Do you know what a "perfect game" for a quarterback is in the NFL? What the single-season sack record is? I will explain as I close out my previews of the 2014 NFL season with a look at some very clever player props (yes-only).
No sport is as statistically driven when it comes to records than Major League Baseball. You can probably off the top of your head list the single-season and career home run records. Who the all-time hit king is and how many he had. What's the record for most strikeouts in one game? The last .400 hitter? I could go on and on.
The NFL tries to get people involved in similar numbers but it's simply not the same. That said, there are some interesting numbers out there. Let's break down a few props available in the NFL odds markets.
Will any Quarterback Post a Perfect Passer Rating in Any Game: +120
While ESPN has come up with its own quarterback rating system, the official rating system lists 158.3 as perfection for a QB. Why that number? No idea. These four statistics are considered for a QB rating: completion percentage, touchdown percentage, Interception percentage and yards per attempt. A player has a perfect game if he completes (at least) 77.5 percent of his passes, completes 11.875 percent of his passes for touchdowns, throws no interceptions, and averages 12.5 yards per attempt. Could you get more arbitrary? This rating was developed in 1971.
According to Pro Football Reference, there have been 43 perfect games dating back to 1960 and obviously retroactively including statistics on QBs who played before 1971. Peyton Manning has had four of them, last on Jan. 4, 2004, against the Broncos while a member of the Indianapolis Colts. In last year's opener against Baltimore, Manning was 27 of 42 for 462 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions. Yet that wasn't a perfect game (rating was 141.1). Excuse me?
Two guys had perfect games in 2013: Philadelphia's Nick Foles on Nov. 3 against Oakland (22-for-28, 406 yards, seven TDs) and Kansas City's Alex Smith on Dec. 15, also against Oakland (17-for-20, 287 yards, five TDs). There have been four such perfect games since the 2010 season overall.
Free NFL Pick: Take the 'Yes' as nour NFL pick on this prop
Will Any Quarterback Throw For At Least 500 Yards in a Game: +200
I was a tad surprised to find that a QB has thrown for at least 500 15 times. There are some of the best in history on that list and then you have the likes of Matt Schaub (2012), Vince Ferragamo (1982) and Elvis Grbac (2000). As terrific as Manning has been, he has never done it (high of 472). The only active guys other than Schaub to do so are Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Tony Romo and Ben Roethlisberger.
Romo's came last year when he had 506 in a shootout loss to Manning's Broncos. No QB has ever done it twice. Schaub and Eli Manning had theirs in 2012. Stafford and Brady in the 2011 season. Thus at least one guy has done it three straight years.
Free NFL Pick: Yes.
Will Any Player Have a 99-Yard Pass Play: +1200
Obviously they can't get any longer than this. It has happened just 13 times in NFL history since the league started recording such things. It hasn't since 2011 when Tom Brady and Wes Welker hooked up for the Patriots and Eli Manning and Victor Cruz for the Giants. That was the first year ever there were two. By comparison, there have been 23 perfect games in MLB.
Free NFL Pick: If you have spare money lying around, sure, but can't recommend it.
Will Any Player Break the NFL Sacks Record of 22.5: +2800
This record is tainted as new Hall of Famer Michael Strahan of the Giants got the mark at the end of the 2001 season when Green Bay QB Brett Favre took a dive in the finale. Yes, the two were friends. According to a New York Times recap, the Packers were comfortably ahead late in the game and: "Packers coach Mike Sherman called for a running play to Ahman Green. Favre changed it, without telling his offensive line, to something called a key play, meaning Favre was to fake a handoff to a back and then run the opposite way, in this instance, toward Strahan's left defensive end spot. Since the linemen thought Favre was handing off, they did not pass protect, and Strahan was free. He steamrolled right into Favre for a 7-yard sack."
Jared Allen nearly broke the record in 2011 with the Vikings, finishing with 22 along with the former record-holder, the Jets' Mark Gastineau. Houston's J.J. Watt, in his 2012 Defensive Player of the Year Award season, had 20.5. Last year's leader was the Colts' Robert Mathis with 19.5.
Free NFL Pick: No. The record safe for another season.