I was there today when Adrian Peterson broke the NFL single game rushing record. Section 125, row 25, endzone corner. He ran right to us on his third TD. I got to see that little high-step that’s about to get very famous up close, and I got to see that incredible corner-turning ability at the perfect angle. Just your average day of watching a legend unfold in front of you.
There are two highlight videos you should watch, both located at the NFL.com website. The first is called Week 9: Adrian Peterson Highlights. Watch how he delivers contact while moving forward. Watch how, on his second TD run, he explodes away from guys as he bursts downfield. It’s the same gear he showed in the kickoff return against Chicago when he blasted up the middle like he was shot out of a canon. Maybe it’s just the way he runs, his gait, or whatever, but it just seems like for a split second he’s in fast motion. He’s just gone. To be honest I couldn’t see that as much from my vantage point at the game, but in the highlight package it really stands out. And I’m not the only one spooked by Adrian Peterson’s arrival, as left tackle Bryant McKinnie says a future with Adrian Peterson in it is “very scary“.
His best play isn’t even a touchdown. Watch at the 2:25 point of the video, where Peterson makes an outrageous cut in the backfield. You can hear Pete Bercich, the Vikings radio color guy gasp in astonishment as it happens.
It’s really nuts that this happened, that I saw not one but two significant NFL records take place today. I’ve been to four NFL games in my life, including today. Two Chiefs games in Arrowhead in the mid-1980’s, a Packer game in Lambeau a couple years ago (which I wrote about here; I can’t guarantee a reasonable return on investment if you go beyond the photos), and today’s Vikings game.
Yes, that’s right, first Viking game ever. Lucky me, I guess. But I should have known today was charmed.
When I go to NFL games, big things happen. The first game I saw the Tamba Bay Bucs set an NFL record for passing attempts. OK, I admit, not a very big deal. Still, an NFL record in my first game, not bad. Who wouldn’t want to see Steve DeBerg (while still a Buc) throw 60 times in a game?
Second game was nuts. Chiefs vs. Chargers, 1986 or so. Lionel “Little Train” James set the NFL record for combined yardage in a season. Cool NFL record, right? It was barely an afterthought compared to watching Stephone Paige set an NFL record for receiving yardage in a game, with 308. He caught like 5 50 yard bombs, three TD’s I think. That record has since been broken by Willie “Flipper” Anderson of the Rams, but still, I saw a significant NFL record. And, just to pile on, the Chiefs set an NFL record by having two different QB’s throw for over 250 yards in a game. I can’t remember whether Bill Kenney or Todd Blackledge started, but they both picked the same day to have their best game of the year.
So hot damn!, three NFL records in one game, and four in two. I had big expectations when I saw the Packers and Chiefs in Lambeau in 2003, because an NFL record was all tee’d up. Dante Hall had been on a special teams tear, returning many punts and kickoffs in spectacular fashion. If he were to return a kickoff for a touchdown in the game, it would be a new NFL record. Hall came within an ankle of breaking that record, a play I had a great end zone view of. No records were set that day, but it was a gorgeous fall day in a legendary place, and a damn good football game ended up breaking out.
So that’s not strictly a continuation of the record streak, but it allows me to think that when I go to a game something special is going to happen. To add fuel that fire I’ve only been to one Gophers game, a combined 1,100 yard explosion between Minnesota and a very good Ohio State team. I saw what Laurence Maroney is all about. Again, no records, but an amazing game that had everybody talking about a wild one, and an extremely entertaining game.
Given all that history, I’m going into a game featuring LaDainian Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson. Three months ago, when I learned I’d be going to this game, me and the other guys I went with were talking about how cool it would be to see LaDainian Tomlinson. The Bears game changed all of that, and it became a clear narrative of Now vs. Future.
Now never got going, and as you can see from the video, Adrian Peterson did. So, I see the NFL rushing record. I see Adrian Peterson take that mantel from Jamal Lewis, who took it from Corey Dillon, who took it from Walter Payton, who took it from OJ, and so on. That makes me a member of what I have to believe is a very small club, which is people who have seen both the NFL single game rushing and receiving yardage records broken in person. Very small club.
And for good measure, just as an afterthought (though it seemed extremely significant at the time) I also saw the longest play in NFL history, on the NFL.com video page under “Can’t Miss Play: Antonio Cromartie FG return”. Longest play ever, 109 yards. It’s not possible for a play to be 110 yards, so it’s a record that will never be broken. But I didn’t see the record get tied; the previous record was 108. I saw the record get broken. It’s only an important distinction if you are keeping track, which I obviously am doing.
All I’m saying is, if you have any tickets for a game, and you want to see something significant happen that day, give me a call. It seems like I should probably go for the triple crown and witness the NFL’s single game passing yardage record. I just feels like that needs to happen.
Adrian Peterson is gonna be a lot of fun to watch.