The NFL has added a seventeenth game. That will put plenty of full-season records at risk.
It also puts a new frontier in play for quarterbacks: 6,000 yards.
“I don’t even want to think about that number,” Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford told reporters on Tuesday regarding the possibility of someone parlaying an extra game into 3.4 miles of passing yards. “That’s crazy. I’m sure somebody will. I don’t know who led the league in passing last year, but I bet it’ll happen.”
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson led the league last year, with 4,823. A seventeenth game at that rate would have become 5,124.
Peyton Manning set the single-season record in 2013, with 5,477 yards. An extra game at that rate would have pushed the record to 5,819.
So it’s hardly a given that someone will get to 6,000 yards, because no one has ever generated a full-season pace that would have resulted in 6,000 yards. That’s 353 yards per game, for 17 games.
So can Stafford, who has a 5,000-yard season and another one that got close to 5,000, get to 6,000?
“I don’t know, maybe,” he said. “But I don’t care if it is or not. I just want to win.”
That’s the right approach, especially since it may be a awhile before anyone gets to 6,000 yards. (By typing those words, I realize that I’ve basically guaranteed that it will happen this year. And that Stafford probably will do it.)