|Maybe Schwartz was just settling Stafford down. (Getty Images)|
In 2011, Matthew Stafford threw for 5,038 passing yards. If you're new to the NFL, that's a large, large number. In fact, it's only happened five times in NFL history, so it's a rather impressive feat. Unless you're Marshall Faulk anyway.
The NFL Network analyst and Hall of Fame running back, speaking specifically of Stafford, told MLive.com recently that passing for 5,000 yards "is nothing" in today's NFL.
"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."
Look, Stafford's already been snubbed enough already in 2011: he threw for the fifth-most passing yards in NFL history and somehow didn't make the freaking Pro Bowl. (In fact, we spoke to Stafford and DirecTV "displaced fan" John Tracy about this at the Super Bowl: Stafford said he was indeed "disappointed" while Tracy pointed out that Stafford was easily the top Pro Bowl snub of the 2011 season.)
And Faulk has a small point here: three of the five 5,000 yard seasons happened in 2011. There have only been 99 4,000 yard seasons in NFL history, and 10 of them happened last year as well.
But let's not downplay this as a meaningless feat; to chunk it for five grand means you average over 310 passing yards per game over the full course of an NFL season. There's some luck (like not having a running game and being involved in some shootouts) necessary, of course, and it didn't hurt that Stafford led the NFL in attempts, at 663.
It didn't hurt either that he was throwing the ball to Megatron. But if we're presuming that Faulk would defend Kurt Warner and his inability to get 5,000 yards, even in his MVP season of 2001, he didn't exactly have a group of slouches either: the sum of Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce and Faulk himself are vastly superior to Megatron alone.
But maybe Faulk's not being defensive of Warner and the "Greatest Show on Turf" teams. Maybe he genuinely believes that passing for 5,000 yards "is nothing." In that case, he may recognize the obvious uptick in passing in the NFL, but he's simply wrong in shortchanging the milestone.
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