Skip to main content


Presented by

Mailbag: New 17-game benchmarks needed?


Congratulations to Tony Pollard for reaching the 1,000-yard rushing mark this season, but with the expanded number of games now, do we need to revisit what constitutes a great season? After all, it takes less than 60 yards per game to reach the current standard. What would your new benchmark be? 1,200 rushing yards? 1,500? And what about other statistics like receiving yards, passing yards, sacks, etc.? – Phil Morgan/Kirbyville, MO

Nick Eatman: Well, let's also not forget the fact the NFL could eventually go to an 18-game schedule at some point. You really don't see many leagues in sports with an odd number of games, mainly because it can't give all teams an equal amount of home/away games. So I wouldn't be surprised if we see 18 regular season games and two preseason games at some point. But to your question, yeah we might need to change the way we look at 1,000-yard seasons. But I'll say this about Pollard, who obviously doesn't have the same body type as most runners, but there's only six players in Cowboys history who have had two straight 1,000-yard seasons. I think what Pollard was able to do this year was pretty good, especially considering he was healthy for most of the year. But I don't think we're at a point to change the way we think about a lot of stats right now. 

Patrik: I can tell you that it is both true that Pollard and every other running back still view the 1,000-yard mark as a solid measure of individual success and, quiet as it's kept, it also still factors into contract negotiations at the running back position, regardless of the added regular season game. It also has to be put into context though, because while it's commendable that Pollard surpassed the mark in 2023, as you said, it was in 17 starts where as he did with only four starts one year prior. The latter is an ridiculous achievement for an RB2, but not so much for an RB1 nowadays, and therein lies the rub. Will the bar ever be raised, optics-wise, for 1,200-1,300 yards? I believe it will eventually be, but not for several more seasons. The main takeaway here is to not discount every 1,000-yard achievement, but to rather consider how many starts it took them to get it — is a more reasonable way to look at it.

Related Content