The road to greatness for an NFL record-holder lies in between the core values of two simple principles: First, recognize what you’re good at and practice until you have mastered the skill. Then, put every bit of energy and ambition into showcasing your natural talents to the world.
At some point next season, we will see players embarking on some record-breaking performances, and it will all come down to how much they really want the record.
Here are my predictions for record-breakers in the 2012 season.
The old adage in the NFL was that you had to run the football to be successful, but all that has changed. The league has turned into a pass-happy flag football game where the quarterback will throw the ball at least 40 times per contest. This is an open invitation for the top pass-rushers to sack the quarterback.
Last season, Minnesota Vikings DE Jared Allen came within a half sack of tying Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record.
Ideally, New York Giant fans would like to keep the record within the family, and talented young DE Jason Pierre-Paul is primed to break this record. He has become a major component in the best pass rush in the NFL, and his rapid rise to fame has prompted no animosity inside the locker room.
This record combines three important, but vital skills (receiver, running back and a special teams performer) that play a huge part in the success of a football team.
New Orleans Saints RB Darren Sproles has become the prototypical hybrid player in the NFL; he’s equally talented at catching and running the football.
Under the direction of new offensive coordinator Todd Haley, Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown could have a breakout season. In big games, QB Ben Roethlisberger can always count on him to make plays, as Brown is reliable and productive. Haley will rely heavily on him to make plays from anywhere on the field.
By season’s end, Brown could become one of the league’s most exciting slot receivers.
Let me give you a quick definition for "non-offensive touchdown": it’s when an individual scores a touchdown on defense or special teams. If you’ve seen any of the Chicago Bear games, then you’re not surprised that KR-WR Devin Hester is the holder of this record.
But, Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson is quickly gaining ground in becoming the NFL’s most exciting athlete.
The one drawback to him supplanting Hester’s hold on this record is his starting position at cornerback. Peterson will draw plenty of snaps, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt could curtail his participation on special teams this season in order to give him proper rest. But, Peterson will gain more opportunities to score a defensive touchdown via an interception or a fumble recovery.
QB Peyton Manning was the Indianapolis Colts' first pick in the 1998 NFL draft, and he struggled badly coming out of the starting gate in his first professional season. Manning threw an interception almost as frequently as he did a touchdown pass.
Then, all of a sudden the light bulb came on and Peyton had his breakthrough game, in which he completed 18-30 passes for 231 yards, three TD and zero interceptions. Manning went on to have four three-touchdown passing games and began to show signs of his brilliance.
Now flash-forward to 2012, and rookie sensation QB Andrew Luck is beginning his NFL career with the Colts. Expectations are running high, but can the Indianapolis fans realistically expect him to become a Manning clone overnight?
Patience will be needed by all, as Luck will certainly have growing pains during his quest to become an NFL quarterback.