For most of us, hitting 13 major league home runs would be a pretty big deal -- a calling card, perhaps, for the rest of our lives. For Tommy Aaron, those 13 home runs are a footnote. His total is both overshadowed by the 755 hit by his brother Henry and somewhat of a punch line in the trivia question asking which set of brothers have combined for the most homers in MLB history.
Sports and their associated records, then, might be American. But they often are not democratic. We were reminded of that upon learning Tuesday that the 32 NFL teams combined for 7,842 yards passing in Week 1 of the 2011 season, a record according to the Twitter feed of NFL stats guru Jon Zimmer (@NFLhistory).
There were plenty of middle-ground contributors to that record. At the extremes, though, we find Tom Brady and Donovan McNabb.
Brady, of course, threw for 517 yards Monday night -- including 99 yards and a TD late to Wes Welker on a play that could break up some fantasy football friendships. McNabb, as you well know, debuted for the Vikings with 39 yards through the air.
Brady accounted for 6.6 percent of the 7,842 passing yards. McNabb contributed 0.49 percent. The average NFL team had 245 yards passing. That means that if you take the average of the totals from Brady and McNabb, it is above average (278 yards). Also, if you take the average of Brady (517) and Brad Childress (0), or Brady and your best friend (0), it is still above the 245 threshold.
Thankfully, the Vikings were able to contribute in a more meaningful way to a different record. The eight combined kick returns for touchdowns (five punts, three kickoffs) were also the most in any week in NFL history, according to Zimmer. Percy Harvin had one of those on the first play of the Vikings season.
Sadly, it was his only return of the game. Lorenzo Booker was sent back for other potential returns, and San Diego squib-kicked another time Harvin was back.
The squib went to Everson Griffen, who returned it 7 yards -- 5 more than McNabb threw for in the second half of a performance that helped the NFL set a collective record for passing prowess.