November 15, 2011

MVP Profile: Dan Fouts, 1982

Quarterback, San Diego Chargers

Age: 31
10th season in pro football & with Chargers
College: Oregon
Height: 6’3” Weight: 205

A third-round draft choice by the Chargers in 1973, Fouts gradually took over the starting job as a rookie while an over-the-hill Johnny Unitas faded from the scene in his last season. He struggled for the next two years but benefited from the presence of Bill Walsh as offensive coordinator in 1976. Fouts missed the first 10 games in ’77 due to a lawsuit against the NFL. Head Coach Tommy Prothro was replaced by the pass-oriented Don Coryell during the 1978 season, and the sturdy drop-back passer’s career benefited greatly. After leading the NFL in yards per attempt in ’78 (7.9), he set a new passing yardage record in 1979 with 4082, led the league in completion percentage (62.6), and was a consensus first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection. With an outstanding group of receivers to throw to in the Air Coryell passing game, Fouts broke his passing yardage record in each of the next two seasons (4715 in 1980, 4802 in ’81) while leading the NFL in attempts and completions each year and in TD passes in 1981 (33). He was a Pro Bowl selection again following each season, although the team consistently came up short in the playoffs.

1982 Season Summary
Appeared and started in all 9 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank]

Attempts – 330 [2]
Most attempts, game – 48 at San Francisco 12/11
Completions – 204 [3]
Most completions, game – 33 at San Francisco 12/11
Yards – 2883 [1]
Most yards, game – 444 at San Francisco 12/11
Completion percentage – 61.8 [6]
Yards per attempt – 8.7 [1]
TD passes – 17 [1, tied with Joe Montana & Terry Bradshaw]
Most TD passes, game – 5 at San Francisco 12/11, vs. Baltimore 12/26
Interceptions – 11 [8, tied with six others]
Most interceptions, game – 2 at LA Raiders 11/22, at Cleveland 12/5, vs. Cincinnati 12/20, vs. LA Raiders 1/2
Passer rating – 93.3 [2]
400-yard passing games – 2
300-yard passing games – 5
200-yard passing games – 9

Attempts – 9
Most attempts, game - 3 (for 5 yd.) at Cleveland 12/5
Yards – 8
Most yards, game – 5 yards (on 3 carries) at Cleveland 12/5
Yards per attempt – 0.9
TDs – 1

TDs – 1
Points – 6

Postseason: 2 G
Pass attempts – 76
Most attempts, game - 42 at Pittsburgh, AFC First Round playoff
Pass completions – 42
Most completions, game - 27 at Pittsburgh, AFC First Round playoff
Passing yardage – 524
Most yards, game - 333 at Pittsburgh, AFC First Round playoff
TD passes – 4
Most TD passes, game - 3 at Pittsburgh, AFC First Round playoff
Interceptions – 5
Most interceptions, game - 5 at Miami, AFC Second Round playoff

Rushing attempts – 2
Most rushing attempts, game - 2 at Miami, AFC Second Round playoff
Rushing yards – 3
Most rushing yards, game - 3 at Miami, AFC Second Round playoff
Average gain rushing – 1.5
Rushing TDs – 0

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

Chargers went 6-3 in strike-shortened season and were 5th seed in the AFC playoff tournament that replaced the usual postseason format while leading the NFL in total offense (4048 yards), passing (2927), scoring (288 points), and touchdowns (34). Won First Round playoff over Pittsburgh Steelers (31-28). Lost Second Round playoff to Miami Dolphins (34-13).

Playing in just 10 games in 1983, Fouts again achieved Pro Bowl recognition. While he never again passed for 4000 yards in the remaining five years of his career, he did throw for over 3000 three more times, led the league in yards per attempt (8.5) and TD percentage (6.3) in 1985, and was twice more selected to the Pro Bowl (for a total of six). At the time of his retirement, he ranked second all-time in NFL career pass attempts (5604), completions (3297), and yards (43,040) and had a passer rating of 80.2. The Chargers retired his #14 and Fouts was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1993.


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 2/12/14]