On the final day of the NFL's 2011 regular season, I spent a portion of my Sunday watching a rather meaningless Saints-Panthers game. The outcome would have no playoff implications, so the only wisp of drama involved the record books. Namely:
- How many passing yards would Saints quarterback Drew Brees add to his record-setting total? (He had 389, finishing with a single-season mark of 5,476.)
- Would New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham set a single-season record for receiving yards at his position? (He did, albeit briefly. Graham finished with 1,310 yards, but minutes later, more than 1,000 miles away, New England tight end Rob Gronkowski hauled in a 28-yard pass in the closing moments of the Patriots' game against the Bills to finish with 1,327 yards.)
- Would the Saints' Darren Sproles amass the most all-purpose yards in a season?
Early in the fourth quarter, Sproles' season total stood at 2,688 all-purpose yards. With less than 10 minutes to play, he took a handoff from backup quarterback Chase Daniel and rushed for 8 yards, eclipsing the old mark of 2,690, set by Derrick Mason in 2000. At that moment, Sproles — and his 2,696 all-purpose yards — headed to the sideline. His day was done. Mission accomplished.