Another great season!

Another great season!

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The Mission of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to professional football; to preserve professional football's historic documents and artifacts; to educate the public regarding the origin, development and growth of professional football as an important part of American culture; and to promote the positive values of the sport.

That mission would be a whole lot harder to achieve if it weren't for the National Football League and its tradition of providing so many great moments every season. Here's a look back at the NFL's 91st season of play that took place in 2010. As is the case each and every year history-making moments occurred week-in and week-out.

NBC makes TV history

The season began in Canton with the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival. Record attendance and television ratings surrounded the enshrinement of the Class of 2010 – Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Dick LeBeau, Floyd Little, John Randle, Jerry Rice, and Emmitt Smith. The next day, the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys kicked off the preseason in the NFL/Hall of Fame Game. It marked just the sixth time that the preseason classic featured two playoff teams. Apparently, that was a big attraction to the national television audience as NBC's Sunday Night Football broadcast of the game from Fawcett Stadium was the highest rated NFL preseason game since 2004.

It was a good omen for NBC. The 2010 NFL season was record-breaking for the network's Sunday Night Football. The weekly broadcast finished the season as No. 1 in primetime. That's not just number one among sports broadcasts but number one overall which marked the first time on record since the advent of people meters in 1987 that a sports series was the most-watched show from the start of the primetime TV season to the end of the NFL's regular season. Sunday Night Football also defeated its nightly competition every week of the season according to information provided by The Nielsen Company.

Visitors to the Hall of Fame can now see a display with multiple items from Sunday Night Football in honor of this television accomplishment. Included among the mementos that NBC donated to the Hall of Fame are mic flags, a notebook used by on-air talent, the ear piece worn by Jerome Bettis during the broadcast's studio show and Faith Hill's dress from her singing of the show's intro song (right).

Light up the scoreboard

This past year marked the most total points ever scored in the NFL. A record 11,283 points were scored that included 1,270 total touchdowns which tied the league-wide record for most TDs set in the 2002 season. The average of 44.07 points per game was the highest average in 45 seasons when the NFL put up 46.12 points per game in 1965.

The Raiders set a franchise record for most points scored in a game during their 59-14 blowout of the rival Broncos in Week 7. Leading the way was running back Darren McFadden who rushed for 165 yards on 16 carries and 3 TDs (4, 4, 57). He had a fourth TD on the day that came on a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jason Campbell.

Off and running

You have to go back to the NFL's first season to find the last player to do what the Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best did to start the '10 season. Best scored the Lions first five touchdowns to start the year. The last player to accomplish such a feat was Dutch Sternaman (left) who did so for the Decatur Staleys (who became the Chicago Bears) in the league's inaugural season, 1920.

The Houston Texans' Arian Foster also started the season with a bang. He rushed for the second highest total ever on Kickoff Weekend when he gained a franchise record 231 yards. He also became the first player in NFL history ever to rush for 200 yards and score three touchdowns in the season's first week. His jersey he wore in the game was sent to the Hall of Fame (right).

The Bears' Matt Forté used his hands to rack up 151 yards receiving on seven catches against the Colts on Kickoff Weekend. The only running back in Bears history to have more receiving yardage in a game is Hall of Famer George McAfee who had 157 yards against the Chicago Cardinals in 1947. Forté's great start put him on track to 1,616 yards from scrimmage in 2010 to become the first player in the storied history of the Bears franchise to amass 1,400 scrimmage yards in each of his first three pro seasons.

The Browns' Peyton Hillis had a game to remember in Cleveland's Week 12 victory over the Panthers on Nov. 28. 2010. He rushed for 131 yards and scored 3 TDs while also racking up 63 yards receiving as the Browns beat Carolina, 24-23. Hillis joined Class of 2011 enshrinee Marshall Faulk as the only players ever to have at least 130 yards rushing, three rushing touchdowns, six receptions, and 60 or more receiving yards in a single game. Faulk was the first to do it when he rushed for 134 yards and 3 TDs and caught 7 passes for 65 yards in the Rams' 41-24 win over the 49ers on Sept. 17, 2000.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame's collection already included several pieces from running back LaDainian Tomlinson. He sent another jersey (left) to Canton during the 2010 season. LT's jersey from the Jets game against the Packers on Oct. 31, 2010 is now on display at the Hall of Fame. That day he joined Walter Payton as the only players in NFL history with 13,000 career rushing yards and 4,000 receiving yards.

There's no "I" in team

There is an "I" in Indianapolis who was one of several teams who reached impressive milestones in 2010. The Colts made the playoffs for the ninth straight season. In doing so, they matched the Dallas Cowboys for the longest run of postseason appearances in league history. Dallas went to the playoffs every year from 1975 to 1983.

Some of the league's oldest franchises reached milestone numbers in all-time wins during this past season. The Chicago Bears became the first NFL franchise to amass 700 regular-season victories. Dallas joined the Pittsburgh Steelers as the only teams with 400 wins (regular season and playoffs) since the 1970 merger. The Detroit Lions, who were born as the Portsmouth (OH) Spartans, registered their 500th career victory during the '10 season.

The 2010 NFL season also matched a league-high of most teams with 10 or more victories in the same season. A total of 13 clubs had 10 or more notches in the win column. They included the Patriots, Falcons, Ravens, Steelers, Bears, Saints, Jets, Packers, Colts, Chiefs, Giants, Eagles, and Buccaneers. The only other time this has occurred was in 2003 and 2005.

Kudos is in order for the Kansas City Chiefs due to their turnaround from last place in the AFC West in '09 to the division title in 2010. Yet, the "worst-to-first" scenario is not at all uncommon as the Chiefs feat marked the eight straight season since the NFL realigned that the league has witnessed that type of turnaround.

Team (Division) Division Title Finished Last
Kansas City Chiefs (AFC West) 2010 (10-6-0) 2009 (4-12-0)
New Orleans Saints (NFC South) 2009 (13-3-0) 2008 (8-8-0)
Miami Dolphins (AFC East) 2008 (11-5-0) 2007 (1-15-0)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFC South) 2007 (9-7-0) 2006 (4-12-0)
Philadelphia Eagles (NFC East) 2006 (10-6-0) 2005 (6-10-0)
New Orleans Saints (NFC South) 2006 (10-6-0) 2005 (3-13-0)
Chicago Bears (NFC North) 2005 (11-5-0) 2004 (5-11-0)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFC South) 2005 (11-5-0) 2004 (5-11-0)
San Diego Chargers (AFC West) 2004 (12-4-0) 2003 (4-12-0)
Atlanta Falcons (AFC South) 2004 (11-5-0) 2003 (5-11-0)
Kansas City Chiefs (AFC West) 2003 (13-3-0) 2002 (8-8-0)
Carolina Panthers (NFC South) 2003 (11-5-0) 2002 (7-9-0)


The Falcons, for the first time in their franchise history that began in 1966, strung together three straight winning seasons. Atlanta posted the best record in the NFC in 2010 with a 13-3 mark.

The Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick led his team to a 14-2-0 record in 2010. He became the first coach in NFL history ever to amass 14-win seasons four separate times. Belichick guided New England to a 16-0 record in 2007 and back-to-back 14-2 seasons in 2003-04.

So much for three yards and a cloud of dust!

Just one Super Bowl record was set during the Green Bay Packers' 31-25 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. That was for the fewest total rushing attempts between both teams in one game. The teams combined for a total of 36 rushing attempts. That should come as no surprise as the 2010 season featured a number of personal passing milestones that resulted in an all-time high of 751 TD throws taking place this season.

Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers led the NFL in passing yardage this past season when he threw for a league-high 4,710 yards. His total included a new Chargers single-game high of 455 yards in San Diego's Week 3 matchup against the Seahawks. Rivers eclipsed by 11 yards the record set by Hall of Famer Dan Fouts who threw for 444 yards in a game twice in his career.

Rivers was one of a record 22 NFL quarterbacks who threw for 3,000 yards in 2010. Leading the group were Rivers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Matt Schaub, and Eli Manning all of whom reached the 4,000-yard mark. List of all-time 4,000-yard passers>>>

Manning and Brees were among the busiest passers. Manning set the single-season mark with 450 completions with Brees just behind him at 448 attempts, second most ever. The Saints QB is the only player ever to complete 400 or more passes in multiple seasons. The 2010 season marked the fourth time he's done so. Manning threw for a career-high 4,700 yards and joined Hall of Famers Dan Fouts (1980-81) and Warren Moon (1990-91) as the only QBs to record back-to-back 4,500-yard passing seasons.

The NFL's first overall pick in 2010 made a nice adjustment to the pro game. Rams QB Sam Bradford set a number of rookie passing marks including most completions (354) and attempts (590). He also strung together a record streak of 169 passes without an interception which is the best ever by a first-year quarterback. The jersey he wore in the season finale was sent to Canton. Read story>>>

Tom Brady of the Patriots knows a bit about throwing passes but not interceptions. He did not get picked off once in the final 11 games of the season and finished the year with a record streak of 335 straight pass attempts without an interception still intact. His string of attempts without interceptions broke the mark held by the Browns Bernie Kosar who went 308 passes between picks in 1990-91.

The Vikings' Brett Favre continued to add to his astonishing career numbers and became the first player in NFL history with 500 TD passes and the first quarterback to reach 70,000 passing yards (ball on left is one he threw to Percy Harvin on Oct. 11, 2010 to go over the 70k mark). His NFL-record streak of consecutive starts came to a halt in Week 14. Prior to that game, Favre had started 297 straight games, a streak that began on Sept. 27, 1992. (Right: the de-activation sheet for the game that notes Favre as a scratch.)

Favre threw for a career-high 446 yards in the Vikings' thrilling 27-24 win over the Cardinals in Week 9. It was his first 400-yard effort since Dec. 5, 1993 in a game against the Bears. Interestingly it marked the longest span ever between 400-yard passing performances: 16 years, 337 days.

Throw it to me!

The Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald passed former teammate Anquan Boldin to become the team's all-time receptions leader. He finished the season with an all-time high 613 career catches. Fitzgerald also became the first player in club history to register four straight 1,000-yard seasons.

Meanwhile, Boldin didn't miss a beat after his trade to the Ravens. He made history in Baltimore's 24-17 win over the Browns on Sept. 26 when he hauled in 8 catches for 142 yards and 3 TDs. His reception total put him over the 600-mark for his career. In doing so, he became the fastest player to 600 receptions having reached the milestone in just 98 games. His jersey from the game was sent to Canton days after the game (left).


Roddy White led all receivers in 2010 with 115 catches. He is the first Falcon ever to lead the NFL in catches. His total established a new franchise mark surpassing the 111 receptions made by Terance Mathis in 1994.

White's teammate Tony Gonzalez also had a productive season in 2010 with 70 receptions. In doing so, he became the first tighte end and the seventh player in NFL historyto reach 1,000 career receptions. (See career receiving leaders>>>). He is also the only player ever to record at least 60 catches in 12 consecutive seasons and the first tight end to total 12,000 career receiving yards.

Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys led all tight ends with 94 catches as he became the fourth player at that position with 600 career receptions. No tight end in history reached the 600-catch mark in fewer games than Witten who needed 125 games to reach the career milestone mark. Witten's jersey and the ball he caught for his 600th reception on Dec. 19, 2010 were donated to the Hall of Fame (right).

The Texans' Andre Johnson became the first player in NFL history to string together at least 60 receptions in each of his first eight seasons in the NFL. He had 86 catches for Houston this past season.

Two veteran wideouts joined an elite group of players who have 150 career touchdowns. Randy Moss and Terrell Owens became the fourth and fifth players to reach the milestone. Owens now has 156 career TDs and Moss finished the year with 154 career scores. The only other players to eclipse the 150 mark include Jerry Rice (208), Emmitt Smith(175) and LaDainian Tomlinson (159).

Catching touchdown passes isn't only for players on offense! Veteran linebacker Mike Vrabel of the Kansas City Chiefs became the only player since the NFL began keeping official statistics in the early 1930s to have at least 10 career receptions with all of them for touchdowns. His latest score came on a 2-yard pass from QB Matt Cassel in the Chiefs' game against the Texans in Week 6. Here are Vrabel's high-impact catches.

Date Opponent Distance
Oct. 17, 2010* Texans 2
Oct. 11, 2009* Cowboys 1
Oct. 28, 2007 Redskins 2
Oct. 1, 2007 Bengals 1
Dec. 26, 2005 Jets 1, 2
Nov. 20, 2005 Saints 1
Jan. 2, 2005 49ers 1
Nov. 17, 2004 Rams 2
Sept. 29, 2002 Chargers 1
*As member of the Chiefs. All other TD catches came with the Patriots.


It takes two

The Colts' tandem of quarterback Peyton Manning and center Jeff Saturday wore these jerseys on Nov. 1. That day, the teammates achieved a relatively unknown NFL record for longevity when they surpassed the total number of games played together as quarterback and center. The string was previously set by the Vikings Fran Tarkenton and Mick Tingelhoff. Manning and Saturday have played together in 170 games.

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have enjoyed 111 wins together which put them second-most for a head coach-quarterback pairing. The only coach-QB tandem with more victories was the Dolphins' Hall of Fame duo of Don Shula and Dan Marino who were together for 116 regular season wins.

The Chiefs pairing of running back Jamaal Charles and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe both had big days in the Chiefs' 42-24 win over the Seahawks in Week 12. Charles had 173 yards rushing on 22 carries and scored 1 TD while Bowe hauled in a career-high 13 catches (for the second time in three weeks as he had 13 receptions for 186 yards against the Broncos two weeks earlier) for 170 yards and 3 TDs. The game marked the first time ever in regular season that teammates reached the 170-yard mark in both rushing and receiving. The only other time this feat had been done was in Super Bowl XXII when Timmy Smith rushed for 204 yards and Ricky Sanders had 193 yards in the Redskins win.

Can I return this?

Despite the added responsibility of playing receiver, the Bears Devin Hester continues to excel as a lethal punt return man. He averaged 17.1 yards per return in 2010 that set a new NFL single-season record for punt return average with a minimum of 30 returns. He also ran three of them back for scores and now had 14 combined punt-kick returns for touchdowns in his career. That's one more than the previous record holder, Brian Mitchell, who had owned the record with 13. Hester's scores came on Sept. 27 at home against Green Bay on a 62-yarder, vs. Seattle on Oct. 17 when he ran a punt back 89 yards; and a 64-yard return for six points against the Vikings in Minnesota on Dec. 20.

That's mine

Maybe he doesn't handle the football as much as his identical twin (Tiki Barber of the Giants) did during his NFL career but the Bucs Ronde Barber gets ahold of the pigskin on a fairly regular basis. He picked off his 40th pass of his career in the fourth quarter of Tampa Bay's shutout of the San Francisco 49ers in Week 11. That play made him the first player ever to amass 40 interceptions and at least 25 sacks in a career. His jersey and gloves from the milestone game (right).

Speaking of interceptions, De Angelo Hall of the Redskins had a memorable day against the Bears at Soldier Field on Oct. 24. He became the 19th player in NFL history and the third member of the Redskins to have four interceptions in the same game. The first player ever to have a four-pick game was Washington's Sammy Baugh. Baugh's big day & list of players with four interceptions in one game>>>

For good measure, Hall picked off another pass the following week to become the first player since the Chiefs Albert Lewis in 1985 to record five interceptions over a two-game span.

Ravens' Ray Lewis became the only player to register at least 35 sacks and 30 interceptions since the sack became an official NFL statistic in 1982. Lewis is the seventh linebacker in league annals to have at least 30 career picks. Three linebackers enshrined in Canton have 30 or more career interceptions. They include Nick Buoniconti and Jack Ham with 32 each and Sam Huff who had 30.

Three players have returned at least 10 interceptions for touchdowns during their career. Two share the same surname. The NFL's all-time leader is Rod Woodson with 12, followed by Darren Sharper with 11, and now the Packers Charles Woodson. He picked off the Lions' Shaun Hill on the opening drive of the second half and raced 48 yards for what proved to be the winning score in a 28-26 win at Lambeau Field in Week 4. The return also made Woodson the only player with an interception return for a score in five straight seasons. Here are all of his career pick-sixes>>>

Now, it's your turn!

Add your comment and share what you think was the most memorable moment of the 2010 NFL Season.

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