Numbers Game: Newton Making History

Carolina Panthers, David Neupauer, Films Encore, Miami Dolphins, Numbers game

Cam Newton has been nothing short of sensational in his first four starts.  Not since Dan Marino in 1983 has a rookie quarterback been so dominant.  Remarkably, the Panthers’ rookie signal-caller has the third most passing yards of any quarterback in the NFL through four weeks of the 2011 season.  He has more passing yards than Aaron Rodgers or Philip Rivers.  In fact, he has 35% more passing yards through four starts than any rookie quarterback in NFL history.

Some of Newton’s success can be attributed to the era in which he’s playing.  Four of the five Quarterbacks to ever win AP Rookie of the Year did so since 2000 (Bradford, Ryan, Young, Roethlisberger).  But none of those guys posted passing numbers out of the gate like Newton.  And it’s not just yards.  Newton has posted prolific yardage totals while compiling a respectable QB Rating of 85.2.  Of the top 12 rookie passers in NFL history though four starts, only Dan Marino (111.0) had a higher QB Rating than Newton.

In 1983, Dan Marino won 3 of his first 4 starts, throwing 10 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions.  He completed over 62% of his passes and averaged over 8.5 yards per attempt.  He was an immediate star.  We produced this segment for “NFL Mag!” in Week 9 of 1983, following Marino’s fourth career start.

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