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Last night, Roy Halladay made history by being the 20th major leaguer ever to throw a perfect game. No hits, no walks, no runs, no errors.
It got me thinking... is there a football equivalent to an historic feat like a perfect game? I considered a couple possibilities.
Shutout - It's kinda rare for a team in the NFL to get shutout because it's not that hard to score in football. To at least not get a field goal is rare, but not nearly rare enough to equal a perfect game. There will be a few shutouts a year in the NFL. There have only been 20 perfect games ever.
Perfect QB rating - What if a QB throws for a perfect QB rating in a game? The best rating a QB can get is 158.3, to do so "a QB must attempt at least 10 passes, a minimum of a 77.5% completion percentage, 11.875% touchdown passes percentage, 12.5 yards or more per attempt, and no interceptions." Problem is, the feat is neither as rare or momentus as a perfect. There have been 35 perfect rating games since the QB rating was invented in 1973. To compare, only 20 perfect games have been thrown in baseball since 1880.
Plus, a QB rating isn't momentus. You aren't hanging on every throw to see if a QB can get his completion percentage is 77.5%. It illustrates a big difference in the way people view baseball & football. In the NFL it's all about what you do on the day to win a game whereas in baseball stats, context, and historical perspective are always considered. Quantifying individual performance is incredibly important in baseball but less so in football. Plus, a QB needs a lot of help to get a perfect QB rating. His WRs can't drop passes, they need to get open, they need to run for lots of yards after the catch, the coach needs to call throws near the end zone rather than runs, the offensive line needs to keep rushers off him. To throw a perfect game, all a pitcher needs is for his defense to not commit an error which do in many games anyway. Occasionally they'll certainly have to make some great defensive plays as well, but a perfect game is much more of an individual achievement.
500 yard passing game - By my count only 10 QBs have ever thrown for 500 yards in a game. It's an impressive stat, but the problem is that it doesn't always mean a vintage performance. It often means that the QB was forced to throw a lot. In fact, of the ten 500 yd passing games five were losses by the QB who threw for all the yardage. Sorry, but a .500 record by the guys who accomplished the feat means it doesn't match up with a perfect game.
There are some things that are just so special that the sport of baseball has that the other major sports in the US probably never will. A perfect game is certainly one.
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