Skydiving daredevil Felix Baumgartner leapt into the science and internet record books Sunday, riding a balloon 24 miles up, skydiving back down faster than the speed of sound and breaking YouTube's livestreaming record.
But how would Baumgartner's jump stack up in NFL's record book? Pretty well, it turns out. But, unsurprisingly, not quite as well as Tom Brady's efforts.
Fearless Felix vs Tom Terrific: Baumgartner jumped from 128,100 feet, over Roswell, N.M., which sits (according to Red Bull's Stratos mission-site) at 3,671 feet. Since jump altitudes are measured from sea level, the elevation of Baumgartner's landing site is incidental—but, incidental or not, it means he actually dropped 124,429 feet. Or, in NFL terms, 41,476 yards. If, rather than falling that distance as the finale of an extreme skydiving career, Baumgartner had instead been an NFL quarterback and reached the same figure in passing yardage, it would have put him 11thon the league's all-time yardage list, ahead of New England's Brady by just 47 yards. (To pass Brett Favre's 71,838 yards, Baumgartner would need to go 16 miles higher.)
Now, those stats are quirky coincidences. Still, call us crazy, but when Brady took the field against the Seahawks two hours after Baumgartner landed, it kinda looked like he was mad about it. The five-time Super Bowler picked apart Seattle for his best day of the year, throwing for 395 yards to eight different receivers, putting him comfortably ahead of Baumgartner's imaginary presence in the annals of NFL history.
But it was a pass that he intentionally threw to no one that people will be talking about this week.
When Nobody's Open, Throw It To Him: On the last play of the first half, from Seattle 3 yard line, Brady was called for intentional grounding after throwing the ball out of bounds to stop the clock, a penalty rarely called in that situation (it is more often called when a quarterback throws a wild, aimless pass to avoid being sacked). But, disastrously for New England, the rule also requires that 10 seconds be run off the clock when called late in a half. Since Brady made his errant pass with just one second left, the half ended and New England lost a shot at an easy field goal.
The gaffe came back to haunt New England when Seattle's own cool-under-fire quarterback, rookie Russell Wilson, led the Seahawks to a 14-point rally in the last 10 minutes to edge the Patriots by one, 24-23.
Russell Wil-Win: Most stories about Wilson tend to focus on his height, or lack of it, and how he makes up for that with, well, a great personality. Now they can just talk about winning.
Wilson has the Seahawks at 4-2, best among teams with rookie quarterbacks, and according to ESPN and the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first NFL rookie ever to throw game-winning touchdown passes in the final two minutes of two games: Sunday, and the controversial "replacement ref" game, when a last-second Wilson heave beat the Green Bay Packers.
"Sshhhhh": Speaking of Green Bay, the Packers dismantled the previously undefeated Texans in Sunday's late game, 42-24, as Aaron Rodgers shredded Houston's vaunted defense for six touchdowns. Rodgers, who has taken intense criticism for the Packers' up and down play, was asked on the field afterwards what he would say to critics. "Sshhhh," he said, and then turned and walked away.
Giant Walkover: In what was expected to be a showdown between the defending Super Bowl champs and the current Super Bowl favorite, the New York Giants pounded the San Francisco 49ers, 26-3, in San Francisco. The Giants' defense intercepted 49ers quarterback Alex Smith three times (he had just one previously this year) and Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 116 yards against a 49ers defense that had allowed only 81 rushing yards per game. Both teams are now 4-2.
Happy Birthday, Rookie: Birthdays are rarely noted in the NFL, but Cleveland rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden is likely to be reminded of this one for as long as he plays. He turned 29 Sunday, getting up there by any NFL standard, ancient for a rookie. (He played minor league baseball for several years before playing football in college.)
Weeden's Browns lost their first five games but unwrapped his first NFL win on Sunday, over the Cincinnati Bengals.
"Oh" No: With Cleveland's win, every NFL team has won at least once. With Atlanta moving to 6-0 after squeaking by the Raiders, it's the first time since 2009 that every NFL team has won a game before every team has lost at least one.