Sunday, January 8, 2012

Who will break the NFL single game passing yards record?

The record for passing yards in a single NFL game was set on September 28, 1951. Hall of Fame quarterback, Norm Van Brocklin, completed 27 out of 41 pass attempts for 554 yards and 5 touchdown passes as he led the Los Angeles Rams to a 54-14 victory over the New York Yanks.

Will this be the next major passing record to be broken? I say "YES." There have been a total of fourteen 500 yards passing games in NFL history. Six of those games came within the last six seasons, including two in the 2011 NFL Season (Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford) and two more during the 2012 NFL Season (Eli Manning, Matt Schaub).


The game itself has evolved so much since Van Brocklin set that record in 1951. Norm finished that season with 1,725 passing yards and 13 passing touchdowns, so that one game represented about 30% of his passing yards and 40% of his passing touchdowns that year (rough estimates). He finished his Hall of Fame career in 1960 with an average of 169 yards a game. At the time of his retirement, he was second to only Otto Graham among in yards per game. Now he is ranked 90th. The current leader, Drew Brees, averages over 270 yards per game, and just last year, set a new single season passing yards record with 5,476 yards. Tom Brady finished right behind Drew with second most passing yards in NFL history with 5,235.

It would be pretty easy to pick Brees, Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or Matthew Stafford, to break the record, but I wouldn't be completely surprised if a relatively unknown or a backup quarterback sets the new mark. Last year, Cam Newton set just about every rookie record including the most passing yards in game with 420 yards in his very first game. He followed up the next week by breaking that same record with 430 yards. This year, Andrew Luck broke Newton's rookie record for most passing yards in a season with 4,374 yards. In 2011, even Green Bay Packers backup quarterback, Matt Flynn, had his share of the action with 480 passing yards against the Detroit Lions. That was the same game Stafford threw for over 520 yards.

With all that said, I think Drew Brees will set the new record. He'll do it while becoming the first player in NFL history to throw for more than 600 passing yards in a single game.

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