Which Peyton Manning Records Could Be Broken?
Peyton Manning officially called it quits on Monday afternoon, retiring with the Denver Broncos after 18 seasons in the NFL.
Manning brushed off talk of a Brett Favre-like waffling, stating emphatically that there will be “no chance” of a comeback. Just 17 days shy of his 40th birthday, Manning walks away as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, and thanks to Denver beating the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50, he also rides off into the sunset as a two-time NFL champion.
Manning ends his illustrious career at the top of most of the major passing records, as well, as he wraps things up with the most career touchdown passes (539), passing yards (71,940), most comeback wins (45) and most MVP awards (five). SB Nation runs down all of Manning’s insane records, including some exceptional single-game feats like most touchdowns (7) and single season records like most passing scores (55).
As awesome as those records are, Manning’s career is now over and the next immediate thought becomes: who could break Manning’s records?
Let’s take a look at all of the major records and see who could feasibly have a shot at dropping The Sheriff down to #2 in some spots:
Career Passing Touchdowns
Manning stands atop an elite heap with an insane 539 touchdown passes, having passed Brett Favre last season. Tom Brady is the only realistic option to match or top Manning, yet he’s over 100 passing touchdowns away.
The odds actually aren’t amazing for Brady to break this record, even though he’s been adamant about playing deep into his 40’s. Even though his play hasn’t dropped off yet, Brady will be 39 in August and could be one bad injury or natural age regression away from falling woefully short of this record. Drew Brees is right there with Brady, but having just turned 37 in January, he’d be the better bet to end his career with more touchdowns.
For now, Manning’s career passing touchdown record is safe. Brees and Brady are mild threats if they can play for another 3+ years and continue performing on an elite level (30-40 touchdowns), but if they can’t get it done, it’s possible this record is never broken.
Career Passing Yardage
Manning just passed Favre for the last huge passing record this year, finishing his star-studded career with 71,940 passing yards. He only beat out Favre by about 100 yards, but the next closest guy is Dan Marino, who has been retired for years.
As far as active threats, Brees trails by over 11,000 yards, while Brady is down about 13,000. Both could potentially pull it off if they played several more years, but Brees is the more realistic option. Brees currently averages right around 5,000 passing yards per season anyways and is younger than Brady.
The odds support Brees breaking this record eventually, with Brady finishing his career just shy.
Single-Game TD Record
Manning leads the list for some reason, but he’s not even the most recent quarterback to toss an NFL record 7 touchdowns in a game. That’d actually be Drew Brees, who did it against the Giants this past season.
Still, no one has ever thrown for 8 in a game, so this record is still going to be tough to beat. However, the NFL is more pass-happy than ever and we’ve seen Nick Foles even tie this record, so anything is possible.
We might not see it for a while, but given the explosive nature of the league, I wouldn’t bet much on this record standing forever.
Single-Season TD Record
This passing record seems to be broken every other year, which is funny considering Dan Marino’s record of 48 touchdown passes in a season once stood for over 20 years. Peyton Manning broke it initially with 49 in 2004, only to have Tom Brady best him by one in 2007 (50). Manning now holds a pretty steep record (55) and may have gone too high to have anyone catch him.
We are sure to see 40+ touchdown seasons left and right in a league that passes so often, but touching on 50 is basically flawless play for nearly an entire year. Given the way the league operates, this is not an untouchable record, but it’s pretty close.
Most 4,000-Yard Seasons
This one is about longevity and elite play, as Manning didn’t even top 4,000 passing yards in 2015, yet finishes his career with the most 4,000+ passing yardage campaigns (14) in league history.
This one definitely could stand the test of time, as the 37-year old Brees would have to play four more years with 4,000+ yards just to match Manning. That means Brees would be working on a record 15th 4,000+ yard season at age 42. Brady is too far away (8), and if Brees doesn’t catch Manning, it’s quite possible no one will.
Most 400-Yard Games
Manning holds the record for the moment (14), but it’s sure to be broken next year. Drew Brees is breathing down his neck when it comes to this one (13) and he’ll probably shatter it in 2016. Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers (all tied with 8) all have a shot, but aren’t likely to pass Brees.
Most MVP Awards
Manning is the only NFL players to ever win five MVP awards. There was a time when Brett Favre had three and it looked like that record would never be topped, but as it stands, Favre is still stuck at three with Jim Brown and Johnny Unitas. No other player even has four and it’s quite likely this record never gets sniffed.
Most Pro Bowl Selections (QB)
Manning was a stat-stuffer throughout his entire career if you hadn’t noticed, so naturally that translated into getting recognized off the field. The NFL and it’s fan base awarded The Sheriff with an amazing 14 Pro Bowl selections, which is three more than Brett Favre and Tom Brady, who tie for second place.
Brady stands a decent chance to at least tie this record if he can keep playing at a high level into his 40’s, as he’s publicly said he desires to. Age can change things, however, so if Brady gets hurt or retires earlier than expected, this could be another record Manning keeps for life.
Oldest Quarterback to Win it All
This one could be easier than you think, as there are still some very good quarterbacks who are getting up there in age, yet are playing at a high level.
Brees and Brady (37 and soon to be 39) are the easiest picks, while guys like Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers and Tony Romo are all aging and could still win the big one later in their careers. Whoever does it would probably have to be about 40 to make it happen. The most obvious choice is Brady, but this one may all depend on the right situation, just like Manning this past season.
Super Bowl Double Vision
Peyton Manning not only won two Super Bowls, but this year he claimed his first title with the Broncos, becoming the only quarterback ever to win a Lombardi Trophy with two different teams.
That’s a pretty difficult feat by itself, but this one has more to do with changing teams after winning a Super Bowl than anything else. However, of active quarterbacks who have won a title, only Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Joe Flacco and Eli Manning have actually won one already.
To illustrate just how hard it is to win one with one team, only Brady, Big Ben and Peyton’s younger brother have even been to a second one. For any of these guys to accomplish this crazy feat, they’d have to be cut or traded. At this point, that doesn’t seem very likely for any of them.
Peyton Manning beat his former team, the Indianapolis Colts, tying him with Brett Favre as the only quarterbacks to ever beat all 32 NFL teams. That record cannot be broken obviously, but it’s quite likely it will never be tied again, either.
For one, a quarterback would have to play quite deep into a long career and then would have to leave their current team and beat them. Tom Brady, for example, will be 39 years old before next season, so even if he left the Patriots sometime in the next few years, he’d have to somehow face and beat them to crack the list. It’s not impossible to imagine someone else joining this elite pairing, but it’s highly unlikely.
Most Game-Winning Drives
Manning has been heroic on top of illustrious, as he’s orchestrated an amazing 54 game-winning drives. It’s tough to put a number on clutch ability, but the next highest player is Dan Marino (47) and the closest active player is Tom Brady (39).
It’s fair to say Brady could come close to besting this record if he plays as long as he suggests he will, but New England doesn’t trail late in games all that often. Because of that, this record looks safe for now.
Most Playoff Appearances
Playing 18 years will get you a lot of post-season play, but aside from his rookie season, Manning impressively rarely missed the playoffs. That’s insane and awesome, all in the same breath. The actual number is a strong 15, with Tom Brady closing in with 13 playoff appearances. Brady figures to be a lock to tie that record, but he’d have to play three more successful seasons to break it.
Last, but certainly not least, is a number quarterbacks are seemingly defined by: wins. Manning is again at the top of the totem pole here, as well, sitting in first with an amazing 200 victories.
It’s such a pretty, even number, but what is even more impressive is he topped the #2 guy, Brett Favre, by just one win. Oddly enough, that last win came as a Super Bowl champion.
Tom Brady isn’t far behind, though, as he has 193 wins and should easily break that record with a healthy 2016 run. No other active quarterback even has 150 wins, so once Brady makes history next season, it’s possible the new record never gets touched.
That’s quite a run through Manning’s accomplishments, and while some of his records will surely be broken and others might be broken, one thing is perfectly clear: the guy has left a mark.
Got a favorite Manning record, moment or story? Feel free to tell us all about it in the comments below!
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