Getty ImagesDetroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was one of three guys to throw for more than 5,000 yards this season, along with Drew Brees and Tom Brady. This makes Stafford one of four guys who have ever done it (the other being Dan Marino in 1984). Pretty impressive, right?
Not if you're Marshall Faulk. He's a little underwhelmed. The Hall of Fame running back and NFL Network analyst added an unfortunate flavor to Stafford's Cheerios over his 5,000-yard accomplishment.
"Throwing for 5,000 yards in the NFL right now is nothing," Faulk said. "I don't want to take anything away from it. As much as people throw the football now, you better have 5,000 (yards) if you have Calvin Johnson."
My favorite part is "I don't want to take anything away from it," squeezed between sentences where he does nothing but take away from it. It's like saying to someone, "Hey, I don't mean to punch you in the face" as you continually punch them in the face.
That doesn't mean Faulk's wrong, though. Have we gotten to a point where throwing for 5,000 yards doesn't mean much?
Nothing can answer but time. Obviously, the NFL is more of a passing league now than it was in 1984, and today's rules and how they're enforced are more conducive to big passing numbers. Still, we only got back to the 5,000-yard barrier in 2011. It didn't happen in 2010. It didn't happen in 2009.
As for the Calvin Johnson factor, I don't believe that Stafford should have 5,000 yards just because he has Megatron out wide. Larry Fitzgerald exists, too, but I don't see anyone in Arizona getting close to 5,000 yards. By that logic, Tom Brady should throw for 5,000-plus yards as long as he has Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski.
If, by 2030, we've have 40 quarterbacks go over the 5,000-yard mark, then sure ‒ the number has been devalued. For now, I think it makes just as much sense to believe that this was a one-year thing as it would to believe that it's going to happen again and again and again.
Faulk's a good analyst and a smart guy. His opinion, of course, is valid, and there's some truth behind what he's saying. Saying that 5,000 yards is nothing, though? That's taking it a bit far. When Mark Sanchez and Joe Flacco are throwing for 5,000 yards, then it's nothing. Right now, it's still something.