Quinn: Give McCaffrey A Crack At Single-Season Record

Christian McCaffrey needs 389 yards to break Chris Johnson's single-season record for most yards from scrimmage

CBS Sports Radio Weekend
December 18, 2019 - 10:59 am

The Carolina Panthers have very little going for them these next two weeks. The head coach was fired, the playoffs are impossible, and Kyle Allen’s carriage has turned into a pumpkin. They’re just waiting for this season to die.

Meanwhile, after Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks, interim head coach Perry Fewell was praising Christian McCaffrey. “He means everything to our football team—especially offensively. He’s productive, his attitude is absolutely awesome, his effort is outstanding, and he prepares each week for a winning performance.”

McCaffrey spent a large chunk of the season on the shortlist of MVP candidates and rightfully so. When Cam Newton went down in Week 2 after a foot injury, the third-year back took off. The 0-2 Panthers won four straight games and five out of six to stay relevant in the NFC playoff race. 

That’s all on the back of McCaffrey, who averages more than 150 total yards a game and just passed Steve Smith for the most yards from scrimmage in a season in franchise history. 

My question: why stop there?

With two games left in the season, McCaffrey needs 389 yards to pass Chris Johnson for the NFL’s single-season record for yards from scrimmage. The Panthers should do everything they can to get him there.

This isn’t a novel concept. Stuffing the stat sheet to get records is commonplace in professional sports. Remember when Brett Favre laid down to give Michael Strahan the single season sack record? Or Wilt Chamberlain hitting 100 points in a game? You think that happened by accident?

McCaffrey is everything you want in representing an organization. He’s a young star player in a punishing position that hasn’t given up on the team. If you want to establish culture, what better way to do it than rally around a franchise cornerstone with nothing else to play for? Go for the record. 

It’s also the right thing to do for McCaffrey. As good of a player as McCaffrey is, odds are he’ll never be in this position again. After 100 years of NFL football, LaDainian Tomlinson and Marshall Faulk are the only players to have two seasons in the top 20 for yards from scrimmage. So pay McCaffrey back for his efforts. Go for the record.

And another thing: This is good for the Panthers’ pockets too. McCaffrey’s franchise record-breaking year is nice, but getting Offensive Player of the Year and setting a league record is better. The excitement of such a stellar year at a visible skill position can cover the stench of a losing season and sell hope for the future (i.e. tickets). Go for the record.

Will breaking the record be difficult? Obviously. Gaining 389 yards in two NFL games is a difficult for anybody. Performances like that are why the single-season record for yards from scrimmage is so elusive. But then again, so is McCaffrey. 

Vince Quinn is the host of “The Vince Quinn Show,” which airs Saturdays from 2-6 a.m. ET. You can follow him on Twitter @ItsVinceQuinn.