Yesterday the Denver Broncos wrapped up what will go down as one of (if not the greatest) offensive seasons in NFL. The team scored more points than any other in a single NFL season (606), and quarterback Peyton Manning broke both the single season touchdown record (55, easily besting Tom Brady’s 50 from 2007) and the single season passing yards record (5,477).
Except that, upon further review, Manning didn’t actually break the passing yards record, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the NFL did the awkward but factually correct thing and take away seven yards from Manning’s total (he beat the record, held by Drew Brees, by a single yard).
Check out this first quarter “throw” to Eric Decker, which went for a seven yard gain (original video via u/yubanhammer):
This pass was clearly thrown backwards, which makes it a lateral, not a pass, which makes this a rushing attempt, not a pass completion. As many fantasy football players know, the NFL loves going back and changing the designation of an offensive play. This should be a 7 yard run by Decker, and thus Manning actually had 5,470 yards this year.
Is this the “right” thing to do? By the book, yes.
Would the Broncos have kept Manning in a few extra plays to break the record, had they known he was still a few yards short? We’ll never know, but probably.
Does this mean that Manning got screwed out of the record books? Probably.
Will the NFL actually do this, even though it would be really awkward considering we’ve already started celebrating Manning’s achievement? We’ll have to see… but probably. Unless they enjoy milking Manning’s star power and comeback story and celebrity for all that it’s worth, but we haven’t seen much of that kind of thing this season.