Before the season began, you couldn’t click on a national football website without seeing some sort of headline about Peyton Manning’s consecutive game streak possibly coming to an end. If you include the playoffs, Manning played in a very impressive 227 straight games. I don’t think I’ve ever gone 227 consecutive days without taking a sick day at my various office jobs, so the point of this isn’t to minimize Manning’s streak. However, in terms of “football toughness,” Manning’s streak doesn’t even come remotely close the streak of 222 games that London Fletcher has put together since 1998.
Since 1998, London Fletcher has made 1714 tackles. He’s taken on countless fullbacks and pulling guards in the hole. Early in his career, he busted wedges on kickoff coverage. He’s as violent a player (legally) as this generation has seen, and to stay healthy for 222 straight games at the middle linebacker position in today’s NFL is almost unthinkable. Meanwhile, Manning had gone through his share of games without ever being touched. A look at Fletcher’s career numbers:
|Playoffs (’99-’01, ’07)||8||55||1||0||0||0|
Manning and Fletcher both entered the league in 1998. Manning was the #1 overall pick, and has become one of the faces (if not the THE face) of the NFL, so the attention he received for his streak is understandable. Fletcher, meanwhile, was an undrafted free agent out of tiny John Carroll University that had to scratch and claw his way onto an NFL roster. For years and years, Fletcher was snubbed for the Pro Bowl, despite putting up numbers that are right in line with what Ray Lewis has done over his spectacular career in Baltimore.
Fletcher’s streak might come to an end this week in Toronto, when the Redskins take on the Bills, and yet, the minimal attention for one of the best defenders of the past decade continues:
– ESPN.com/nfl – Nothing on Fletcher.
– NFL.com – Nothing on Fletcher.
– Pro Football Talk’s Redskins page – All sorts of stuff on Chris Cooley’s”victim of the lockout” comments, nothing on Fletcher.
It simply amazes me that London Fletcher isn’t a household name.