NFL history shows Bradford will likely struggle to repeat last year’s success in 2017

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 25: Sam Bradford /

Past trends indicate that the Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback likely will not have as successful of a season this year as he did in 2016.

Despite still not being able to lead a team into the playoffs, 2016 went down as an impressive year for Sam Bradford in his first season as the starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings.

Bradford set single-season career highs in completion percentage, passing yards, touchdown to interception ratio, and quarterback rating. His 71.6 completion percentage in 2016 was also the highest ever by an NFL quarterback in the league’s history.

So in 2017, how will Bradford follow up his record-breaking performance from last season? Well if history has any say in how the quarterback will play, his production is likely to experience a bit of regression this year.

CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 31: Sam Bradford
CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 31: Sam Bradford /

Last season was Bradford’s sixth in the NFL and he finished the year with the highest passer rating of his career. Like the Vikings’ quarterback, a number of signal callers in the league’s history have also posted a career-high passer rating during their sixth season.

But despite their achievements in year six, the majority of these quarterbacks saw a dip in their production during the following season. Of the last 14 quarterbacks to finish their sixth year in the NFL with a career-high passer rating, only two (14 percent) managed to have a higher rating in the season after.

Statistics courtesy of
Statistics courtesy of /

For whatever reason, the seventh year in the league for most of these signal callers failed to be as productive as their season before.

Will Bradford defy the odds in 2017 and avoid this trend that has remained pretty consistent over the last 30 NFL seasons? Or will he just become another example that supports the theory that this trend has created?

Next: Who will be the best player on the Vikings' defense in 2017?

Obviously, Minnesota would like Bradford to have a seventh season like Alex Smith or Peyton Manning (good luck matching Manning’s numbers from that year). But if Bradford is able to produce next season in a similar way to which he did in 2016 (maybe add in a few successful late-game drives this year though), that may be all the Vikings need to get back into the playoffs.