November 4, 2016

Highlighted Year: Dan Fouts, 1980

Quarterback, San Diego Chargers

Age:  29
8th season in pro football & with Chargers
College: Oregon
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 210

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, although he performed well upon his return. 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-NFL and Pro Bowl selection.  

1980 Season Summary
Appeared and started in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 589 [1]
Most attempts, game – 45 vs. Denver 11/9
Completions – 348 [1]
Most completions, game – 29 vs. Oakland 9/14, vs. Denver 11/9
Yards – 4715 [1]
Most yards, game – 444 vs. NY Giants 10/19
Completion percentage – 59.1 [10]
Yards per attempt – 8.0 [2]
TD passes – 30 [2, tied with Vince Ferragamo & Brian Sipe, 1st in AFC]
Most TD passes, game – 4 at Seattle 9/7
Interceptions – 24 [5]
Most interceptions, game – 5 vs. Oakland 9/14
Passer rating – 84.7 [6]
400-yard passing games – 1
300-yard passing games – 8
200-yard passing games – 15

Attempts – 23
Most attempts, game – 5 (for -5 yds.) vs. Philadelphia 11/30
Yards – 15
Most yards, game – 12 yards (on 2 carries) at Miami 11/20
Yards per attempt – 0.7
TDs – 2

TDs – 2
Points – 12

Postseason: 2 G
Pass attempts – 82
Most pass attempts, game – 45 vs. Oakland, AFC Championship
Pass completions – 44
Most pass completions, game – 22 vs. Buffalo, AFC Divisional playoff; vs. Oakland, AFC Championship
Passing yardage – 650
Most passing yards, game – 336 vs. Oakland, AFC Championship
TD passes – 4
Most TD passes, game – 2 vs. Buffalo, AFC Divisional playoff; vs. Oakland, AFC Championship
Interceptions – 3
Most interceptions, game – 2 vs. Oakland, AFC Championship

Rushing attempts – 3
Most rushing attempts, game – 2 vs. Buffalo, AFC Divisional playoff
Rushing yards – -4
Most rushing yards, game – 2 vs. Oakland, AFC Championship
Average gain rushing – -1.3
Rushing TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
2nd team All-NFL: AP
2nd team All-AFC: UPI
Pro Bowl

Chargers went 11-5 to finish first in the AFC West while leading the NFL in total yards (6410) and passing yards (4531). Won AFC Divisional playoff over Buffalo Bills (20-14). Lost AFC Championship to Oakland Raiders (34-27).

With an outstanding group of receivers to throw to in the Air Coryell passing game, Fouts broke his passing yardage record once again with 4802 yards in 1981 while leading the NFL in attempts (609) and completions (360) as well as TD passes (33). He was a Pro Bowl selection for a third straight year, although the Chargers once again came up short in the playoffs. In the strike-shortened ’82 season Fouts led the NFL in passing yards (2883), TD passes (17), and yards per attempt (8.7) and received MVP honors from the PFWA and NEA as well as Offensive Player of the Year recognition from AP. 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.


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