NFL: The 25 Most Unbreakable Records in NFL History

Bryn Swartz@eaglescentralSenior Writer IIIMay 11, 2011

NFL: The 25 Most Unbreakable Records in NFL History

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 20:  Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings is attended to after being sacked by the Chicago Bears at TCF Bank Stadium on December 20, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    There is nothing more cherished in sports than records.

    You know, like Dan Marino's 420 touchdown passes or 61,361 passing yards. Or Night Train Lane's 14 interceptions as a rookie in 1952 or Bruce Smith's 200 career sacks.

    And then there are those records that ultimately deserve to be cherished than virtually any others simply because they will likely never be broken.

    Over the next 25 slides I will present the 25 most unbreakable records in NFL history. 

25. Pittsburgh Steelers: Allowed Six Punts Blocked in 1988

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    I feel bad for punter Harry Newsome. I really do.

    Drafted in the eighth round in 1985, Newsome punted for nine seasons but is remembered for two things: the 14 punts blocked in his career, an NFL record, and the six punts blocked in 1988, also an NFL record.

    No other punter has had more than four punts blocked in a single season. Newsome's six will never be equaled, let alone topped. 

24. Derrick Thomas: 7 Sacks in One Game

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    Rookie Derrick Thomas had the greatest game by a defensive lineman in modern NFL history, notching seven sacks of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Dave Krieg in a 1990 game. 

    Yet, Thomas will remember the game for the one sack he didn't get. On the game's final play, Krieg eluded Thomas and launched a desperation 25-yard pass which was caught in the end zone for a walkoff touchdown.

23. Johnny Unitas: 47 Consecutive Games with a Touchdown Pass

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    Many compare Johnny Unitas's touchdown-passing streak to Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. I don't think Unitas' is as quite as good (maybe because 56 is better than 47), but it's virtually unbreakable. 

    Brett Favre holds the second-longest streak in league history at 36 games. For a quarterback to break Unitas' record, he would need to throw a touchdown in every game for three full seasons.  

22. Marvin Harrison: 143 Catches in 2002

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    Harrison didn't just break the single-season record for receptions—he shattered it. He broke Herman Moore's previous single-season record by 20. 

    Harrison averaged 8.94 catches per game, topping the double-digit mark six times. He finished the season with 1,722 yards, the fourth-highest total in league history, and 11 touchdowns.  

21. Steve Young: 6 NFL Passing Titles

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    The most underrated passer in NFL history, Steve Young led the league in passer rating six times. No other quarterback has led more than four times.

    He held the single-season record for passer rating (112.8 in 1994) for 10 seasons until it was broken by Peyton Manning. He also holds the career record for passer rating (96.8). 

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 26 Consecutive Losses in 1976-1977

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    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost the first 26 games in their franchise's history. That's a record for futility that will never be matched. Even the Detroit Lions only lost 19 in a row from 2007 to 2009.

    The Bucs scored 125 and allowed 412 in 1976. In 1977, they only allowed 223, an incredible improvement. But they scored just 103 and their two quarterbacks combined for three touchdowns and 30 interceptions. 

19. George Blanda: 26 NFL Seasons

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    Blanda has one of the more unusual careers in NFL history.

    He was a record-setting quarterback, a solid placekicker and the AFC Player of the Year at age 43.

    He also played for 26 seasons, retiring in 1975 at the age of 48. Kicker Morten Anderson (25 seasons) approached Blanda's mark, but even he was two seasons away from breaking the record. 

18. Vince Lombardi: .900 Postseason Winning Percentage

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    Vince Lombardi won nine of the 10 postseason games he coached during his NFL career. Incredibly, he lost his first postseason game, 17-13 to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1960.

    He then won five championships in the next eight seasons, culminating his career with victories in each of the first two Super Bowls (both by blowout scores).

    The Super Bowl championship trophy is appropriately named the Lombardi Trophy. 

17. Jim Brown: 5.22 Yards Per Rush, Career

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    The greatest player in NFL history held virtually every single rushing record when he retired, including single-season rushing yards, total rushing yards, total rushing touchdowns and yards per carry.

    Most of his records have since been broken, largely because Brown played in only 12-game seasons. He also retired after nine seasons at age 29.

    But one record that will likely never be broken is his record for career yards per carry: 5.22. Only a quarterback like Michael Vick could average as many yards per carry, but no running back will ever top Brown. 

16. Emmitt Smith: 4,409 carries, 18,355 yards

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    Former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith salutes the crowd as he is inducted  into the team's ring of fame during halftime ceremonies as Cowboys play against the Washington Redskins in  a Monday Night Football game September 19, 2005 in Irving, Tex
    A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    I still say Emmitt Smith is overrated. I think he is the sixth- or seventh-greatest running back in league history.

    But he holds a few records that are virtually a lock to never be broken. For a running back to top Smith's rushing marks, he would need to carry the ball 300 times for about 1,250 yards per season for 15 straight seasons. And no running back is going to be able to handle that type of mileage.

15. San Francisco 49ers: 18 Consecutive Road Victories from 1988-1990

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    MENLO PARK, CA - OCTOBER 08:  Former NFL player Jerry Rice poses for a portrait at Sharon Heights Golf Club on September 8, 2007 in Menlo Park, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Winning 18 consecutive games? Incredible. Just ask the New England Patriots, who recently accomplished this feat (from 2006 to 2008).

    Now make these 18 games all on the road. That spans over three seasons. 

    The only team that could have done it? One including Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott and Bill Walsh. Not surprisingly, the 49ers captured two Super Bowl titles in that three-year span. 

14. Brett Favre: 297 Consecutive Games Played by a Quarterback

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    MINNEAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 07:  Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on November 7, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    I have the utmost respect for Brett Favre's consecutive games played streak, which is significantly more impressive than Cal Ripken's.

    He played in every game from 1992 to 2010. It's an incredible rarity for a quarterback to even play 18 seasons. Start every game and play through the type of injuries Favre has suffered? Absolutely ridiculous. 

    The only reason this streak isn't higher is because Peyton Manning is seriously threatening Favre's streak. 

13. Flipper Anderson: 336 Receiving Yards in One Game

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    Rams receiver Flipper Anderson is not a Hall of Famer, nor was he one of the game's best receivers.

    But he holds one of the most underrated records in the league. He caught 15 passes for 336 yards in a November 1989 game. 

    No other receiver has even had 300 yards in a game. 

12. Jim Hardy: 8 Interceptions in One Game

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    Chicago Cardinals quarterback Jim Hardy completed eight passes to the Philadelphia Eagles in a 1950 game. Not surprisingly, his team lost 45-7. 

    Oh and by the way...Hardy was selected to the Pro Bowl that year, despite leading the league with 24 interceptions. 

11. Don Hutson: 29 Points in One Quarter

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    Hutson is the greatest wide receiver in league history, and he holds many of the league's most incredible records, such as most times leading the league in receptions, yards and touchdowns. 

    He also had probably the best 15 minutes of any football player in history. In a 1945 game, he caught four touchdowns and kicked five extra points in a single quarter. That's more points than some NFL stars score in a month. 

10. Peyton Manning: 121.1 Passer Rating in 2004

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    INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 02:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass during NFL game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Peyton Manning has won four Most Valuable Player awards and will probably break every major passing record one day. 

    He's also won a Super Bowl MVP and led the Colts to the playoffs 11 times. He's never missed a game in his career, and he has played in 11 Pro Bowls.

    But his most impressive feat was probably his 121.1 passer rating in 2004, when he threw for 4,557 yards and 49 touchdowns.

    Tom Brady threatened Manning's record with a 117.2 mark in 2007, but Brady's season was a once-in-a-lifetime year. And the 3.9 difference in their passer rating might be more than you think. 

9. Jerry Rice: 1,549 Catches, 22,895 Yards, 197 Touchdowns

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    23 Dec 2000:  A close up of Jerry Rice #80 of the San Francisco 49ers as he looks on while playing his last game as a 49er during the game against the Denver Broncos at the Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the 49ers 38-9. Mandat
    Harry How/Getty Images

    A receiver could catch 100 passes for 1,500 yards and 13 touchdowns for 15 consecutive seasons, and he wouldn't break any of Jerry Rice's three receiving marks. 

    The NFL's second-greatest receiver ever has 447 catches, 6,961 yards and 44 touchdowns MORE than any other receiver ever.  

8. Brett Favre: 336 Interceptions

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    DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 02:  Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings talks at a post game press conference after a 13-20 loss to the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on January 2, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The NFL's all-time leader in completions, attempts, yards and touchdowns also holds a dubious record. He has thrown 59 more interceptions than any player in league history.

    A four-time leader in interceptions, Favre's record will never be broken because no quarterback will play long enough to approach 336. 

7. George Blanda: 42 Interceptions in 1962

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    Just a year after turning in one of the greatest seasons by a quarterback in league history, Blanda threw 42 interceptions—seven more than any other quarterback in history. 

    He completed just 47.1 percent of his passes and posted a 51.3 passer rating. Yet, somehow the Houston Oilers won 11 of their 14 games.  

6. Don Shula: 347 Coaching Wins

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    Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula. Mandatory Credit: Scott Halleran/ALLSPORT
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Don Shula is easily one of the greatest coaches in NFL history. 

    With the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins, he led his teams to five Super Bowl appearances, winning two. He won 14 division titles and turned in just two losing seasons in his 32-year career.

    When he retired, he had won 347 games. For a coach to break Shula's record, he would need to win 10 games for 35 seasons. That's not going to happen. 

5. Gale Sayers: 30.6 Yards Per Kick Return, Career

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    Sayers returned just 91 kicks in his six-year career, but he took six of them back for a touchdown.

    He averaged an incredible 37.7 yards per kick return in 1967 and topped 30 on two other occasions. 

    When he retired, he had averaged 30.6 yards per kick return. Some returners go two or three games without breaking off a 30-yard return. 

4. OJ Simpson: 143 Rushing Yards Per Game in 1973

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    Arguably one of the top five running backs in league history, OJ Simpson became the first player in league history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season when he totaled 2,003 in 1973.

    Even more incredibly, he did so in just 14 games, meaning he averaged 143 yards per game. His season was one of the greatest by a running back in league history

    In today's 16-game season, a running back would need approximately 2,291 yards to equal OJ's feat, which would be 186 more than the current single-season record of 2,105. 

3. Sid Luckman: 10.9 Yards Per Pass Attempt in 1943

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    Sid Luckman's 1943 season is the greatest by a quarterback in league history. Look it up.

    He tossed 28 touchdowns against only 12 interceptions. He posted a passer rating of 107.5.

    And he averaged a ridiculous 10.94 yards per pass attempt.

    Luckman concluded his record-breaking season by turning in arguably the greatest single-game championship performance in league history. 

2. Don Hutson: 8 Touchdown Titles

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    I can't get enough of Don Hutson and his records. 

    Imagine a player leading the league in touchdowns eight times. Most players nowadays barely have eight good seasons. How about eight of the most dominant seasons in the league?

    Hutson's feat is even more incredible because he is a wide receiver and not a running back. 

1. Otto Graham: 10 Championship Game Appearances

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    Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway led his team to the Super Bowl five times. That's the most appearances by any quarterback in the Super Bowl.

    It's also half as many championship appearances as Graham. 

    In 10 seasons, Graham led the Cleveland Browns to the NFL championship game all 10 times. They won seven of them. 

    His first four championships (1946-1949) occurred in the weaker AAFC, but Graham proved his team was no slouch, winning the championship in his first season in the NFL.