Posted by Mike Lynch on September 9, 2015
With the 2015 NFL season kicking off this week, we thought we'd visit some storylines for this season as a way of introducing some of the research tools you can find on Pro-Football-Reference.com. Follow the hyperlinked historical notes to the queries on our site and see if you can re-create them. If you're wondering about how we did anything, just ask us!
Quarterbacks Chasing History
- Last season, Manning broke Brett Favre's record for career TD passes. In 2015, the future Hall of Famer needs just 2,148 yards to break Favre's career record for passing yardage. Manning has thrown for over 3,500 yards in every season in which he's played a game. In fact, last season he surpassed 2,148 yards by the eighth game of the season.
- Additionally, with 374 completions, Manning can break Favre's all-time record in that category. That race could come down to the wire, as Manning has averaged 370 completions per season in the 16 years in which he's taken the field.
- Another Favre record that Manning will take aim at this season is the all-time record for wins as a starting QB. Favre currently claims that record with 186, but Manning enters 2015 with 179 (in 42 fewer starts).
- We're certain Manning would prefer to be celebrating something else in early 2016, but he could become the first 15-time Pro Bowler in NFL history.
- Brees needs just four more TD passes to join Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Dan Marino as the only signal callers in NFL history to throw 400 TD passes. The man under center in New Orleans is a pretty safe bet to get there, considering that he's thrown for 30+ TD in an NFL-record 7 straight seasons.
- Brees also needs just 31 more completions to move past Hall-of-Famer Dan Marino for third place in NFL history.
- Brady should quickly join Brees as a newly minted member of the 400-TD club, as he'll enter 2015 with 392 TDs through the air.
- If he's able to add a 30th playoff start to his resume in January, Brady can break his tie with Hall of Famer Jerry Rice and become the NFL's all-time leader in playoff starts.
- Big Ben enters 2015 with a 106-52 regular-season record as a starting quarterback. Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw also started 158 games at QB for the Steelers, posting a 107-51 record. With two more wins, Roethlisberger can surpass Bradshaw to become the winningest starting QB in Steelers history.
- Rodgers has posted a passer rating of 100+ in six straight seasons. Steve Young is the only other QB with such a streak over three seasons.
- His 36 wins as a starting QB through three seasons are the most in NFL history.
- Fellow class of 2012 QB Luck has won 33 games thus far (tied for 2nd most through three seasons with Dan Marino and Matt Ryan). Luck is the all-time leader in passing yards through three seasons, though, with 12,957 (surpassing Peyton Manning's old record).
Adrian Peterson Returns
It's been a year since Peterson last took the field in a 34-6 Week 1 win over the Rams last season. Few fans will be rooting for Peterson in 2015, but he'll likely continue to climb the record books.
- With six more rushing TDs, he'll vault past four Hall of Famers and into the Top 10 in NFL history. In fact, if he's able to run for pay dirt 14 times, he can become the ninth man in league history to run it in for six 100 times.
- Peterson enters 2014 averaging 98.0 rushing yards per game in his career. That's the third-highest figure in NFL history.
Throwing the football has never been more popular, and it has probably never been easier. Go ahead and check this list of the players with most receiving yards per game in NFL history. That right, the top five are all active players (or at least kind of active in the case of Josh Gordon). And this doesn't even include players like Odell Beckham, Jr. who don't yet have enough games played to qualify.
- Andre Johnson could find himself third in NFL history in career receptions if he snags 91+ catches this season.
- Despite some recent injury issues, Calvin Johnson has the second-most career receiving yards through eight seasons in NFL history. He'll need 1,460 receiving yards this season to be the all-time leader through nine seasons (currently Torry Holt).
- Demaryius Thomas is second to only Megatron in receiving yards over the last three seasons.
- Julio Jones has averaged 108.7 receiving yards per game over the last two seasons.
- Antonio Brown has caught 5+ balls in every game over the last two seasons. His 32-game streak with 5+ receptions is nearly twice as long as any other streak we have on record since 1981 (as far back as our full participation data goes).
- Dez Bryant has caught 41 TDs over the last three seasons. No one else has more than 35.
- DeSean Jackson, meanwhile, is neither a target magnet, nor much of a red zone threat. But few players are as dangerous in their own territory. Jackson's 20 career TD of 55+ yards are tied with HOFer Lance Alworth for most through Age 28. Jackson doesn't turn 29 until December.
- Last, but not least is Odell Beckham. He missed a quarter of the season, must still managed to become just the fourth rookie with 90+ receptions and the fourth rookie with 1,300+ receiving yards. Beckham led the NFL with 108.8 receiving YPG last season and averaged 9 receptions for 133 yards over his final nine games of the season. He enters 2015 on a 9-game streak with 90+ receiving yards. If he's able to extend the streak to ten games, it would be the longest such streak in our participation logs.
The Patriots posted their 12th straight double-digit win season in 2014. That's the 2nd-longest such streak in NFL history. Only the 49ers (from 1983-98) have posted a longer streak. If head coach Bill Belichick can get his team to repeat, he could become the first head coach to win five Super Bowls.
|1||San Francisco 49ers||16||191||63||1||1983||1998||See all seasons »|
|2||New England Patriots||12*||150||42||0||2003||2014||See all seasons »|
|3||Indianapolis Colts||9||109||35||0||2002||2010||See all seasons »|
|4||Dallas Cowboys||7||80||26||0||1975||1981||See all seasons »|
|5||Dallas Cowboys||6||64||19||1||1968||1973||See all seasons »|
|Dallas Cowboys||6||70||26||0||1991||1996||See all seasons »|
|Miami Dolphins||6||67||16||1||1970||1975||See all seasons »|
|Los Angeles Rams||6||66||19||1||1973||1978||See all seasons »|
New Extra Point Rules
If you send your kicking team out for extra points, you'll now have to snap the ball from the 15, rather than 2. Curious how this impacts strategy? Check out our Game Player Finder to find all FGAs with the LOS at the 15 over the last 5 seasons. You can also use this tool to search for 2-point conversion tries over the same span. Which approach is the better bet?
Track History All Season Long
Bookmark our NFL Milestone Watch page and check every week for which records might fall.