Cold Hard Football Facts: A look at what records may fall this season
The Cold, Hard Football Facts copy of the 2007 NFL Record & Fact Book was so tattered and abused that we confused it with
So it was with great excitement the other day that we picked up the brand-new 2008 version of this Bible of NFL data.
Of course, not everybody can be bothered to actually read the NFL Record & Fact Book. Even hard-core football fans find it a little daunting. For most of you, it's like
But the compendium is truly an oasis of cool, refreshing knowledge. And the best part? We've done the work for you!
We tore through the pages of the brand-new 2008 NFL Record & Fact book this week, pulling out all the tastiest statistical gossip you need to know about heading into the new season. Naturally, these juicy morsels are highlighted by the records that fell last year and the new milestones likely to be set here in 2008.
• Every football fan knows that if
But not every fan knows that Favre is also the most prolific turnover machine in league history, coughing up the ball so often Robitussin wants to sign him to a long-term sponsorship deal.
Favre's already the all-time leader in INTs (288), easily surpassing Dead Ball Era dinosaurs such as No. 2
But Favre's no regular-season phenom.
He's just as prolific in the postseason, too. Favre's crushing INT in overtime against the Giants not only ruined, in true Favre-ian fashion, an otherwise amazing season for the Pack, it tied him with another postseason INT expert,
But fear not, Cheeseheads. His oopsies are not limited to passes gone astray. Favre also needs to fumble just six times this season to tie
Of course, we only make fun of Favre because 1) we love him and, 2) it's all true.
But keep in mind that Favre has also tossed a TD in a record 18 consecutive playoff games and, with 39 postseason TDs, is second all time to
As the Cold, Hard Football Facts have long noted, the key to postseason success is for quarterbacks to keep the ball out of the hands of the opposing team. It's no coincidence, after all, that the two most successful quarterbacks in postseason history (Starr was 9-1, Brady is 14-3) also hold the records for lowest postseason INT rates.
• As Cold, Hard Football Facts readers are well aware, we live in the Golden Age of the Passing game, and passing records are dropping like crazy this decade. All you need to know is that 16 of the top 20 all-time passer rating leaders were active last season.
Brady passed for 4,806 yards last year, third most in history behind Marino (5,084 in 1984) and Warner (4,830 in 2001). And, in case you hadn't heard because nobody really talked about it much, Brady's 50 TDs in 2007 set a new single-season standard.
Brady also set the all-time single-game completion percentage record when he connected on 26 of 28 passes (92.9 percent) against Jacksonville last season in the divisional playoffs. The regular-season record remains in the hands of Vinny Testaverde, with his 21 of 23 (91.3 percent) effort for the Browns against the Rams in 1993.
• Brady's partner in awesomeness, Manning, boasts seven 400-yard passing games in his career, tied for second most all-time with Hall of Famer Montana and fraudulent Hall of Famer Moon. However, Manning has a long way to go to catch the No. 1 man on the 400-yard-game list: Marino reached that mark 13 times in his career. Manning's last 400-yard effort came against Houston in Week 2 of the 2006 season.
However, Roethlisberger needs 64 pass attempts -- which he should reach no later than Week 3 -- to meet the minimum 1,500 career attempts required by official NFL records. With a good season, he could leap past Van Brocklin into the No. 3 spot all time in passing yards per attempt.
Officially speaking, Warner, who should be starting in Arizona over the ineffective
But Brees was more accurate than either Bledsoe or Moon, however. His 440 completions last year set a new single-season record, blowing away
• If a miracle happens and Favre leads the league in TD passes this season, he'll have done so a record five times in his career (1995-97, 2003). He's currently tied atop the list with
If the Gridiron Gods deem yet another miracle in 2008, and Favre twice tosses four TDs or more in a game, he'll match Marino's mark of 21 games with four or more TD tosses.
But McNabb's among the best ever at keeping the ball out of the hands of his opponents. His career INT rate of 2.12 percent (79 INT in 3,732 attempts) is just a slimjim's width behind
But lest we forget, McNabb was sacked a record 12 times in a single game last year by the league's No. 1 Defensive Hogs in the Giants. He joined
• Minnesota phenom
He also averaged an amazing 5.63 yards per attempt in 2008 (238 for 1,341). He hardly comes close to qualifying for official career records (min. 750 attempts), and still (possibly) has a long career ahead of him. But that 5.63 average puts him well on his way to shattering the career record for average by a running back of 5.22 YPA, set by no less a figure than pro football's All-Time Alpha Male,
Peterson's also just one of 18 ballcarriers in history with two 200-yard efforts in a single season. The career record for 200-yard games is six, by
Oh, and Peterson's 361 combined yards against Chicago last Oct. 4 was the third-highest single game total in history.
• A healthy
Both have a long way to go to catch Jerry Rice and his record 76 100-yard receiving games.
• After his record 23-TD effort last year, Moss has led the league in TD catches four times in his career, placing him third all time behind Rice (six) and behind the most dominant receiver of all time, Green Bay legend and
And Owens will have some competition in the race for No. 2: Moss is fourth on the all-time TD reception list (124), while Harrison is fifth (123). Both could surpass Carter here in 2008.
• Darren Sharper has returned eight picks for TDs in his career. With one more this season for Minnesota, he'll tie
• New Redskin
And if Taylor can convert one of those fumble recoveries into a TD this year, he'll set a new career record (6) for fumbles returned for scores. He's currently tied at five with former Atlanta great
Lechler has also led the league in punting three times, including last year. If he leads the league again in 2008, he'll join Baugh as the only player to lead the NFL in punting four times. Baugh pulled off the feat every year from 1940 to 1943.
(Former Kansas City punter
But Lechler still trails Baugh for the single-season record. Last year, the Raiders punter averaged 49.11 yards per boot. Baugh's amazing mark of 51.4 yards per boot was set back in 1940. (Of course, being with Oakland, Lechler gets a lot more practice punting than did Baugh, who played for consistently competitive Washington teams).
• Speaking of guys who get a lot of practice, San Francisco punter
• Twenty-year veteran
• Chicago's spine-tingling game-breaker
Hester, amazingly, also owns the top two single-season dual-return (kick, punt) TD records in history, with six last year and five in 2006. With two more TD returns this season, the third-year player will -- amazingly -- tie the career mark of 13 punt- or kick-return TDs set by
No return man has ever brought back three punts or kicks for scores in the same game. However, Hester is knocking on the door. He's already the only player in history to twice return two kicks or punts for scores in the same game.
Hester's four punt returns for TDs last season tied a record previously held by
• New England DB
• Of course, Hobbs was upstaged by San Diego superstud DB
If you were glued to the tube for the Giants' amazing 17-14 upset of the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, you were not alone. With 148.3 million viewers (based upon A.C. Nielsen data), it stands as the most-watched TV program in American history, surpassing New England's 32-29 win over Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII (144.4 million viewers).
(In terms of ratings, though, San Francisco's 26-21 win over Cincinnati in Super Bowl XVI still tops the list with a 73 percent share and 49.1 rating.)
• The Giants have now won seven NFL championships, standing alone in third place behind Green Bay (12) and Chicago (nine). Not so coincidentally, the Giants stand at No. 3 in the Cold, Hard Football Facts epic
• The Giants were a wild-card team last year, but they've won a record 21 conference or division titles in their history, tied with the Packers and Bears for most all time. Dallas has won 20 conference or division titles -- pretty impressive considering the Cowboys joined the league in 1960. The Bears (1920), Packers (1921) and Giants (1925) all joined the NFL much earlier.
The Giants have also appeared in more Super Bowls or NFL title games (18) and lost more Super Bowls or NFL title games (12) than any other franchise.
• The Patriots and Colts enter the 2008 season with five straight division titles each. If they can piece together two more consecutive division crowns, they'll tie the record sevens straight that the L.A. Rams gathered from 1973-79.
• The Patriots are also in the midst of the longest "official" winning streak in NFL history, with 19 straight regular-season victories (official records do not count playoff games). The Patriots also stand alone in the second spot on the win-streak list, with 18 consecutive victories from 2003 to 2004. The Bears of 1933-34 are third, with 17 consecutive regular-season victories.
New England's "unofficial" streak -- including the team's Super Bowl run in the 2003 playoffs -- stands at 21 consecutive victories from 2003 to 2004. The Patriots also won a record 10 straight postseason games from 2001 to 2005 and, of course, they set a record last year as the only 16-0 team in regular-season history.
• New England's division-mate Dolphins stand at the far other end of the spectrum, tying a league record with 15 losses last season. Miami also lost the division race by 15 games -- a record likely never to be equaled or surpassed.
• The 2007 Patriots, as most people know, set new NFL standards with 75 TDs, breaking the previous mark of 70 scored by the 1984 Dolphins, and with 589 points, breaking the previous single-season mark of 556 set by the 1998 Vikings. (Moss, amazingly, was been a part of the two highest-scoring offenses in history.
However, New England's scoring record is a bit misleading. The 2007 Patriots averaged 36.81 points per game last year, falling shy of the single-season record of 38.83 PPG set by the 1950 Rams (466 points in 12 games).
However, the 1950 Rams had something of a historical advantage: 3 of their 12 games that year (25 percent of the schedule) were played against expansion teams (the N.Y. Yanks and Baltimore Colts). The Rams scored 158 points (52.7 PPG) in these three games.