NFL fans may some day be able to tell their children and grandchildren about a time when the 400-yard passing game was something truly special.
The year 2011 may go down as the season when that time ended.
The 400-yard passing game has become the norm, just another ho-hum passing number. With Eli Manning going for 420 yards and Matt Schaub going for 416 on Sunday, there have now been ten 400-yard passing games this season, by far the most ever through five weeks, and the fourth-most for any single season in NFL history.
There were thirteen 400-yard games in 1986 and in 2004, and eleven in 2010. The 2011 season could break the all-time record by next Sunday.
Yes, that’s right. There’s a real chance that by Week Six of 2011, we’ll have seen more 400-yard passing days in one season than we had ever seen in any one season in NFL history.
There are a lot of explanations floated for this, ranging from a wealth of talented quarterbacks and wide receivers, to rules changes, to the lockout having defenses playing catchup this year. But there’s little doubt that by the end of this year, we’ll have seen more 400-yard passing games than in any previous season.
Maybe twice as many as in any previous season.