Individual numbers just aren't as prioritized or celebrated in the ultimate team game as they are in the other major sports.
Most people who consider themselves sports fans probably know about Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point game, Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak or even (to bring the references into this millennium) Michael Phelps' 8 Gold Medals at the 2008 Olympic Games. For decades if you said "755", people knew exactly what you were talking about, but in football, there isn't really a true numerical comparison to those legendary numbers.
Obviously, there's some people on this planet who know that the single game receiving yards record is held by Flipper Anderson with 336 yards or that Emmitt Smith is the all-time leading rusher, but in the eyes of most fans, players and coaches; football is all about winning and losing. Numbers aren't revered like they are in baseball or basketball; even with fantasy football being as popular as it is. Dan Marino retired with over 40 NFL records, but the only one people remember is 0-1 in the Super Bowl.
Last year, the NFL dedicated their season to paying homage to the league's first 100 years. There were countless documentaries and series looking back at the players, coaches and administrators who grew this game from barnstorming teams of butchers and fire fighters to a multi-billionaire dollar mega-league with a monopoly on the Lord's Day.
For obvious reason, this season has been a Caddyshack II like follow-up to NFL 100.
Despite the eerie feel to this NFL 101 season, it's still football. Thanks to playoff expansion, there's plenty of teams still in the hunt.
Because of that, these five players on contending teams have a real chance to accomplish some pretty major statistical milestones. Not all are league records, but all have serious historical ramifications. I'm not saying a single one will happen, but all have a puncher's chance. Watch out for these five potential accomplishments in final three weeks of the season.
Patrick Mahomes: 5000 Passing Yards (currently leads the league with 4208)
2020 has been an awful year for the vast majority of mankind, but Patrick Mahomes is not like the vast majority of mankind. In February, he lead the Kansas City Chiefs to their first Super Bowl since the 1969 season when the AFL still existed and man had just walked on moon. In July, Mahomes signed the first 500 million dollar deal in NFL history.
This year, Mahomes is less than 800 yards away from passing for 5,000 yards for the second time in three seasons.
Of all the stats in this blog, I am most confident in this actually happening. As long as Mahomes stays healthy, he should hit the 5,000 yard mark for the second time in his young career. That's significant because Drew Brees is the only player in NFL history with more than one 5,000 yard passing season (he has 5).
Sure, passing numbers are more inflated in today's NFL than the bag of chips in How To With John Wilson.
But the 5,000 yard mark has only been surpassed 12 times in league history; it's still a big deal.
Maybe someday 5,000 will be the new 4,000 (especially with a 17th and possible 18th game seeming inevitable), but as of now only seven men have thrown for over 5,000 yards in a season. With 792 more yards, Patrick Mahomes will become only the second player to ever achieve this feat more than once. I'd give Patrick at least a 75% chance of passing for 5,000+ yards.
Week 15: @ Saints (4th in passing defense)
Week 16: vs Falcons (30th in passing defense)
Week 17: vs Chargers (7th in passing defense)
Derrick Henry: 2000 Rushing Yards (currently leads the league with 1532)
After looking like a low key bust his first two season, Derrick Henry has been an absolute monster with the ball in his hands. Last season, he carried the Titans to their first AFC Championship game since 2002 while leading the league in rushing.
This year he's followed it up by leading the league in rushing again (as of week 14) with exactly 200 yard more Dalvin Cook (who to his credit, has missed time).
It's December, which means it's Tractorcito season. Last year Henry rushed for 747 yards and 10 touchdowns in his final 6 starts of the regular season to clinch the 6th and final playoff spot. Sure, 468 yards is a tall order (156 YPG) for even Tractorcito, but if there's anybody in the league who can put up those time of numbers in bunches, it's Derrick Henry.
Given how much he's dominated the league since the 99 yard run against the Jags in 2018; it feels like Derrick is destined to join the likes of O.J. Simpson, Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders, Terrell Davis, Jamal Lewis, Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson in the 2000 yard club. It's his time.
Anecdotally, Mahomes reaching 5,000 may be more likely, but the schedule (and season) favors Tractorcito, especially with the Titans in a fight with the Colts for the AFC South crown. I'm giving Derrick a 55% chance at 2K.
Week 15: vs Lions (29th in rushing defense)
Week 16: @ Packers (11th in rushing defense)
Week 17: @ Texans (31st in rushing defense)
Aaron Rodgers: 50 Passing Touchdowns (currently leads the league with 39)
10 years after winning his only Super Bowl, Aaron Rodgers is still playing at an MVP level; he's completing over 69% of his passes and has thrown 39 touchdowns with only 4 interceptions.
That cherry-picked stat does cut off Brady's 50 TD 8 INT 2007, but shows how great Rodgers has played. IMO he's the MVP. Look at what Rodgers is working with compared to Mahomes.
The Packers are currently in the NFC's one seed thanks to a head-to-head victory over the Saints back in September, but they'll need to win out to assure home field advantage.
With three games remaining, Rodgers is only 11 touchdowns away from a 50 piece for the year. Only three QBs in NFL history have reached that threshold; Tom Brady in 2007 (50), Peyton Manning in 2013 (55) and Patrick Mahomes in 2018 (50). In 2011 Rodgers came close, but rested for the final game of the season with 45 TD passes.
11 touchdowns may seem like a lot for only three games, but Rodgers had thrown 10 in his last three starts.
Against two bottom-third passing defenses in his last three games, Aaron has more than a solid chance to reach 50 touchdown passes and possibly win his third MVP.
If you asked him if he'd rather throw for 50 touchdowns or win the Super Bowl, Rodgers wouldn't hesitate to say he wants the 2nd ring, but after the Packers traded up to draft a QB, I'm sure he'd love to have this feather in his ironic cowboy hat. 45% chance Aaron serves a 50 burger.
Week 15: vs Panthers (23rd in passing defense)
Week 16: vs Titans (29th in passing defense)
Week 17: @ Bears (15th in passing defense)
Rob Gronkowski: 10 Receiving Touchdowns (nowhere close to leading the league with only 5 touchdowns)
Gronk scored at least 10 touchdowns in 5 of his first 6 seasons, but hasn't reached that plateau since 2015. Of all the numbers were going to talk about in this blog, Gronk reaching double digit touchdowns seems the least likely. It took 87 until week 6 to find the endzone and he's only scored five touchdowns all season.
I'm just personally rooting for this because I still love Gronk. I do think there's a minor chance it happens IF Gronk scores twice this week; he's gotta bite a big chunk off that total this week to have any chance. Last week Gronk only had one catch, but it was a 2 yard touchdown grab. A simple eye test will show you Gronk isn't the player he used to be; injuries have made him a shell of his former self. The dude fucking retired after all.
I just hate seeing Travis Kelce be successful and need to have Gronk find a way to get to double digit touchdowns as a I'm still here marker. Kelce's gonna retire with more yards, but there's no way on earth at their peaks that Kelce is better. I'll say it one more time, FUCK Travis Kelce. I'd give Gronk somewhere between a 6.9% and 8.7% chance of catching five touchdowns the next three weeks. He hasn't scored 5 touchdowns in a three game span since week 8-10 of the 2014 season.
There's a lot of mouths to feed in the Bucs offense, but Tampa plays the Falcons twice with the Lions sandwiched in between. You can't find a much more favorable schedule for Gronk. Those are two of the worst passing defenses in the NFL and two of the three games are in dome environments for the old man. Plus the Falcons have given up 9 touchdowns to opposing TEs and the Lions aren't much better with 7.
Week 15: @ Falcons (30th in passing defense)
Week 16: @ Lions (27th in passing defense)
Week 17: vs Falcons (30th in passing defense)
Marlon Humprey: 10 Forced Fumbles (currently leads the league with 8 FF)
Ravens CB Marlon Humprey has only one interception on the season, but has forced 8 fumbles.
Of all the potential statistical milestones in this blog, Humprey actually has a chance to tie or surpass an NFL record; 10 forced fumbles in a season. This record is shared by Robert Mathis (2013), Charles Tillman (2012) and Osi Umenyiora (2010).
It's almost impossible to predict fumbles, but Humprey clearly has a knack for knocking the ball out; forcing 4 in his last three games. The Ravens end the season with the Jaguars, Giants and Bengals; three of the worst and most turnover prone offenses in the NFL. The Jaguars have fumbled 13 times (losing 7), the Giants Daniel Jones has 10 fumbles by himself and the Bengals are the Bengals.
I love seeing linemen score and non-QB throw TDs, so you best believe, even though I hate the Ravens that I want to see a CB tie/break the single season forced fumble record. Since he only needs two in three games I'll give Humprey a 44% chance.
Week 15: vs Jaguars (8th most turnovers in the NFL)
Week 16: vs Giants (10th most turnovers in the NFL)
Weel 17: @Bengals (5th most turnovers in the NFL)
What stats do you have you eye on as the season reaches its end? Which ones covered in this blog do you think will happen? Which ones won't? What did I miss? Let's see if we can mix in a comment below! #HireDozo