15 NFL Records That We’ll Never See Broken
Separating the Good From the Great
Although the Super Bowl era NFL is a relatively young league in comparison to other major North American sports leagues -- such as MLB and the NHL -- there is no downplaying the importance of the early origins of football on the modern day product. The league continues to be largely reliant on the major positions such as quarterback, running back, and linebacker and still operates under the main premises of physical machismo that dominated the league during the days of legendary coach Vince Lombardi.
And while a main tenant that has dominated football throughout its history is a reliance on teamwork over individual success, it has been clear throughout time that individual statistics still have a crucial role to play. Whether it is guys such as Dan Marino and Barry Sanders in the past or Calvin Johnson today, there is no doubting that while Super Bowls are the ultimate goal huge statistical output can still separate stars from their peers.
In this regard of domination being a way of standing out from the pack, the statistical success of individual teams at an unprecedented level, or that of a coach, can also be viewed as a way to stand out from the pack. The reasons for this can not be fully defined, although it surely comes down to a sort of validation that is provided through statistical evidence as it provides an extra bit of emphasis that words can not do at times.
With the statistical accomplishments of both players and teams throughout the history of the NFL in mind, we have decided to compile a list of the 15 NFL records that will never be broken. Each of these records was compiled from an all-time great player or team and separates the good from the great through statistical emphasis.
15. Michael Vick - 1039 Rushing Yards In One Season By A Quarterback
While in the modern day NFL there has been a huge emphasis on the mobile quarterback, there will never be a guy that stacks up to Michael Vick back in 2006. In what turned out to be his last season with the Atlanta Falcons prior to an arrest for dog-fighting the quarterback rushed for an eye popping 1039 rushing yards, a total that would make most running backs proud. After seeing Vick undergo a plethora of injuries via the running game and other running quarterbacks, such as Robert Griffin III, also routinely being injured it is clear that no sane coach will ever let his quarterback top 1039 rushing yards in one season.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 26 Straight Losses
In one of the more infamous records, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers compiled 26 straight losses during their inaugural 1976 season and the subsequent 1977 season. That this happened so long ago is no surprise. Now that the league is currently marked by vast parity it is impossible to envision any team staying bad enough over two consecutive seasons to lose 26 games in a row.
13. Jerry Rice - 1,549 Career Receptions
Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice holds just about every career receiving title available, and his 1,549 career receptions are included on this list. Rice picked up 80 receptions or more 12 different times and held up a mark of consistency that has never been matched before. With Tony Gonzalez ranking second on the list at 1,295 receptions, it is apparent that the rest of the field has a long way to go before ever thinking about picking up 1,549 receptions.
12. Bruce Smith - 200 Career Sacks
During his 19 year career defensive end Bruce Smith was an absolute machine, tearing down everything in front of him and making it a life mission to take down quarterbacks on the way. Smith was very successful at both, and his 200 career sacks are tops in the history of the NFL. The next active player with a viable chance of even reaching this is Jared Allen with 122 sacks, although at the age of 30 it appears a downturn is on the way and that 200 sacks is not a truly viable option.
11. Paul Krause - 81 Career Interceptions
There has been no more consistent threat at picking off passes than Paul Krause, who compiled 81 interceptions for the Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings from 1964-1979. That this total came when passing was much less important in the NFL makes it look even more amazing, and it looks untouchable going forward as Ed Reed is the next closest active player on the list with only 61 interceptions.
10. Dick "Night Train" Lane - 14 Interceptions In One Season
With the continued theme of interceptions comes Dick "Night Train" Lane, who picked off an NFL record 14 passes during the 1952 season. That this record also came during a time when passing was not prominent is amazing, and the fact that it came in Lane's rookie year makes it even more incredible. In modern day times it would likely be impossible to even think about besting this mark as teams would simply throw the football the other way to avoid getting picked off. With this in mind there is no doubting that this record is safe as NFL coaches are not dumb enough to get burned 14 times by one defensive back.
9. Jerry Rice - 22,895 Receiving Yards
Continuing on with the unbreakable records that Jerry Rice picked up during his 21 year career is his 22,895 receiving yards, which ranks 6,961 yards above second place Terrell Owens. If you ask how Rice was able to do this, just consider that he picked up 1000 receiving yards or more 14 different times and seemingly only picked up one serious injury during his career.
8. Don Shula - 336 Career Wins As Head Coach
While many people would not put Don Shula in the same echelon of coaches as Chuck Noll, Vince Lombardi or Tom Landry, his regular season total of 336 wins puts him at a level no other coach can match. These 336 wins came over a total of 33 years coaching the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins and indicate a level of consistency that any coach would strive to match. Just to put his remarkable consistency and winning ways into context, Shula's .678 winning percentage ranks above that of Bill Belichick's .651.
7. Brett Favre - 336 Career Interceptions
Throughout his lengthy career Brett Favre gained a reputation as a gunslinger, and while this often translated into many touchdowns it also turned into a vast amount of interceptions. Favre threw 18 or more interceptions 18 different times, both displaying incredible longevity and an affinity to turn the ball over that has never been seen before. In total his 336 career interceptions are 59 more than George Blanda in second place, and it is hard to envision any modern day quarterbacks approaching this record.
6. George Blanda - 42 Interceptions In One Season
With interceptions already on the mind we come to George Blanda, who threw a massive 42 interceptions during the 1962 season for the Houston Oilers. One must certainly wonder how Blanda never got pulled during this horrific season and exactly how Houston was able to go 11-3 during the 1962 regular season. It is clearly evident that this would never happen again in modern day football, just like a quarterback would never again be given the opportunity to throw 42 interceptions in a single season.
5. Emmitt Smith - 18,355 Career Rushing Yards
In the rough and tumble world of an NFL running back it is extremely rare that a running back lasts even ten years, let alone the 15 that Emmitt Smith compiled for the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. Over this time period Smith rushed for 1000 yards or more 11 different times and established a record 18,355 career rushing yards that will be nearly impossible for anyone to overcome going forward.
4. Brett Favre - 297 Consecutive Games Started
While Brett Favre was historically known for his gun slinging ways, he may have been best known for his NFL record streak of 297 consecutive games started. The streak spanned from 1992 to 2010 and serves as football's version of Cal Ripken, Jr.'s Ironman streak. While any record can be broken, this is one that seems impossible.
3. Jerry Rice - 208 Touchdowns
Continuing on with the Jerry Rice theme comes his record 208 touchdowns, which is again an ode to his long term success and immense talent level. Currently there is no person in sight of this record, and when it is considered that a player would have to average 11 touchdowns for 20 years to break the record it is safe to say this record is not going anywhere.
2. Miami Dolphins - Perfect Season
In 1972 the Miami Dolphins completed what has to date been the only perfect regular and postseason, as they went 17-0 and won the Super Bowl. In recent times the New England Patriots fell just short of this feat in the Super Bowl, with many blaming their pedal to the metal approach as the cause of them falling at the final stage. This failure has kept many teams from truly going after a perfect season with full vigor, and with teams looking likely to continue fielding reserves in the final weeks of the regular season it appears the '72 Dolphins will be celebrating their unique record for many years to come.
1. Eric Dickerson - 2105 Rushing Yards In One Season
In what is the most universally acclaimed personal statistical season in NFL history, Eric Dickerson rushed for a league record 2105 yards in 1984. Since this record was set there have been many people who have looked like challengers deep into the season, but they have all ultimately fallen just short. With more and more running backs being put into a dual-back system, the chances of this record ever being broken decrease with every passing year.