This is a great time of year to be thankful for what we have, where we have been, and what the future holds. Although the Chargers have lost their way a bit in recent years, the month of December used to hold such incredible promise! This advent calendar is an attempt to hearken back to these days of December joy. Each day will bring a new advent from the Bolts’ history that make it wonderful to be a Chargers fan.
Dec. 1: Dan Fouts
One of the Most Prolific Passing Quarterbacks in NFL History, totaling 43,040 yards and 254 touchdowns, is our spotlight for today.
Many in this brave new era of Chargers football have grown with and known nothing except for the workload and success of Philip Rivers. I actually can count myself within that group, and that’s a darn shame because there were some great Chargers before the Advent of Philip.
- Fouts helped lead the Chargers to the playoffs from 1979 to 1982 and twice to the AFC title game. He led the league four times in passing yards, ending his career with over 40,000, the third player to surpass that landmark.
- Fouts was a 6-time Pro Bowl selection and compiled passer ratings over 90.0 for a 3-year stretch Fouts threw for over 4,000 yards for 3 consecutive seasons, led the NFL in passing yards in 4 consecutive seasons.
- Fouts was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993, his first year of eligibility. In 2009, he was picked by the fans as the "Greatest Charger Of All Time" for the Chargers 50th anniversary year.
PRO FOOTBALL CAREER
Dan Fouts was a man’s man. He was an incredible ball player and he willed the Chargers to many of their victories during his career. In doing so, he also made quite a name for himself and notched a number of awards and accolades on his belt. His career high of 4,802 passing yards during the 1981 season was an NFL record at the time. In 1982, a season shortened to 9 games because of a strike, Fouts averaged what is still a record of 320 yards passing per game. These sorts of stats are, frankly, a dime a dozen when it comes to Fouts’ repertoire.
Overall, the Chargers achieved three wins against four losses in the playoffs under Fouts, who threw for over 300 yards in all but two of those games. One of their more notable wins was the 1982 playoff game known in NFL Lore as The Epic in Miami (and even more notable names, which we’ll learn about later this month!), where Fouts led his team to a 41-38 victory for a then-franchise record 433 yards and 3 touchdowns on the hot and humid day. His completions, attempts, and yards in the game were all NFL postseason records at the time. The following week in the AFC championship game in Cincinnati, there was a 144 °F drop in temperature compared to the previous week in Miami, and the Chargers lost 27-7 in what is known as the Freezer Bowl.
As 1982 encapsulated so beautifully, Dan Fouts could be both hot and cold in a very short period of time. More of then than not, however, he was this team’s greatest strength. Fouts will endure as a favorite Bolt for many decades to come.
-Jason “Blessed to be a QB Blessed Franchise” Michaels