Set in Stone: Eight NFL Records That Will Never Be Broken

Hardy EvansContributor IAugust 11, 2010

Set in Stone: Eight NFL Records That Will Never Be Broken

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    Every NFL season, records are set and records are broken. In fact, we will undoubtedly see a few broken in 2010.

    However, whether it's 309 consecutive starts or 22,895 career receiving yards, some records just aren't meant to be broken. This list names a few, with two in particular that are nearly untouchable. 

8. Derrick Thomas's Seven Sacks

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    Twenty years ago, one Seattle Seahawks quarterback was in a cool, crisp Autumn hell. On Veterans' Day 1990, Derrick Thomas shredded the Seahawks' offensive line for seven sacks against QB Dave Krieg, an NFL record.

    Despite his performance, Thomas claims he will remember the day by the "last sack [he] didn't get." As time expired, Thomas had the abused quarterback wrapped for an eighth and final sack when Krieg slipped away and threw the a 25-yard game tying touchdown to Paul Skansi. 

    After an easy extra point, the Seahawks won 17-16 over Thomas and the Chiefs. 

7. Jerry Rice's Career Receiving Yards

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    I probably could have chosen any one of Rice's career records: the 1,549 receptions, the 207 all-purpose touchdowns, or his 23,540 yards from scrimmage.

    The one record Rice truly has set in stone is his 22,895 career receiving yards. The next closest player is Isaac Bruce, with 14,944 yards. Rice leads by nearly 8,000 yards. 

    Let's crunch the numbers. If a receiver were to play 22 seasons in the league (which is impressive in itself), he would need to average over 1,000 yards per year. Or one could play 11 seasons (still a lot) with an unheard of 2,000 yards per season (which is 152 yards over Rice's own record of 1,848 yards in a season).

    Rice was the greatest receiver of all time. His talent, along with the genius offensive system of Bill Walsh and the arms of Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young is a combination the likes of which we will probably never see again.

6. Brett Favre's Consecutive Starts

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    Brett Favre holds the record in almost every major career passing category, both good and bad ones.

    He has the most wins by a starting quarterback with 181. He has the most career passing touchdowns, yards, attempts, and interceptions.

    What really sets Favre apart, however, is his resiliency.The one record of his that will never be broken is his consecutive starts.

    He has started every game since 1992, for a total of 309 consecutive starts (including playoffs). The next closest player is Peyton Manning, with 210. Unless Manning can outmatch the iron-skinned Brett Favre, this record will stand for a very long time.

5. Dick "Night Train" Lane's 14 Interceptions

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    In 1952, the hard-hitting yet soft-handed Dick Lane shocked the league by recording 14 interceptions. In twelve games.

    Now, we may very well see 15 or more interceptions in a season some time. Lester Hayes recorded 13 in 1980, and several other players have recorded 11-12. However, those were all sixteen game seasons. The record that will never be broken is Lane's 1.2 (rounded) average interceptions per game. 

    The Night Train is the only player to record an average of over one pick per game in a season. Even Lester Hayes only averaged 0.8 in 1980. Expect Lane's record to never be broken. 

4. Don Shula's 347 Career Wins

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    Don Shula coached the Dolphins for 33 years, earning 328 regular season wins and 19 playoff wins, giving him 347 total wins. During his entire career, Shula only had two losing seasons.

    Among active coaches, Bill Belichick is the closest to Shula's record with 148 wins, less than half of Shula's wins. 

3. Dallas Cowboys' 20 Consecutive Winning Seasons

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    As a die-hard Giants fan, I hate to admit this. However, the Cowboys streak of twenty consecutive winning seasons from 1966-1985 is something we will never see again.

    The great innovator that was Tom Landry was Dallas's first head coach and led them not only to 20 consecutive winning seasons, but 13 NFC East titles, five NFC titles, and two Super Bowl championships.

    Landry invented the 4-3 defense with the Giants and developed it into the Flex Defense when he was hired by the Cowboys. He also re-popularized the shotgun and introduced the motion offense.

    Along with one of the greatest coaches of all time, from 1966-1985 the Cowboys featured numerous Hall of Fame players such as Tony Dorsett, Bob Hayes, Bob Lilly, Roger Staubach, and Randy White.

2. Buffalo Bills' Four Straight Super Bowl Losses

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    In 44 years, only the Bills have it made it to four consecutive Super Bowls. Only one other team, the Miami Dolphins, has made it to three consecutive. No team except the Bills has ever lost four consecutive Super Bowls.

    It all started in 1990 with a Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants. Going into the game, the Bills were favored by seven points. At the end of the game, the Giants were ahead 20-19, but Pro Bowl placekicker Scott Norwood had one last chance to put the Bills ahead with a 47-yard field goal. It was wide to the right, hence the name "The Wide Right Game."

    In 1991, the Bills were again crowned AFC champions and faced off against the Washington Redskins in the Super Bowl. This game wasn't nearly as close as the previous; the Redskins jumped to a 24-0 lead and the game ended with a score of 37-24. At that point, the Bills were the third team in NFL history--along with the Vikings and the Broncos--to lose back to back Super Bowls.

    The point deficit grew again in 1992, when Troy Aikman and the Cowboys routed the Bills 52-17 to be crowned NFL Champions.

    Lastly, the snakebitten Bills again faced off against the Cowboys in 1993, this time shrinking the point deficit to a much less painful 30-13.

    There are two basic reasons why this record is nearly untouchable:

    1. Though it's certainly possible, it would take a hell of a team to reach the five consecutive Super Bowls needed to break the record.

    2. Any team good enough to reach five consecutive Super Bowls should be good enough to win at least one, even if by luck. 

1. Otto Graham's Ten Consecutive Championship Games

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    Though Otto Graham isn't the greatest quarterback of all time, he sure knew how to win. 

    Graham played ten seasons, all with the Cleveland Browns, all ending in an appearance in the NFL Championship game.

    I understand many people, along with myself, don't consider NFL Championships to be as valuable Super Bowl titles. However, I do believe that Otto Graham's ten NFL seasons were ten of the best ever played by a quarterback. He won the big game seven times, and his 57-13-1 record as a starting quarterback is the highest of all time (.810 winning percentage).

    Trading NFL Championships for Super Bowls, for this record to be broken one quarterback would need to lead his team to 11 consecutive Super Bowls. That simply will not happen.