How will 17-game schedule affect NFL record book? Testing 8 single-season standards

Sporting News

How will a 17-game schedule affect the NFL record book?

That's one of the secondary questions after the NFL reached an agreement with its players Sunday that extended the collective bargaining agreement through 2030. Several single-season records that are a treasured part of the 16-game format might be challenged when the league moves to 17 games. Others might be safe no matter what. Will that diminish the NFL record book?

MORE: NFL's highest-paid QBs in salary, guaranteed money, contract value

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

Sporting News takes a closer look:

Rushing yards: Eric Dickerson, 2,105 (1984)

Dickerson's record has stood for more than 25 years. Only seven NFL players have rushed for more than 2,000 yards in a single season. Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 2,097 yards in 2012, is the last player to get closer to Dickerson's record. Dickerson averaged 131.6 yards per game that season.

Broken record? It would take 123.8 yards per game over 17 games to get there. Three running backs have averaged more than that since 2000: Peterson (131.1), Jamal Lewis (129.1) and Chris Johnson (125.4). It would take a special running back to get there.

Passing yards: Peyton Manning, 5,477 (2013)

Manning's season is one of 12 in which quarterbacks have passed more than 5,000 yards since Dan Marino first did it with 5,084 yards in 1984. Eleven of those 12 seasons have happened since 2008, and Drew Brees has five of those seasons.

Broken record? It might not take 17 games to do it. Jameis Winston passed for 5,109 yards in 2019, and Ben Roethlisberger passed for 5,129 yards in 2018. This record will get broken sooner rather than later, and the only question is how much more than 5,500 that record will be once we go to 17.

Passing TDs: Peyton Manning, 55 (2013)

Manning, Tom Brady (50) and Patrick Mahomes (50) are the only ones to hit the 50-TD threshold, and there have been 10 seasons with 40 or more TD passes. Manning, Dan Marino, Aaron Rodgers and Brees are the only quarterbacks to pass for more than 40 TDs more than once.

Broken record? It won't be easy, but Mahomes is a good bet to break this one, too. Quarterbacks who hit the 40-TD mark will become much more commonplace. Hey, 40 is the new 30.

MORE: Ranking the NFL's top 50 free agents for 2020

Receiving yards: Calvin Johnson, 1,964 (2012)

Megatron broke the single-season record with 1,964 yards in 2012, a record set by Jerry Rice with 1,848 in 1995. Since then, Julio Jones (1,871) and Antonio Brown (1,834) have put up monster seasons.

Broken record? Yes, but it has to be done by a Hall of Fame-caliber receiver. We might get a 2,000-yard receiver with a 17-game schedule. Michael Thomas led the league with 1,725 yards in 2019.

Receiving TDs: Randy Moss, 23 (2007)

Moss caught 23 TDs in that magical season with Tom Brady, and the only other players with 18 or more in a single season are Rice (22), Mark Clayton (18) and Sterling Sharpe (18).

Broken record? Considering Detroit's Kenny Golladay led the league with 11 TDs last season, there's a long way to go. The TD-reception leader averaged 14.5 TDs per season from 2010 to 2019. Moss' record might be safe for years to come.

Total TDs: LaDainian Tomlinson, 31 (2006)

Tomlinson's record will be hard to top given that only five running backs have piled up 25 TDs or more in a single season. That exclusive list also includes Shaun Alexander (28), Priest Holmes (27), Marshall Faulk (26) and Emmitt Smith (25).

Broken record? No. Aaron Jones led the NFL with 19 total TDs last season. This record might stand even through an 18-game season.

Scrimmage yards: Chris Johnson, 2,509 (2009)

Johnson had a dream season for fantasy owners in 2009. It's one of 11 seasons in NFL history when a player had more than 2,300 yards from scrimmage. It's been done eight times since 2000.

Broken record? Yes, and Christian McCaffrey, who had 2,392 yards from scrimmage last season, could do that if he stays healthy over the next few years.

Sacks: Michael Strahan, 22.5 (2001)

Strahan's record has held up for two decades, despite some close calls from Jared Allen (22) and Justin Houston (22). J.J. Watt has two seasons with 20-plus sacks, and Aaron Donald had 20.5 in 2018.

Broken record? Yes. There are enough elite pass rushers in the league to get to 20, and one of them will eventually break through.

What to read next