NFL Passing TD Leaders By Year—1980s
In the ‘80s, we saw great quarterbacks like Joe Montana, Dan Marino and Dan Fouts lighting up scoreboards. But those weren't the only names that were leading the NFL in touchdown passes. Here is a complete list of those leaders from the ‘80s:
1989-Jim Everett, Los Angeles Rams (29)
It's funny, but whenever I think of quarterback Jim Everett, I can't help but think of that incident with Jim Rome, back when Romey was with ESPN. Basically Rome called Everett "Chris," referencing female tennis star Chris Evert. But even I didn't realize that Everett led the NFL in passing TDs two straight seasons while with the Rams, in 1988 and 1989. In that 1989 season, Everett racked up a career high 4310 passing yards on 304 of 518 passing, with 29 touchdown passes to lead the league, and 17 interceptions.
1988-Jim Everett, Los Angeles Rams (31)
Jim Everett led the NFL for two straight seasons in passing touchdowns, and in 1988 he had 31 of them. Everett completed 308 of 517 yards for 3964 yards, with the 31 TDs and 18 interceptions.
1987-Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers (31)
For as great a career as Joe Montana had, he only led the NFL in passing touchdowns during the regular season twice-and one of those times was in 1987 when Montana passed for a career high 31 TDs. That season, Montana completed 266 of 398 passes (league-leading 66.8%) for 3054 yards and the 31 TDs to just 13 interceptions.
1986-Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins (44)
In his third straight season of leading the NFL in passing TDs, as well as in passing yardage, Dolphins' QB Dan Marino once again lit up the scoreboard with 44 touchdown throws in 1986. Marino completed 378 of 623 pass attempts for 4746 yards, with the 44 TDs and 23 interceptions.
1985-Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins (30)
Even though he only threw for 30 touchdowns in 1985, Dan Marino still led the NFL in that category, as well as in passing yards with 4137 on 336 of 567 attempts.
1984-Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins (48)
With a record that stood for 20 years, Dan Marino had 48 touchdown passes in 1984. That record stood until 2004 when the Colts' Peyton Manning had 49, and then New England's Tom Brady broke that in 2007 with 50. But that 1984 season was also special for the Hall of Famer Marino-he completed 362 of 564 passes for the 48 TDs with just 17 interceptions, but his 5084 passing yards that year is an NFL record that still stands today.
1983-Lynn Dickey, Green Bay Packers (32)
Veteran QB Lynn Dickey was 34 years old in the 1983 season while with Green Bay, and that year he led all NFL QBs with 32 touchdown throws. Dickey completed 289 of 484 passes for a career high 4458 yards and the 32 TDs and 29 interceptions (which also led the league).
1982-Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers (17); Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers (17); Dan Fouts, San Diego Chargers (17)
In the strike-shortened season of 1982, three amazing quarterbacks tied for the NFL lead in touchdown passes, with 17: Pittsburgh's Terry Bradshaw; San Francisco's Joe Montana; and San Diego's Dan Fouts. Bradshaw completed 127 of 240 passes for 1768 yards with 17 TDs and 11 interceptions, in his next to last season as a pro. Montana was 213 of 346 for 2613 yards and 17 TDs to 11 interceptions. And Fouts was 204 of 330 for 2883 yards (his fourth straight year leading the league in passing yards) and 17 TDs to 11 picks.
1981-Dan Fouts, San Diego Chargers (33)
San Diego's Dan Fouts played in San Diego during the Don "Air" Coryell years, and suffice it to say he threw a lot of passes. He also connected on a lot of them, and in 1981 Fouts was 360 of 609 for 4802 yards and 33 TDs to 17 interceptions. Both the yards and TDs led the NFL, and the yardage was a record at the time, one that still ranks Fouts fourth in NFL history for a single season.
1980-Steve Bartkowski, Atlanta Falcons (31)
In 1980, the Falcons' Steve Bartkowski led the NFL in passing touchdowns with 31. That was a career high, and so were the 3544 passing yards on 257 of 463 attempts with the 31 TDs and 16 interceptions.