next two years with the Jets, a team in flux, were mediocre and Esiason moved on to the Arizona Cardinals, where he threw for 522 yards in one game but otherwise had an inconsequential season. He returned to Cincinnati for one last, good year in a part-time role in 1997 (five starts, but a 106.9 passer rating with 13 TDs and just 2 INTs) before retiring to the broadcast booth. Overall, Esiason passed for 37,920 yards with 247 TDs against 184 interceptions.

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MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself).

[Updated 2/13/14]