How Far Can an NFL Quarterback Throw a Football? Exploring Records & Tips


NFL quarterbacks are some of the most skilled and talented athletes in professional sports. One of the critical elements of their game is their ability to throw the football with precision and distance. A quarterback’s throwing ability can often make the difference between a win and a loss, especially in high-pressure situations.

Throwing distance is an essential aspect of an NFL quarterback’s performance on the field. In today’s NFL, offenses are designed to take advantage of a quarterback’s ability to throw the ball downfield. The ability to throw accurately over significant distances can create scoring opportunities and help teams move the ball down the field more efficiently.

The following article will explore the various factors that impact an NFL quarterback’s throwing ability, including physical and technique factors, environmental conditions, and measurement techniques. We will also examine the importance of throwing distance in the modern NFL and provide tips for improving and maintaining good throwing habits.

History of Longest Throws

How Far Can an NFL Quarterback Throw a Football

Throughout the history of the NFL, quarterbacks have displayed impressive throwing abilities that have captured the attention of fans worldwide. The ability to throw a football long distances has always been seen as a symbol of strength and skill for quarterbacks.

One of the most famous examples of a long throw in NFL history occurred during the 1983 AFC Championship game between the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Colts. In this game, Denver quarterback John Elway launched a pass that traveled an incredible 98 yards in the air, setting a record that has yet to be broken. Another notable example is Brett Favre’s 2001 game-winning touchdown pass in overtime against the Oakland Raiders, which he threw 82 yards to wide receiver Greg Jennings.

Over time, the distance of throws has evolved as quarterbacks have become bigger, stronger, and faster. Advances in technology and training methods have also contributed significantly to the increase in throwing distance. Today’s quarterbacks regularly throw passes over 50 yards in games, with some even reaching over 70 yards.

As the NFL continues to evolve, it’s likely that we will see even longer throws in the future, as quarterbacks push themselves to their limits and strive to break records.

Factors Affecting Throwing Distance

Several factors can impact an NFL quarterback’s ability to throw a football long distances. These include physical factors, technique factors, and environmental conditions.

Firstly, physical factors play a crucial role in determining how far a quarterback can throw a football. Arm strength is perhaps the most important physical factor, as it determines the amount of force that can be generated when throwing the ball. Other physical factors, such as height, weight, and grip strength, also play a role in determining throwing distance.

Secondly, technique factors are equally important in maximizing a quarterback’s throwing distance. Proper footwork, body position, and release point can all impact the trajectory and distance of a quarterback’s throws. For instance, having proper footwork can help generate more power and accuracy in the throw. A good release point allows the quarterback to get the ball out of their hand quickly and efficiently.

Lastly, environmental conditions can impact throwing distance significantly. Wind speed and direction can either aid or hinder a quarterback’s ability to throw a football long distances. Temperature and altitude can also impact throwing distance, as the air density can affect the trajectory of the ball.

Overall, a combination of physical and technique factors, along with environmental conditions, can impact an NFL quarterback’s ability to throw a football long distances. As such, quarterbacks need to train and prepare themselves for these factors to perform at their best on game day.

Measuring Throwing Distance

Measuring throwing distance is an essential part of evaluating an NFL quarterback’s performance. There are several ways that throwing distance can be measured, including during the NFL Scouting Combine and through the use of technology.

The NFL Scouting Combine is a standardized series of tests designed to evaluate the physical and mental abilities of college football players who are eligible for the NFL draft. One of the tests involves measuring the quarterbacks’ throwing ability, where they throw a football as far as possible from a stationary position. This test provides a standardized way of evaluating a quarterback’s throwing distance, allowing teams to compare different players’ performances.

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Technology has also played a significant role in measuring throwing distance. Radar guns can measure the speed of a thrown football and, by using basic physics principles, calculate the distance the ball traveled. GPS trackers can also be used to measure throwing distances, providing even more accurate data about the trajectory and velocity of the ball.

Measuring throwing distance is an important tool for evaluating quarterbacks at all levels of play, from high school to the NFL. It allows coaches and scouts to identify players with exceptional throwing ability and helps players track their progress over time. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect even more advanced ways to measure throwing distance in the future.

Current NFL Records

How Far Can an NFL Quarterback Throw a Football

The NFL has seen some incredible throws over the years, with quarterbacks pushing themselves to new limits and setting records in the process. Here are some of the current records for longest throws in NFL history:

The longest throw in NFL history occurred on December 7, 2008, during a game between the San Diego Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers launched a pass that traveled an incredible 87 yards in the air before being caught by wide receiver Travis Benjamin for a touchdown.

As for current records for longest throws by active NFL quarterbacks, the record belongs to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. In a game against the Denver Broncos in 2018, Mahomes threw a pass that traveled 83.3 yards in the air, setting a new record for the longest throw in a game since the NFL began tracking such data in 2016.

Other active quarterbacks who have thrown impressively long passes include Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills, who threw a pass that traveled 63.9 yards in the air during a game against the Carolina Panthers in 2021, and Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, who threw a pass that traveled 61.8 yards in a game against the Chicago Bears in 2014.

These records demonstrate the incredible throwing ability of today’s NFL quarterbacks and serve as a testament to their skill and dedication to the sport.

Importance of Throwing Distance in NFL

Throwing distance is a critical element of an NFL quarterback’s performance on the field. In today’s game, offenses are designed to take advantage of a quarterback’s ability to throw the ball downfield, making throwing distance more important than ever.

The role of downfield passing has become increasingly important in modern NFL offenses, with teams relying on explosive plays to gain yards and score points. A quarterback’s ability to throw the ball accurately over long distances is essential in creating opportunities for these big plays. Defenses must constantly be aware of the threat of a deep pass, which can help create openings for other offensive plays.

Quarterbacks can use throwing distance to gain a competitive advantage by stretching the field vertically and horizontally. By throwing the ball deep, they can force defenders to cover more ground and create gaps in coverage that can be exploited with shorter passes. This opens up the field and makes it more difficult for defenses to predict the offense’s next move.

Additionally, quarterbacks who can throw the ball long distances can help their team win games in critical moments. For example, if a team is losing late in the game and needs a quick score, a long pass may be the best option to quickly move down the field and score. The ability to throw accurately over long distances can also help quarterbacks avoid interceptions and turnovers, as they can place the ball out of reach of defenders.

In summary, throwing distance is crucial to the success of modern NFL offenses, allowing quarterbacks to stretch the field and create opportunities for big plays. It is an essential skill for any quarterback looking to gain a competitive advantage and help their team win games.

Tips for Improving Throwing Distance

How Far Can an NFL Quarterback Throw a Football

Improving throwing distance requires a combination of physical fitness and proper technique. Here are some tips for quarterbacks looking to improve their throwing distance:

  1. Proper warm-up and stretching routines: A good warm-up routine can help prepare the body for more intense workouts, reducing the risk of injury. Stretching exercises can also improve flexibility, allowing for a larger range of motion during throws.
  2. Strength training exercises targeting key muscle groups: Strength training exercises focusing on the shoulders, arms, and core can help improve overall muscle strength, which is essential for generating power in throws. Exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, and shoulder presses can all contribute to improving arm strength.
  3. Practicing proper throwing technique: Proper throwing technique involves using the entire body to generate power, including the legs, hips, and torso. Coaches can help quarterbacks improve their technique by providing feedback on footwork, body position, and release point.
  4. Using resistance bands or weighted balls: Resistance bands or weighted balls can be used during throwing drills to increase arm speed and power. This can translate to improved throwing distance over time.
  5. Focusing on accuracy and consistency: While throwing distance is important, it’s essential to remember that accuracy and consistency are equally critical in quarterback play. Practicing on target throws and maintaining consistent mechanics can help develop a stronger and more reliable throw.
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By incorporating these tips into their training and practice routines, quarterbacks can improve their throwing distance and become more effective players on the field.

Maintaining Good Throwing Habits

Maintaining good throwing habits is essential for quarterbacks looking to perform at their best on the field. Here are some tips for maintaining good throwing habits:

  1. Importance of consistent practice and training: Consistent practice and training can help keep throwing mechanics sharp and improve muscle memory. Even during the off-season, quarterbacks should continue to work on their throwing form and maintain their physical fitness.
  2. Avoiding bad habits that can undermine throwing mechanics: Bad habits such as dropping the elbow or using too much wrist can significantly undermine throwing mechanics, leading to reduced accuracy and power. Coaches can help identify and correct these bad habits before they become ingrained in a quarterback’s throwing motion.
  3. Listening to your body: Overuse injuries are common in quarterbacks due to the repetitive nature of throwing. It’s essential to listen to your body and take breaks when needed to avoid injury and burnout.
  4. Proper nutrition and hydration: Proper nutrition and hydration are critical for maintaining optimal athletic performance. Eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated can help prevent fatigue and ensure that the body is properly fueled for intense workouts and games.
  5. Rest and recovery: Rest and recovery are just as important as training when it comes to maintaining good throwing habits. Adequate rest and recovery time allows the body to heal and rebuild, reducing the risk of injury and ensuring that quarterbacks stay fresh and ready for game day.

By following these tips, quarterbacks can maintain good throwing habits and perform at their best both on and off the field.


Throwing distance is a critical element of an NFL quarterback’s performance on the field. Physical factors such as arm strength and technique factors like proper footwork and body position both play a role in improving throwing distance. Environmental conditions including wind speed, direction, temperature, and altitude can also impact throwing distance.

Measuring throwing distance can help evaluate a quarterback’s performance and progress, with methods such as the NFL Scouting Combine and technology like radar guns and GPS trackers.

Throwing distance is essential for modern NFL offenses, as downfield passing plays are designed to take advantage of a quarterback’s ability to throw accurately over long distances. The ability to throw the ball deep can stretch the field horizontally and vertically, creating opportunities for big plays and helping quarterbacks gain a competitive advantage.

To improve throwing distance, quarterbacks should focus on proper warm-up and stretching routines, strength training exercises targeting key muscle groups, and proper throwing technique. Maintaining good habits such as consistent practice, avoiding bad mechanics, listening to your body, proper nutrition and hydration, and adequate rest and recovery time can help ensure that quarterbacks maintain optimal performance levels.

In summary, throwing distance is crucial to the success of any quarterback looking to excel at the NFL level. By focusing on the physical and technical aspects of throwing, while also maintaining good habits, quarterbacks can maximize their potential and become elite performers on the field.


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