This top ten list is attributed to APs attempt to break Dickerson's single season rushing record:
1. Dan Marino, Miami, 1984: Marino used his second NFL season to terrorize opposing defenses on a weekly basis. Blessed with a quick release and a rocket right arm, he produced a season-long performance that required its own section in the league record books once he was done. Marino set NFL marks for yards (he became the first player to pass for 5,000 yards in a season with 5,084) and touchdown passes (he blew away the old mark of 36 with 48 of his own) and he led the Dolphins to a spot in that season's Super Bowl. Marino's Hall of Fame career included many great seasons, but nothing ever topped those feats.
In fact, there is one chief reason his performance still ranks better than those produced more recently by Peyton Manning and Brady: The application of the rules was different. Both Manning and Brady benefited from the league's decision in 2004 to place greater emphasis on enforcing the illegal contact rule, which penalizes defenders who touch receivers more than five yards beyond from the line of scrimmage. If Marino had that advantage going for him, nobody would've ever matched the season he produced 24 years ago.
the rest of the top ten: http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/87...ns-nfl-history