We don't know exactly how the new 17-game NFL season will impact players, but it's easy to make a few assumptions. I laid a few of those out when I wrote in April about the league's new schedule. We'll expect to see more parity and more injuries, both products of adding a 17th game against similarly successful competition. Those seem pretty straightforward.
I want to focus on the third element I mentioned back in April: setting records. Seventeen is more than 16, and that extra game is going to make it easier for players to get the numbers they need to breaking records. Virtually every one of the significant single-season records from the 14-game era has been erased from the record books by a more impressive performance from the 16-game campaign -- with two exceptions, one of which we'll discuss in this piece.
Let's look at eight records across the NFL and reevaluate them in light of the move to 17 games. For some, it wouldn't be a surprise if a new mark was set in 2021. With at least one of the awards, we might not see a new record-holder until the league expands the season to 27 games. I'll also nominate three players who have a shot at setting each record, including two favorites and a long shot.
We'll start with one of the most vulnerable awards, because I'm not sure it will still be on the books this time next year:
Current record: 5,477 (Peyton Manning, 2013)
While Manning holds this record by 1 lone yard over Drew Brees' 2011 campaign, no other season from any other quarterback is within 200 yards of the top two.
We've seen three quarterbacks with three different styles top 5,000 yards over the last three seasons in Patrick Mahomes, Ben Roethlisberger and Jameis Winston, and there are several quarterbacks who could threaten Manning's record with an extra game this season.