Sports Reference Blog

Full Sack Yards Lost Data Added to Pro Football Reference

Posted by Mike Lynch on February 1, 2024

Pro Football Reference is pleased to announce that it has added full game-by-game (and also year-by-year) Sack Yards Lost data for all passers (NFL, AFL and AAFC) back to 1947, which was the first season Sack Yards Lost were tracked separately and not merely removed from rushing yardage (which is why many passers before 1947 had negative rushing yards).

Often called 'Yards Lost Attempting to Pass' at the time (since the term 'sack' had not yet been coined), the yardage was tracked, but not the number of 'attempts' for lack of a better term. In other words, from 1947 through 1959, we know how many Sack Yards Lost (or Yards Lost Attempting to Pass) each passer had in each game, but we do not know how many times they were sacked until 1960. The exception to this is the AAFC, which has both Times Sacked and Sack Yards Lost from 1947-49. We would like to thank Pete Palmer and Ken Pullis for their work in putting this information together. It complements earlier pioneering work by T.J. Troup on this subject, which remains the source of most of our 1960-68 Times Sacked data.

Our all-time leaderboard for Sack Yards Lost now includes players back to 1947. Glenn Dobbs, in the 1948 AAFC season, was sacked 35 times for 452 yards in 14 games for the Los Angeles Dons. Only Randall Cunningham (1986), Jeff George (1991) and Bryce Young (2023) have topped that figure since. The new data vaults Y.A. Tittle into the top 10 all-time (wedged between Tom Brady and Cunningham), but Fran Tarkenton remains the all-time leader by over 1,400 yards. This new data source also allowed us to clean up some material from the 1960s. For instance, Tarkenton, the all-time leader in Times Sacked, is now credited with 570, rather than 572.

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