Hall of Fame asks what happens to records in 18-game season?

Here’s one thought about the possibility of an 18-game schedule that hasn’t been talked about much before we ran across a well-written entry by Pete Fierle, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s manager of digital media and communications: What happens to the record books?

The furor set off by Roger Maris’ 61 home runs in a 162-game schedule vs. the 154 games played by Babe Ruth was intense. What would happen if the NFL went to 18 games? As Fierle notes, the NFL jumped from 14 to 16 games in 1978.

As Fierle notes, some records have stood the test of time. Dick “Night Train” Lane intercepted 14 passes in 1952 when it was a 12-game season. It remains the NFL record. Three players have had 13-interception seasons and two of them played during the 12-game era.

No rookie has scored more than 22 touchdowns, the mark set by Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers in 1965 in 14 games. But surely 2,000 rushing yards wouldn’t be the mark it once was. For quarterbacks, 4,000 yards wouldn’t be such a feat. Heck, 5,000 yards would be challenged regularly.

It’s interesting to consider. You have to believe 18 games is coming. It’s simply a matter of the dollars and cents getting figured out. One thing it will do for the record books is promote discussion about some great performance of the past.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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