Should Week 18 Have Its Own Record Book?

Story posted January 17, 2022 in Sports, CommRadio by Dylan Price

For the first time in the league’s history, the NFL regular season went 18 weeks and 17 and with an extra game, a handful of players had a shot to rewrite history.

Cooper Kupp fell 18 yards short of the single-season receiving yards record held by Calvin Johnson, and five receptions short of the single-season receptions record held by Michael Thomas.

When asked about the records though, Kupp felt wrong about breaking them in a way stating, “it wouldn’t seem right for those to be broken in 17 games,” to Des Bieler of The Washington Post.

Sunday though, saw one of the most infamous records in football history be tied as T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers matched Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record with his sack of Baltimore Ravens backup quarterback Tyler Huntley.

Now, Watt tying the record is made all the more impressive when you consider it took him 15 games to do it.

Miami Dolphins rookie wideout Jaylen Waddle broke Anquan Boldin’s rookie reception record as he caught his 102nd reception Sunday breaking the 18-year-old record. Waddle finished the season with 104 receptions and now finds his name in record books along with Watt.

A handful of franchises saw their records fall, as the Dallas Cowboys, and quarterback Dak Prescott broke the franchise’s touchdown pass record with his 37th. Former LSU wideout Ja’Marr Chase also broke the Cincinnati Bengals single-season receiving yards record finishing with 1,455 receiving yards.

With these records falling though, and the 18 week season becoming the new norm, it begs the question, should Week 18 seasons have their own record book?

Major league baseball didn’t abolish the history books and start anew when they expanded the season, they simply added an asterisk that stood until they removed it in 1991. The NHL has shifted its season length a handful of times and not once has an asterisk even been in their history books.

So, an acknowledgment is certainly needed and it should be recognized in the history books that the talent that broke those long-standing records did so in a shorter amount of time.

An asterisk or a new history book though only invalidates those who broke records in the expanded season, and sure they had an extra game to do it, but part of recognizing history is highlighting the changes that have occurred and the records that have stood the test of time.

A new history book doesn’t protect history, it just confuses and separates the NFL into two eras unnecessarily. An acknowledgment still protects history without reshaping the way it’s consumed, while also allowing the history books to adapt to the 17-game regular season.

Dylan Price is a first-year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email dvp5625@psu.edu.