Seventeen games are just great. Fantastic. The more Eagles football, the better. Bring on the road game and the New York Jets in 2021! And, for this moment, let's consider what it means to play a 17th game as it pertains to the franchise record book. The NFL moved to 16 games from 14 games way back in 1978, and when you look through the Eagles' record book, well, there just isn't much from the 14-game era.
How much, then, will a 17th game alter the team's single-season records? In the course of time, significantly is the answer. Here is a look at some of the single-season records and how "threatened" they are with the added game …
Carson Wentz holds the team's single-season mark with 4,039 yards, a number that has been routinely topped in the modern era – 12 quarterbacks passed for more yards in 2020. This one is in definite jeopardy, as is Wentz's franchise mark of 33 touchdown passes and 388 completions in a single season. Interestingly, Wentz broke the previous touchdown record of 32, set by Sonny Jurgensen in 1961. This is a pass-happy league. Single-season marks will fall quickly. Safe for the near future, at least, are Donovan McNabb's career marks of 32,873 yards and 216 passing touchdowns. The best quarterback in Eagles history? It's hard not to say McNabb, whose jersey No. 5 hangs in the rafters at Lincoln Financial Field.
This is another category very much subject to change.
LeSean McCoy holds the team's single-season record of 1,607 ground yards, so a running back needs to average 94.6 yards per game to pass that total. What number could be safe is McCoy's rushing touchdown total of 17, set in 2011. Scoring a touchdown a game? Only 23 times have backs scored more than 17 touchdowns in a season in the history of the NFL, led by LaDainian Tomlinson's 28, set in 2006. Given the length of the season and the way teams use running backs these days – the committee approach is preferred, clearly – McCoy's franchise records may stand the test of time.
Steve Van Buren, by the way, scored a rushing touchdown in eight straight games in 1947, a mark that continues to lead the franchise and that one is going to be difficult to top, as it has been 73 years later. Van Buren was remarkable, by the way. Way before our time, yes, but he's an all-time NFL great. He scored 18 touchdowns in only 10 games in the 1945 campaign. McCoy, who scored a touchdown in nine straight games in that magical 2011 season, also holds the Eagles mark with 20 total touchdowns scored that season. McCoy's 2,146 yards from scrimmage – 134.1 yards per game – could hold for some time, again because of the durability question and the way skill-position players might be used moving forward. Is every player going to suit up for 17 games, or will coaches opt to rest some players from time to time to keep them fresh for later in the season?
Tight end Zach Ertz shattered the franchise record with 116 receptions in 2018, far eclipsing the previous mark of 90 set by former running back Brian Westbrook in 2007. You would think that at some point wide receiver Irving Fryar's team mark for most single-season catches by a wideout of 88 set in 1996 would have been eclipsed by now, but no. With a 17th game? That is very possible. One of the longest-standing records here is Mike Quick's 1,409 yards from the 1983 season (DeSean Jackson came close in 2014 with 1,332 and Jeremy Maclin gained 1,308 the next season).
How about most touchdown catches in a season? Terrell Owens had 14 of 'em in 2004 – oh, what a year! – and compiled that number in only 14 games. We shall see here. Records are made to be broken and the way the passing game has exploded in the NFL and with the added game … would it surprise anyone to see these numbers shattered in the years to come?
The Greatest Eagle of All Time, Reggie White, recorded 21 quarterback sacks in the strike-shortened 1987 season. Incredible. Only 11 times has the 20-sack mark been reached. New York's Michael Strahan holds the record with 22.5 quarterback sacks in a season in the NFL, and in terms of the Eagles, White could hold on to that mark for some time. Quarterbacks get rid of the ball faster now. The three-step-drop game is the new normal. Offensive lines get away with more holding. Sacks are hard to come by, which is why quarterback pressures and hits are used as more of a statistical prop for players. White may hold this record for many years, no matter how many games the NFL eventually adds to the schedule.
Here is where the 14-game schedule holds strong in Eagles history! Safety Bill Bradley recorded 11 interceptions in 1971 for a 6-7-1 Eagles team. Nobody has really come super, super close to that mark. Asante Samuel had nine in 2009 and Bradley himself had nine in 1972, amazingly. Eric Allen had eight in 1989 and Terry Hoage had eight interceptions in 1988. So, maybe Bradley's mark will hang in there for a long, long time. Then again, Miami's Xavien Howard led the NFL with 10 interceptions last season, so you never know.
It is very difficult to quantify, given the changing nature of special teams with fewer kickoff returns and fewer punt returns. The coverage is great in the NFL. So, maybe you would focus on points scored. Placekicker Cody Parkey set a franchise mark in 2014 with 150 points scored. Breakable? Absolutely. He kicked 32 field goals and 54 PATs that season.
This is one that we hope is broken in 2021: The Eagles have twice – in 2004 and in 2017 – won 13 games in a single season. Both times they advanced to the Super Bowl – losing to New England the first time and beating the Patriots on February 4, 2018 in Super Bowl LII. A 14-3 record sounds pretty, pretty, pretty good for the Eagles here, so why not? With a new season and an extra game, dreams abound for every player and every team in the NFL. Let's have some fun this year – more Eagles football, more wins, more everything!