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Some records, when broken, are met with cheers. Others, when broken, are met with uncomfortable laughter — or flat-out guffaws.
This edition of the NFList focuses on a handful of NFL records that could be broken in 2010. Some are more likely to occur than others, and most, should they occur, will be cherished by the new record holders.
Then there is the all-time fumble record — commemorated, we hope, by a trophy with handles on both sides and placed on a low shelf. Yes, that mark could be broken this season, as well as a few more enviable ones, all of which we've separated into the following categories: likely to fall, potentially could fall and unlikely to fall in 2010.
Records likely to fall
1. John Elway's record for times sacked in a career (potential record breaker: Vikings QB Brett Favre) — Elway was sacked 516 times in his 16-season career with Denver. Favre, who begins his 20th season, has been sacked 503 times. Considering that Favre has been sacked at least 15 times in all but one of the 18 previous seasons in which he has started at least 13 games, as well as his legendary durability, this record will probably fall in 2010. (Note: The NFL has compiled the number of times a quarterback has been sacked since 1963.)
2. Warren Moon's record for career fumbles (potential record breaker: Favre) — Favre needs just three fumbles to break Moon's record of 161, and he's a good bet to do so. However, we would have said the same thing last season, when Favre entered the campaign with 157 fumbles — and we would have been wrong, as Favre coughed up the ball just twice in 16 regular-season starts.
Records that could fall
1. Barry Sanders' record of consecutive games rushing for 100 yards or more (potential record breaker: Titans RB Chris Johnson) — Johnson rushed for 100 yards or more in the final 11 games of the '09 season and needs four more such performances to begin the '10 campaign to break Sanders' record, set in 1997. Johnson gets some favorable matchups early in the season, most notably the season opener vs. Oakland and a Week Four game vs. Denver; both clubs ranked among the bottom seven in the NFL at stopping the run last season. Whether Johnson can break the record may come down to whether he can break through against a stingy Pittsburgh run defense in Week Two — and whether the Titans will persist with the running game. In two career games vs. Pittsburgh, Johnson has 31 combined carries. However, he has shown he can test the Steelers' defense with his speed. He scored on a 21-yard TD against the Steelers in '08, and he had a 32-yard run at Heinz Field in the '09 season opener.
2. Rod Woodson's career interception-return yardage record (potential record breaker: Saints FS Darren Sharper) — Sharper, on the strength of setting the single-season record for interception-return yardage (376) in '09, is 72 yards short of overtaking the legendary Woodson for the career interception-return yardage standard. Sharper, who had offseason knee surgery, could be back for the Saints' regular-season opener vs. Minnesota, and considering how well he played in his first season in Gregg Williams' defense, the sight of him breaking Woodson's record on a long return wouldn't come as a surprise.
Records unlikely to fall
1. Woodson's record for interception returns for touchdowns in a career (potential record breaker: Sharper) — Sharper, who scored three touchdowns on interception returns last season, needs two to break Woodson's record. Certainly, Sharper's chances of breaking this record can't be completely discounted, but so much needs to go right for an interception to be taken to the house. Note that 52 of Sharper's 63 interceptions (82.5 percent) have not gone for touchdowns.
2. Peyton Manning's record for consecutive games throwing four touchdowns or more (potential record breaker: Bears QB Jay Cutler). — Cutler finished the '09 season by throwing four TD passes in back-to-back games vs. Minnesota and at Detroit. Sure, the odds of him besting Manning's record by racking up four more games with four TD passes or more are slim, but Cutler does have a favorable matchup to begin the season, drawing the Lions in Week One. And we're all eager to see how he fares in Mike Martz's offense.
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