If you follow the NFL at all, then surely you’ve heard by now that Saints quarterback Drew Brees set a major record over the weekend. When he threw the first of his four TD passes in the Saints’ 31-24 victory over the Chargers, that made it 48 straight games with a TD pass, breaking the previous record of 47 straight games set by some guy named Johnny Unitas a whopping 52 years ago. So, if you didn’t already realize that Drew Brees is a very special player, hopefully you do now.
However, Brees is hardly the only active player who owns an NFL record. In fact, he’s not even the only active quarterback to hold an NFL record. So today, in honor of Brees’s historic achievement on Sunday, we give you this list of 12 other NFL records held by active players. And first up is an obscure one set this year by a rookie on the St. Louis Rams.
Does that pique your interest a little bit? Well, click away to learn more.
Like I said, this one is a bit obscure, but it is still quite impressive. Earlier this season during the game between the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks, Rams rookie place kicker Greg Zuerlein—remember that name—became the first player in NFL history to make two field goals of 58 yards or more in a single game. One of those field goals, as you surely have guessed, was from 58 yards. The other? That was from 60 yards.
The kid followed that up by kicking another longer one—53 yards—against the Arizona Cardinals this past Thursday, making him 13 for 13 this season with an incredible 4 field goals from 50+ yards.
So keep an eye on this guy. He may very well break a few more records in the coming years, if not this year.
12. Most Field Goals of 58+ Yards in a Single Game: 2
Wikipedia and Pro Football Reference disagree on who holds this record. However, I'm going to have to side with PFR here and say it was the Washington Redskins' John Beck. On October 30, 2011, during a game against the AFC East powerhouse Buffalo Bills (yes, that's a joke, relax), the box score after the game showed that Beck got sacked 9 times, which tied the NFL record for most times a QB was sacked in a game. But a few days later the Elias Sports Bureau reviewed footage of the game and determined that a play that was originally called a running play was actually a sack. That brought the total sacked up to 10, and made Beck the new holder of this infamous record.
11. Most Times Sacked in a Single Game: 10
The Falcons are off to a tremendous 5-0 start this year. They're averaging 29.6 PTS/G while only giving up only 18.6. However, while their record is perfect, there are some areas that could use improving. For example, on September 30 against the Panthers, QB Matt Ryan was sacked a whopping 7 times, resulting in an NFL record 64 yards lost to sacks. Ouch.
10. Most Sack Yards Lost in a Single Game: 64
2007 was a record breaking year for New England Patriots. That Brady-led team was an offensive juggernaut that led the league with 36.8 points per game and set NFL records for points (589) and touchdowns (75). And for 74 of those 75 touchdowns, Bill Belichick called on place kicker Stephen Gostkowski to make the extra point.
Gostkowski's success rate? 100% The guy went 74 for 74, which is an NFL record for extra point attempts and extra point kicks made.
9. Most Extra Points Kicked in a Single Season: 74
The longest interception return for a touchdown in NFL history came courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens' Ed Reed. On November 23, 2008, he intercepted a Kevin Kolb pass during the fourth quarter of the Ravens' 36-7 victory over the Eagles and returned in 107 yard for a touchdown.
The previous record? It was 106 yards and was set in 2004...by Ed Reed.
8. Longest Interception Return Ever: 107 Yards
This record actually belongs to two people, and only one of them is active—Randall Cobb. On September 8, 2011—during the opening game of the season, between Green Bay and New Orleans—he tied the record by returning Saints kicker Thomas Morstead's 73-yard kickoff an insane 108 yards for a touchdown.
Interestingly, the other guy to return a kick 108 yards for a touchdown was Ellis Hobbs, who did it in 2007...for the Patriots.
7. Longest Kick Return Ever: 108 Yards
Just last season, San Francisco 49ers place kicker David Akers shattered the all-time record for field goals made in a season by kicking 44 of them. The previous record belonged to another active player, Neil Rackers, who kicked 40 back in 2005. And after that it's yet another active player, Olindo Mare, who kicked 39 in '99.
6. Most Fields Goals in a Season: 44
The guy who is 10th on the list of single-season field goal records is Titans kicker Rob Bironas. He kicked 35 field goals in 2007. That's pretty good, but the truly crazy part is that 8 of those 35 field goals came in one single game—Titans vs. Texans, October 21, 2007. Those 8 kicks accounted for 24 of Tennessee's 38 points, and the Titans went on to win by 2.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, after Bironas there are 5 guys tied for second with 7 field goals in one game: Jim Bakken (1967), Rich Karlis (1989), Chris Boniol (1996), Billy Cundiff (2003), and Shayne Graham (2007).
5. Most Field Goals in a Game: 8
This one you probably know belongs to Aaron Rodgers. Last season he eclipsed the mark Peyton Manning in 2004—121.1—by posting a ridiculous 122.5 in leading the Packers to a 15-1 record...and early exit from the NFL Playoffs. Rodgers wasn't even in the top 10 in pass attempts, but he was nevertheless 10th in completions (242), 5th in passing yards (4,643), and 2nd in touchdowns (45). So, yeah, it was a pretty great season.
4. Single Season Passer Rating: 122.5
Sure, Brett Favre became football's Cal Ripken Jr. when he set the ironman streak of consecutive games started (297) in 2010. However, Favre did it with three different teams. Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson owns a record that will be almost impossible to break in the modern era: most consecutive seasons with one team. The 42-year-old has played for the Lions since the first George Bush was president (1992) and has played an incredible 310 regular season games for Detroit.
3. Most Consecutive Seasons with One Team: 21
Out #2 most impressive NFL record held by an active player would have to be total passing yards in a season. And of course, it was set just last year by the man who inspired this list to begin with: Drew Brees. He came close to breaking Dan Marino's nearly 30-year-old record of 5,084 in 2008, but last year both Brees and Tom Brady surpassed that mark—the former racking up an insane 5,476, the latter a good-but-not-quite-good-enough 5,325.
Interestingly, it turns out that 4 of the top 6 QB passing seasons in NFL history came in 2011. After Brees and Brady, Detroit's Matthew Stafford put up 5,038 (46 yards shy of Marino's record), and Eli Manning put up 4,933 (151 yards shy of Marino's record).
2. Passing Yards in a Season: 5,476
Brees is truly great, but it's Tom Brady who holds the holy grail of QB records right now: single-season TD passes. Just 3 years after Peyton Manning broke Dan Marino's 1984 record of 48 by throwing for 49 TDs in 2004, Tom Brady threw a crazy 50 TD passes for the New England Patriots during their historic 2007 season.
Of course, those 50 TDs probably didn't take the sting off New England's (first) shocking upset at the hands of the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.