Except for two strike-shortened years, NFL teams have played 16-game regular seasons since 1978. A 17th regular season game was added to the schedule this offseason, with preseason schedules being shortened to three games for most teams.
The extra game means that most of the NFL's single-season records are in jeopardy of being broken more easily. Here is a list of the single season individual records for the New Orleans Saints.
How many will remain standing after a 17-game campaign in 2021?
- Yardage = 5,476 (2011 - Drew Brees)
- Touchdowns = 46 (2011 - Drew Brees)
- Completion Percentage = 74.4%* (2018 - Drew Brees)
*= NFL Record
- Completions = 471* (2016 - Drew Brees)
*= NFL Record
- Attempts = 673 (2016 - Drew Brees)
- Interceptions = 22 (2001 - Aaron Brooks; 2010 - Drew Brees)
- Times Sacked = 50 (2001 - Aaron Brooks)
Brees' 2011 campaign remains one of the most impressive seasons ever by an NFL player. His 5,476 passing yards that year would also be a league record, if not for the league office reviewing game tape of Peyton Manning in 2013 to award him extra passing yards to bring his total to 5,477.
Brees had five 5,000-yard seasons, the only player to achieve that feat more than once. Jameis Winston, his likely replacement in 2021, threw for 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns with Tampa Bay in 2019, but also tossed 30 interceptions.
- Receptions = 149* (2019 - Michael Thomas)
- Yards = 1,725 (2019 - Michael Thomas)
- Touchdowns = 16 (2013 - Jimmy Graham)
Thomas shattered a 17-year-old league record in 2019 by catching 149 passes. His three-year streak of at least 100 receptions was broken last year, when a serious ankle injury limited him to only seven games.
Graham is one of the most productive players in team history. He is near the top of NFL records in statistical production by a tight end.
RUSHING/RUNNING BACK RECORDS
- Yards = 1,674 (1981 - George Rogers)
- Rushing Touchdowns = 16 (2020 - Alvin Kamara)
- Attempts = 378 (1981 - George Rogers)
- Receptions = 88 (2006 - Reggie Bush)
- Receiving Yards = 826 (2017 - Alvin Kamara)
- Receiving TDs = 7 (2011/2012 - Darren Sproles)
Rogers was one of the few bright spots on some awful New Orleans teams during the early 1980s. The 1st overall selection in the 1981 NFL draft out of South Carolina, he was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and almost single-handedly carried the team's offense.
Thirty-seven years after Rogers played his last game in New Orleans, the Saints picked up a little-known running back named Alvin Kamara with a third-round draft choice.
Kamara took the league by storm, winning the 2017 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He remains one of the league's most versatile offensive weapons.
- Total Touchdowns = 21 (2020 - Alvin Kamara)
- Extra Points = 63 (2011 - John Kasay)
- Field Goals Made = 32 (2019 - Wil Lutz)
- Field Goal Attempts = 41 (1969 - Tom Dempsey)
Kamara has been a scoring machine over his four-year career. He was second in the NFL in rushing touchdowns in 2018 and 2020. His 21 total touchdowns last year led the NFL, and he finished second in that category in 2017 and 2018.
Kasay benefited from one of the most explosive offenses in NFL history in 2011. Lutz is the most accurate kicker in team history and gives the Saints a legitimate scoring option from long range.
Dempsey's 63-yard field goal in 1970 stood alone as the NFL record until tied by Jason Elam in 1998 and finally broken by Matt Prater in 2013. Before that iconic moment in New Orleans history, Dempsey was often the only consistent scoring threat for a sputtering offense.
- Interceptions = 10 (1967 - Dave Whitsell)
- Sacks = 17 (1991 - Pat Swilling ; 2000 - La'Roi Glover)
Whitsell earned the first Pro Bowl berth in franchise history during the team's inaugural season in 1967 with a league-best 10 interceptions.
Any long-time Saints fan knows of the struggles of the franchise through its first 40 years of existence. Even amidst those struggles, the team has had its share of defensive stars.
The NFL didn't start tracking individual sack statistics until 1982. Since then, the Saints have boasted a few of the most disruptive defensive players in league history. NFL Hall of Fame LB Rickey Jackson is the franchise leader with 115 sacks.
Jackson's teammate and fellow member of the ‘‘Dome Patrol’’, Pat Swilling, has been ridiculously overlooked in Hall of Fame voting.
Swilling has the best two single-season sack outputs in team history. He was the 1991 NFL Defensive Player of the Year with a league-best 17 sacks, also forcing six fumbles and recording one interception.
Glover, who helped fuel a historic New Orleans season in 2000, equalled Swilling's team record with a league-high 17 sacks. He is one of the most productive defensive linemen in team history.
The NFL played a 14-game regular season schedule from 1961 to 1977. All but two of the above listed team records were set after the 16-game schedule was implemented in 1978.
Now that a 17th contest has been added, many team and league records will unfortunately now become nothing more than a statistical footnote to younger fans.
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