NFL records are not made by accident, and Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger will need to be at their best all season long to avoid setting an unwanted record. Both quarterbacks are in their early thirties and have been in the league for over a decade. Counting from the start of the 2016 season onward, both Brady and Roethlisberger have played in 147 regular season games, and as the seasons go by both players get a little older and the wear and tear on their bodies increases. Thus, it is plausible to argue that both quarterbacks are in danger of setting an unwanted NFL record currently owned by Brett Favre.
With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, some NFL teams have been quietly making moves to improve their chances of not only making the playoffs, but of winning a division title.
Most sports fans have seen the video. They’ve seen the Patriots quarterback drop back and throw a pass into the end zone from a yard out. The receiver sprints for the ball, looks back, and realizes the ball is out of his hands. He goes down, and the play is dead. But that is not the end of this play. The receiver thrusts his body onto the turf as if he were trying to prevent himself from turning into a tomato, and then he lies there, waiting for help.
Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger have both established their fair share of NFL milestones over the years, but they’re also on the brink of breaking one that no quarterback likes to own: the most times sacked. The record is presently held by Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers, but it is expected to be broken very early in the 2021 NFL season.
Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger are about to shatter Brett Favre’s NFL record for most sacks.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images; Joe Sargent/Getty Images; Mitchell Layton/Getty Images | Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and Brett Favre (L-R) | Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images; Joe Sargent/Getty Images; Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
Favre played in 302 regular-season games with the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, and Minnesota Vikings during his 20-year NFL career, and was sacked 525 times, an average of 1.74 times per game.
Brady, who has been sacked 521 times in 301 regular-season games over his 21-year career with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is just behind him on the list, averaging 1.73 times per game.
Then there’s Roethlisberger, who is tied for third place on the list with Denver Broncos great and two-time Super Bowl champion John Elway. With the Pittsburgh Steelers, Big Ben has been sacked 516 times in 233 regular-season games, averaging 2.21 times per game.
While sacks for defensive players have only been recorded in the NFL since 1982, times sacked for quarterbacks have been recorded since 1963.
When the NFL playoffs are included in, Brady is already the all-time leader.
NFL statistics now only reflect numbers from regular-season games, as they do in other sports, which is why Favre retains the record.
Brady would already be the all-time leader if the postseason was included in, as he has been sacked a record 72 times in the playoffs, increasing his total to 593. But I’m guessing that doesn’t affect the seven-time Super Bowl champion in the least since having the postseason record just indicates he’s played in a lot of postseason games, which he clearly has because he also owns the mark for most playoff games played with 45.
Roethlisberger has been sacked 51 times in 22 playoff games, putting him in third place behind Brady and legendary Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach (62), for a total of 567 sacks. In 24 playoff appearances, Favre was sacked 36 times, increasing his total to 561.
TB12 will most certainly surpass Roethlisberger’s record and hold it until the conclusion of the 2021 season.
If last season is any indicator, Brady will most certainly surpass Roethlisberger’s record. In his first year with the Bucs, TB12 was sacked 21 times, whereas Big Ben was only sacked 13 times. While Roethlisberger’s lifetime average is greater than Brady’s, he’s changed his approach in recent years to keep his sack total down, as he’s gotten rid of the ball much faster than in the past.
Roethlisberger’s greatest single-season number of times sacked since being sacked 33 times in 2014 was 24 in 2018. Brady has been sacked 24 or more times in that time period three times: 38 times in 2015, 35 times in 2017, and 27 times in 2019. Big Ben has only been sacked 1.31 times a game over the previous six seasons, while Brady has been sacked 1.71 times per game, which is just around his career average.
So it’s safe to assume that Brady will not only beat Roethlisberger to Favre’s record, but will also hold the record at the end of the 2021 NFL season. However, it’s very unlikely that TB12 is concerned about this record, since it’s a tiny price to pay for playing at a high level for more than two decades.
Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
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