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11/2011 Historical Player Profile: Mark Brunell

November 18th 2011 17:24
I continue my recent string of Jaguars-themed Historical Player Profiles with their former star quarterback; Mark Brunell. The now-bankrupt backup Jets quarterback is probably shaking his head at the team's most recent loss. The lefty has lost most of his former glory, so I'm just going to focus on his notable seasons with the Jags and Washington Redskins.

Brunell is currently in his 17th season, and the three time Pro Bowler was a 5th round pick in the 1993 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. The Seahawks made a mistake in taking highly-regarded Notre Dame product Rick Mirer instead of waiting for Brunell to tumble. The Packers already had their answer in Brett Favre, and Brunell and the Jaguars struck gold when he was traded for a 3rd and fifth rounder.

The greatest quarterback in team history, Brunell would be named to the '96,'97, and '99 Pro Bowls. He was simply sensational in 1996, as he led the league in passing yards (4,367) and also led the NFL with 7.8 yards per attempt. This was made all the more impressive when you consider he was sacked a league-leading 50 times. It was the best season of his career, and he even had a league-leading three fourth quarter comebacks to show for it. Despite the 63.4 completion percentage, Brunell did throw 20 picks that year.

A season later, Mark Brunell still made the Pro Bowl- and was the game's MVP- on the strength of just seven interceptions. He also averaged 7.6 air yards per attempt and had a 91.2 QB Rating.

A devout Christian who is known as one of the nicest players and best mentors in the league, Mark Brunell threw for under 3,000 yards in 1998 but came back in 1999 with 3,060 yards and another Pro Bowl appearance (the last one of his career). Only two percent of his passes were picked off, and Brunell had another solid season.

Two interesting statistical streaks emerge when looking at Brunell's career, and these are his six straight seasons of at least 200 passing yards per game (1996-2001) and his streak of eight consecutive seasons with a QB Rating of at least 82.0 (1995-2002). Brunell has a career AV of 120, a QB Rating of 84.0, 6.9 yards per attempt, and 22 game-winning drives. Pro-Football Reference's Fan EloRater has him as the 374th best player in NFL history as of November 9th.

Known as a good scrambler, Mark Brunell was dealt to the Washington Redskins after the 2003 season when Byron Leftwich was named the Jaguars new starting quarterback.

However, Brunell got off to an awful start with his new team in 2004. In 2005, he turned up the heat to the tune of an 85.9 QB Rating and was third in the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award voting. He came up big with two key touchdown passes in an MNF game against the 'Skins most hated rivals; the Dallas Cowboys. His two bombs to the elite Santana Moss in the final four minutes gave them an incredible 14-13 victory. Although they were knocked out in the playoffs, they were able to take down the Tampa Bay Bucs in the Wild Card game.

Brunell set the record for the most consecutive complete passes in a game (22) in a game against the Houston Texans in 2006. However, eight weeks later, David Carr tied that record. What makes this all the more interesting is the fact that those 22 passes were his first attempts of the game.

That game was the only high point of a poor season for Brunell, as he was surprisingly benched in favor of first round pick Jason Campbell. Although Campbell would go on to have a decent career- up until his unfortunate injury this season- many people believed that this was an imprudent move and that the usually classless Redskins made Mark Brunell their scapegoat.

The Whataburger owner and Madoff/Dykstra investor signed on with the New Orleans Saints to back up superstar QB and franchise savior Drew Brees. This turned out to be a great move for the holder, as he won a Super Bowl ring thanks to the prolific play of Brees under center in 2009. The former Ed Block Courage Award winner and "Whizzer" White NFL Man of the Year did play a role as one of the main advisers to Drew Brees that season.

Mark Brunell signed a two-year deal with the New York Jets in 2010 to back up and mentor Mark Sanchez. Although a solid backup, Brunell was released after the 2010 season and was forced to take a reduced pay cut. He did, and Brunell has filed for bankruptcy since; mainly thanks to some ill-advised investments. It is a somewhat sad story, but at least he has that ring and those 11 Whataburgers won't be closing either.

Although Mark Brunell wasn't a great quarterback by any measure, he was a solid player and is a great person. Everybody will tell you that he is one of the best mentors around, and he is a very religious person whose attitude made him an ideal leader. The problem is that his life has been ridden with bad-luck, and it has costed him what would have certainly been a better career. However, Brunell was able to win a Super Bowl with the Saints and has had a nice 17-year career thus far.
108 AY/A-plus for his career

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7 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by TimmyH6

November 18th 2011 19:47
Coming out of college this man had the potential to be one of the all-time greats. You HAVE to get a copy of the 1996 playoff game between the Jags and Broncos. Brunell out Elwayed Elway. That season he literally carried a second year expansion team on his back to the AFC playoffs. I still say that his 1997 knee injury and playing for Tom Coughlin stopped him from reaching his full potential.

Comment by Joe Soriano

November 18th 2011 20:07
That '96 game you referenced was just great stuff, and I totally agree with your assessment of how he carried those Jags (see what I did there?). Eh, don't hate on Tom Coughlin that much haha. I actually like Coughlin, and I think Tiki Barber tried to alienate him. Barber is one of my least favorite players of all-time, because people actually sympathize with a guy who cheated on his wife, stunk as an analyst and complained about being fired, and he wasn't exactly the best teammate ever. Barber basically tried to attack Coughlin's personality any chance he could get, mainly because he couldn't handle the heat. Yeah, you can tell how much I dislike Tiki. But anyway, thanks for dropping by and sharing some insight on Mark Brunell's career with the Jaguars.

Comment by TimmyH6

November 18th 2011 20:34
I don't hate on Coughlin. If a man wins a Super Bowl it doesn't matter what I think. But he didn't win it until he relaxed and got his players to relax in '07. Then he made me eat crow.

Comment by Joe Soriano

November 18th 2011 20:50
Yeah, I have found out that crow is the main dish served to sports bloggers haha. I don't buy into the "if you win a Super Bowl it doesn't matter what else happens", but I do think Coughlin is a good coach and that was a magical year for sure.

Comment by Bookit

November 18th 2011 21:19
Thanks man for the compliments! I have to believe the only reason Mark Brunell is still in the league is so he can collect a check due to declaring bankruptcy a few years ago due to real estate investments gone awry.

Comment by nbageek

November 19th 2011 02:52
Good look at a great quarterback. Loved Brunell as a Jaguar. Nice work!

Comment by TimmyH6

November 19th 2011 05:19
I buy into winning a championship because the hardest thing for a coach to do is get a group of men with large egos to buy into his system. Take it from one who has coached it ain't easy. It's hard to get church congregations on the same page and if people can't agree on worship there is a good chance they won't agree on football. You win a championship as a coach you earn my respect. Very few have done it.

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