The 400 Club

“Records are meant to be broken.”  Surely, you must have heard this phrase at least once in your life as a sports fan.  Some records are virtually untouchable and stand the test of time in sports; however, some records appear to be approachable, especially in the NFL.

With the NFL being more passer-friendly than ever before, passing records appear to be breakable.  In week one of the 2011 NFL season, there were four 400-yard passers.  Now in week two, Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady became the sixth and seventh quarterbacks in history to pass for 400-plus yards in consecutive games.  If either one of these men were to repeat the feat in week three, they would become the first quarterbacks ever to do so in three consecutive games.

Cam Newton set a new rookie record with 432 yards passing.

Not only are Newton and Brady the sixth and seventh to accomplish the feat in consecutive weeks, but they are also the first two ever to do so in the first two weeks of an NFL season.

Newton’s 432 yards passing in today’s 30-23 loss to the Green Bay Packers set a new record for most yards in a game by a rookie quarterback.

400-plus yards in consecutive games
Dan Fouts (1982):  444 + 435 = 879
Dan Marino (1984):  470 + 404 = 874
Phil Simms (1985):  432 + 513 = 945
Billy Volek (2004):  426 + 492 = 918
Matt Cassel (2008):  400 + 415 = 815
Cam Newton (2011):  422 + 432 = 854
Tom Brady (2011):  517 + 423 = 940

Newton and Brady each have two 400-yard games already in the 2011 season.  No quarterback ever achieved 400-plus yards in three consecutive games.  For Brady, this was his third career 400-yard game.  Many quarterbacks in NFL history had two 400-yard games in a season; only Marino ever had more (four in 1984 and three in 1986).  Newton and Brady each have two apiece already.

Marino leads in career 400-yard games with 13 of them; he is followed by Peyton Manning (eight), Joe Montana (seven) and Warren Moon (seven).  Marino’s single-season record of 5,084 yards passing may also be broken if Newton and Brady do not cool off.  It is still too early in the season to discuss the record being broken; however, if Newton and Brady were to maintain their current paces, they would pass for 6,832 yards and 7,520 yards respectively.  Aside from Marino’s 5,084 yards in the 1984 season, only Drew Brees had ever reached the 5,000-yard mark (5,069 yards in 2008).

The current NFL is a quarterback’s paradise.  Thus far, we have seen six 400-yard passers (four in week one and two in week two) with two games remaining this week.  At this rate, you may be watching history each week in the NFL.  If anybody breaks the record of 5,084 yards passing, I would guess it will be Brady.  Brady became the NFL’s first unanimous MVP in 2010 and is currently putting up numbers normally seen only in video games.  The Patriots’ no-huddle offense seems to be unstoppable and is currently reminding me of the early 1990s Buffalo Bills.

The season is still young; however, this could be a historic season in NFL history and it would not be a surprise to see more 400-yard games by quarterbacks in the near future.

Christopher Wenrich is a senior fantasy baseball contributor for BaseballDigest.com and can be reached at philliesmuse@yahoo.com.  You can follow him on Twitter @DuggerSports.

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