LAKE FOREST – You know what they say: Records were made to be vinyl.
The 2013 NFL Record and Fact Book arrived Wednesday to Halas Hall, and I grabbed one as if it were free food in the break room. Because – this might come as a shock to many who think I am a leading expert on all things cool – I actually am a nerd. A gigantic nerd.
So I cracked open the 688-page book and flipped to the Bears section starting on page 155.
It turns out that more than a few Bears can set franchise records with productive seasons. So, hey, be a nerd like me and take a look at 10 records the Bears could equal or break.
• Most wins by a first-year coach
Record: 10 (George Halas, 1920)
Marc Trestman could win more games than Papa Bear in Year 1 if his starters stay healthy. To be fair, Halas won 10 out of 13 games (10-1-2), while Trestman will get 16 chances.
• Most career passing yards
Record: 14,686 (Sid Luckman)
Jay Cutler is 2,394 passing yards shy of Luckman’s franchise record. An injury is all that can prevent Cutler from becoming the franchise’s most productive quarterback since the 1940s.
• Most rushing yards by someone not named Walter Payton
Record: 6,166 (Neal Anderson)
There is no way, no how, that Matt Forte will top Payton’s franchise record of 16,726 rushing yards. But Forte needs 840 rushing yards to move past Anderson for the No. 2 spot.
• Most 1,000-yard seasons as a receiver
Record: 2 (Marty Booker, Curtis Conway, Harlon Hill)
Brandon Marshall shattered the Bears’ single-season receiving records last year with 118 catches for 1,508 yards. Another impressive season will put Marshall in a four-way tie for the most 1,000-yard seasons as a Bear.
• Most team points in a single season
Record: 456 (1985)
Maybe this is aggressive, but the Bears have an offensive-minded head coach and a versatile offense for the first time in ages. To set this mark, the Bears will have to average 28.5 points a game.
• Most career interceptions
Record: 38 (Gary Fencik)
Charles Tillman enters the season with 33 interceptions, putting him five shy of Fencik’s record. Five interceptions is a lot to ask, but Tillman has hit that mark three times in his career.
• Most kickoff return yards
Record: 4,596 (Glyn Milburn)
Devin Hester will attract national headlines this season for pursuing the NFL’s all-time combined return touchdown record (19), but he also can pass Milburn’s yardage record with 528 kickoff return yards.
• Most career field goals from 50-plus yards
Record: 16 (Kevin Butler)
Robbie Gould is tied with Paul Edinger for second place on the franchise list with 13 field goals from 50 yards or longer. Gould can surpass Butler with four 50-yarders this season.
• Most games played in a Bears uniform
Record: 231 (Patrick Mannelly)
Every time Mannelly suits up for a game this season, he will break his own record for longevity on the lakefront. Not bad for a sixth-round draft pick from 1998.
• Coldest game at Soldier Field
Record: 2 degrees (Dec. 22, 2008, vs. Green Bay)
Nothing beats September. Football is in the air, and we can keep our windows open at night. But cold weather is a-coming, and the Bears decided to hire a head coach from the Canadian Football League. Just saying.