Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
After his second season as the Bengals starting quarterback, Andy Dalton is making franchise history.
The Bengals went to the playoffs for the second year in a row in 2012 for the first time in 30 years as they had not had back-to-back winning seasons or playoff berths since the '81 and '82 seasons. In both the 2011 and 2012 seasons, the team's offense was led by Andy Dalton, a second-round pick in the '11 NFL Draft. He started in Week 1 of the '11 season and has started in every regular season and playoff game since. Like all young quarterbacks, he has had his ups and downs. Analysts have praised him for his decision making and leadership as well as condemned him for his physical limitations. Many believe he's the future of the team and the quarterback that can lead the Bengals to their third super bowl berth and possibly their first victory. Others question whether he's just another mediocre signal caller in a long history of Bengals busts.
According to The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy, the Bengals' quarterback, heading into his third year in the league, is already the franchise leader in regular season winning percentage of any quarterback in franchise history with 10 or more career starts, with a regular-season record of 19-13. That means that Dalton's winning percentage is better than Carson Palmer's, Boomer Esiason's and even better than Kenny Anderson's.
Dalton's winning percentage (.593) is first in the franchise while second falls to Virgil Carter (.545 from 1970-1972 in 22 games with a 12-10 record) and Anderson is third (.529 from 1971-1986 in 172 games with a 91-81 record). Palmer's winning percentage is .474 with a record of 46-51 from 2004 to 2010 and Esiason's is .504 with a 62-61 record from 1984 to 1997.
Now, all of these quarterbacks, with an exception of Carter, have a much larger sample size than Dalton. Dalton's two successful seasons shouldn't allow us to compare him to Anderson or even Esiason. However, his small sample size does tell us that he's on the right track and that he can lead a team successfully in the NFL. Dalton's winning percentage over this first two years in the league also comes at a time when talent, athletic ability, speed, strength and the ability to move the ball down the field through the air are at an all-time high when looking through the history of the NFL. Never before has the league been as quarterback driven as it is today and Dalton's success in this day of age in the NFL is a very good sign.
So, if your personal jury was still out on Dalton and his ability to lead the Bengals where we want them to go, does this statistic give you a verdict?