Rushing & Passing Throughout CFL History

Well ... It's a Friday Night and there's no CFL Football ... So, once again I find myself bored!

So, I was thinking to myself; "I wonder how much the rushing & passing has changed throughout the history of the CFL?"

Well, like I said I was bored ... So I decided to find out. I took statistics from 1955 to 2013. I took the numbers of the top passer & top rusher in each particular year. For rushers, I took the highest yardage gainer as well as the most rushing attempts. For passers I took, once again, the highest passing yardage player as well as the one with the most completions. Then I normalized them for the 14, 16 & 18 game seasons that had changed over the time period. For analysis, I converted everything to an 18 game schedule.

So without further adieu ... what did I find?

In The '50's
The average top rusher had 283 attempts for 1671 yards.
The average top passer threw 269 completions for 4140 yards.

In The '60's
The average top rusher had 297 attempts for 1678 yards.
The average top passer threw 262 completions for 3932 yards.

In The '70's
The average top rusher had 299 attempts for 1636 yards.
The average top passer threw 282 completions for 3878 yards.

In The '80's
The average top rusher had 265 attempts for 1420 yards.
The average top passer threw 354 completions for 4908 yards.

In The '90's
The average top rusher had 287 attempts for 1585 yards.
The average top passer threw 408 completions for 5573 yards.

In The First Decade of the New Millennium
The average top rusher had 276 attempts for 1545 yards.
The average top passer threw 402 completions for 5290 yards.

So Far This Decade
The average top rusher had 243 attempts for 1512 yards.
The average top passer threw 390 completions for 5271 yards.

In terms of the passing game ... numbers actually went down from the 50's to '60's by almost 3% in terms of yards & 5% in terms of attempts. The 70's saw an increase of attempts by more than 7% but yardage went down by a little more than 1%.
The '80's saw the real surge, expansion & growth of the modern passing game. Attempts jumped up more than 25% & yardage increased over 26% from the previous decade. The '90's saw growth of the passing game continue & represented the zenith of pitch & catch in the CFL. Attempts grew an additional 15% from the '80's & yardage grew another 13%. The first decade of the new millennium has see these astronomically high passing numbers of the '90's come back down to Earth. Attempts were down 1% & yardage dropped by 5%. So far this decade, we've see attempts fall another 3% while yardage is almost the same but down a fraction of a percent.

In terms of the rushing game ... attempts went up by 5% from the '50's to '60's and yardage increased slightly by just half a percent. The '60's truly represent the Golden Age of the game in the CFL. Attempts once again increased slightly by 2/3rds of a percent from the '60's to '70's but yardage fell by 2.5%. With the first explosion of the passing game in '80's, the rushing game suffered greatly as attempts declined by 11% and yardage fell by 13%. The '90's saw a rebound of 8% more attempts & 11% more yardage but still shy of the average highs that were attained in the '60's. The first decade of the new millennium once again saw the rushing game decline by almost 4% in the form of attempts & 2.5% in the way of yardage. So far this decade, attempts are down 12% yet again & are actually at an all time low. Yardage so far this decade is down 2% but is still ahead of the lows achieved in the '80's.

Probably not a lot new information here that we didn't know already. When you look at it over the last 58 years though ... Rushing is down 14% in terms of attempts and almost 10% in terms of yards gained by the league's top rusher. All the while, the top passer is completing 27% more passes than his '50's predecessor & gaining a whopping 45% more yardage!

Only other interesting thing to note, is that the '90's do represent the real pinnacle of offensive football in the CFL. Over 7100 yards accounted for on average by the Top QB & Top RB in that decade. That's 30% more offensive production than the best QB & RB in the '70's which represents a low in offensive production in the CFL.

(BTW ... Can someone teach me how to paste graphs? This would've been so much easier & less time consuming for everyone involved!!! :stuck_out_tongue:

The flutie decade :rockin: :rockin: :rockin:

Very interesting reading Fenderguy. Thanks for researching that. I don't know what conclusions one can draw from such information but I'm sure there will be some.

Yeah, I think Flutie and the offenses built around him influenced those numbers. Also, we had the expansion teams, creating a greater disparity between the worst defenses and the best offenses.