As the saying goes, records are meant to be broken. In the National Football League, that saying couldn’t be any more true. In fact, it seems like there is a record of some sort being broken every week during the regular season. And for players and coaches, holding an NFL record is an extremely prestigious honor that can put them on the fast track to landing a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
We decided to do a little digging into the NFL record book to come up with a list of records that are unlikely to be broken. Narrowing it down wasn’t easy, but we believe we found the 10 most unbreakable records in NFL history. Here’s a look at what we came up with.
1. Most career interceptions
Held by: Paul Krause
We see Krause’s record of 81 career interceptions standing the test of time. The next closest player in recent memory was Charles Woodson of the Oakland Raiders, who finished with 65 career interceptions. Woodson hung up his cleats at the end of 2015, and no current player is anywhere close to challenging this record.
2. Most sacks in a single game
Held by: Derrick Thomas
On November 11, 1990, Thomas terrorized the Seattle Seahawks by racking up an NFL single-game record seven sacks. Despite the amazing effort from the future Hall of Famer, the Chiefs ended up losing the game 17-16. Thomas was actually a hair away from finishing the game off with his eighth sack of the game. In an ironic turn of events, Seattle quarterback Dave Krieg slipped through Thomas’ fingers right before throwing the game-winning touchdown pass to Paul Skansi.
Nothing is impossible, but we don’t see this record falling anytime soon.
3. Most career receiving yards
Held by: Jerry Rice
4. Most career touchdown receptions
Held by: Jerry Rice
5. Most career receptions
Held by: Jerry Rice
The NFL’s career receiving record book practically belongs to Rice. He was so good for so long that his career records for receiving yards, touchdown receptions, and receptions are likely out of reach for any other receiver or tight end for the foreseeable future. The current career leaders in all three categories have little to no chance at catching Rice, and the young up-and-comers will have to play at a Pro Bowl level for at least the next 15 years to have a chance at catching Rice.
6. Most career rushing yards
Held by: Emmitt Smith
Running backs in today’s NFL simply don’t last long enough to seriously challenge this record. Smith played 15 years in the league, and ran for 1,000 or more yards in 11 of those seasons. To put things into perspective, the active leader in career rushing yards is Steven Jackson with 11,388 yards. Jackson is currently a free agent and may have played his last down of football in the NFL.
7. Most career regular season wins by a coach
Held by: Don Shula
Shula spent 33 years as an NFL head coach – 26 with the Miami Dolphins and seven with the Baltimore Colts. He led the Dolphins to two Super Bowl titles and the only perfect season in NFL history. Current NFL head coaches hold little to no job security, which means Shula’s record of 328 career regular season wins will likely never be broken.
8. Most career touchdown passes
Held by: Peyton Manning
Of all the records that made our list, this one is the most likely to be broken. Manning shattered this record during the 2014 season, and likely put it out of reach for any current NFL quarterback for at least two more years. The top contenders to break this award, Drew Brees and Tom Brady, are both approaching their 40th birthdays, and each of them would need two All-Pro caliber seasons to have a chance at topping Manning (Brees trails Manning by 74 touchdown passes, and Brady trails Manning 83 touchdowns).
9. Most interceptions in a single season
Held by: Dick “Night Train” Lane
Lane set this record in 1952 when the NFL still played a 12-game schedule, and we have a hard time seeing it ever face a serious challenge. The NFL now plays a 16-game schedule, and the last time a player recorded a season with double-digit interceptions was when Antonio Cromartie finished the 2007 season with 10 interceptions on the dot. This record is unbreakable.
10. Most consecutive starts by a quarterback
Held by: Brett Favre
Favre is to the NFL what Cal Ripkin Jr. is to Major League Baseball. His 297 consecutive starts would account for just over 18 full NFL seasons, which is far longer than the average length of an NFL career. It’s extremely uncommon for a quarterback – or any football player for that matter – to be able to last as long as Favre did without missing a start. Again, we strongly believe this record is unbreakable.
11. Most playoff wins by a starting quarterback
Held by: Tom Brady
If Tom Brady truly plays as long as he said he is planning to, he will completely re-write the NFL record book. Regardless of how long he plays, there will likely never be another quarterback who eclipses the four-time Super Bowl champion’s postseason win total — even if retired today. And we fully expect him to put this record further out of reach over the next couple of seasons.