When football fans can finally rejoice that the 2018 season has arrived—nothing can match the excitement of NFL Sundays—we could see the NFL record books be rewritten.
Much has happened across the NFL since the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52.
The Patriots have lost several key players to free agency, including Nate Solder and Danny Amendola, while the Los Angeles Rams have added several Pro Bowl-caliber players in Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters and Ndamukong Suh.
There are five months to go until the regular season and plenty of moves left to be made, so it’s premature to predict who the favorites are to make it to Super Bowl 53. But one thing that’s almost a guarantee is that we’ll see two historic records fall in 2018.
Drew Brees Passes Peyton Manning
At 39, Brees is still going strong, which is why the Saints re-signed him to a two-year, $50 million contract.
After spending his first five seasons in the league with the Chargers, he’s spent the last 12 with the Saints. In his time in New Orleans, he’s established himself as one of the best quarterbacks of all-time.
Not only is he the only quarterback in NFL history to have five 5,000-yard passing seasons, but only four other QBs have accomplished the feat once: Dan Marino, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford and Manning.
In addition to individual accomplishments, Brees has helped turn the Saints from a laughing stock into Super Bowl champions in 2009 when they defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in Super Bowl 44.
Ironically the quarterback he bested in Super Bowl 44 is the man whose record he’s about to break—Manning.
Brees had one of his most efficient seasons in 2017, finishing with a quarterback rating of 103.9. If not for the “Minnesota Miracle,” he would have had the Saints in the NFC Championship Game.
Based on the 270 passing yards Brees averaged per game last season, he should break the record in the Saints sixth game of the 2018 season.
Adam Vinatieri Outkicks Morten Andersen
In fact, Vinatieri can also surpass Andersen’s all-time record for field goals made in a career (565) by putting seven more three-point attempts through the uprights, but the all-time points record is the more historic feat.
The ageless Vinatieri, a three-time First-Team All-Pro, has been in the league since 1996 and been a part of four Super Bowl-winning teams—three with the Patriots, one with the Colts.
He’s developed a reputation as being the most clutch kicker in NFL history.
In New England’s 16-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders in the 2002 AFC Wild Card Game, he kicked two field goals in blizzard conditions. In the final moments of both Super Bowl 36 and 38, it was Vinatieri who kicked the game-winning field goals.
Were it not for him, the Patriots dynasty may not ever happen.
While his best years are behind him, the 45-year-old still remains one of the game’s premier kickers. Last season, he converted 29-of-34 field goal attempts, including five-of-six from 50 yards or more.
Both Brees and Vinatieri will one day be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Breaking these historic records solidifies them as among the best to ever play their respective positions—and gives them one more thing to add to their Hall of Fame credentials.