Goodell Making It Easier For Records To Fall
By Guest Columnist Hayden Buttner
Is there something behind the best numbers ever being put up by Quarterbacks in the NFL this year after a shortened offseason? Or are these guys just the real deal?
Records Broken in 2011:
Highest Passer Rating for a season: Aaron Rodgers 122.5
Most games 100+ Passer Rating, season: Aaron Rodgers 13
Passing yards in a season: Drew Brees 5,476
Passing yards in a game, combined: Matthew Stafford 520 and Matt Flynn 480
Passing yards in a game, rookie: Cam Newton 432
Passing yard in a season, rookie: Cam Newton 4,051
Most 300+ passing yard games in a season: Drew Brees 8
I believe Rodger Goodell and the NFL Rules Committee are the people to point to. When they made rules banning hard hits across the middle and made up the penalty of a “defenseless receiver” they didn’t realize how they would change the game for years to come, and make records look like benchmarks.
These rule changes have also eliminated a type of player that we all loved, a player who made it harder for quarterbacks back in the day. Today there are no more John Lynch or Sean Taylor like safeties that punish receiver for catching balls. When these headhunters glided around the secondary, if one floated the ball over the middle, you would have ended your number one receiver’s season.
Today QB’s have realized these types of players have been removed from the game and the hits are now illegal and tagged with a 15-yard penalty, included with a heavy fine from the league office. They aren’t scared of those types of hits anymore. They can now exploit the middle of the field where players who are going to catch the ball cannot be hit until they can “defend themselves."
These simple rule changes allowed 5 QB’s this year to have the chance to throw for over 5,000 yards and helped Tom Brady and Drew Brees both break the previous record set in 1984 by Dan Marino of 5,084 yards. Aaron Rodgers' new passer rating record is over 19 points higher then the previous one set, and if he wasn’t inactive his last game, he could have made a run at Marino’s record mark as well All of this is being done even after the entire lockout, where teams weren’t allowed to practice their timing. Quarterbacks can now use the entire field and dissect defenses down the middle without the threat of endangering their own teammates with these hits.
In the future, these records will be broken numerous times as these players realize how these rules make it easier to pass the ball in the NFL and they have time to work with their coaches and teammates in the offseason. Players are being forced to adapt the way they play, and the rules seem to be an advantage to passing offenses to create more scoring.
So what is the real answer? Are NFL fans just blessed with the best generation of QB’s in the history of the game? Or are the people in charge today changing the game and triggering these performances that have left fans with a new style of football?