The first week 18 in NFL history is finally over, and multiple single season records have been broken. The extra game helped high-caliber players cement their names in football history, but the records may not stick forever. The NFL’s decision to expand the season from 17 weeks (16 games, 1 bye week) to 18 weeks (17 games, 1 bye week) is only going to lead to more records being broken as the years go on. There will soon be a day where we look back in awe of what players accomplished during a 16-game schedule.
Despite the 17-game expansion this season, there is one player who achieved something truly great without the help of an extra game. TJ Watt, who appeared in 15 games this season, tied Michael Strahan’s 22.5 single-season sack record after tallying a sack against the Ravens in week 18. At only 27 years old, expect to see TJ Watt terrorizing quarterbacks (just like his brother, JJ) for the next decade or so.
Mike Evans recorded 1,034 receiving yards this season, marking his 8th season in a row with 1,000+ receiving yards and breaking the NFL record for seasons with 1,000+ receiving yards.
Countless players broke franchise records this season as well. Some of the most notable players include Justin Jefferson breaking the record for most catches in first two seasons with 196. Tom Brady also broke the Buccaneers’ single-season record for touchdown passes with 43 and broke the NFL single-season record for completions with 485.
The extra game undeniably helped players like Brady break these records. The previous single-season completions record was held by Drew Brees after his 471 completions in the 2017 season. Brady finished his week 18 match up with 29 completions. Without that extra game, Brady would have been 15 pass completions behind 2017 Brees.
A few more impressive records that were broken this year include Davante Adams breaking the Packers’ receiving record for a single season after his 1,553-yard year, Ja’Marr Chase broke the same record for the Bengals with 1,455 receiving yards and Mark Andrews broke the Ravens’ single-season reception record with 107 catches (eight catches in week 18).
People will argue about the NFL record book right now because an abundance of records will likely be broken within the next 5 years. But the NFL has expanded before and everyone adapted, so the extra game will be no different. With NFL draft-classes getting more talented by the year, it will be entertaining to watch new and exciting players break records for franchises and the entire NFL for years to come.
What do you think? Do these new NFL records deserve and asterisk next them? I don’t think they do; We should look eagerly upon the newly broken records as a new age of the NFL.