When it comes to statistical success, it seems like nobody can touch the legacy of Peyton Manning. The former Indianapolis Colt and Denver Bronco currently holds the records for most regular season wins, passing yards and passing touchdowns. He didn’t always have post-season success, but he did manage to win two Super Bowls. However, two quarterbacks are threatening to take away Manning’s records.
Legacy in Danger: Peyton Manning’s Records
Peyton Manning’s statistical achievements are phenomenal. He threw for 71,940 yards and 539 touchdowns in his illustrious 18 year career. He won four AFC Championships, and was able to bring the Lombardi Trophy home twice. When ranking the all-time greats, no list is complete without Peyton Manning.
He immediately transformed the Denver Broncos into Super Bowl contenders after making the Indianapolis Colts one of the best teams in football for over a decade. He absolutely deserved to break those records, and if there was any justice, they’d stand for a long time. Unfortunately, the sands of time stop for no man, and two quarterbacks are set to pass Peyton in the near future.
It won’t surprise anyone to see Tom Brady and Peyton Manning being mentioned together yet again. These two have been linked since Brady made his first career start back in 2001, upsetting Manning and the Colts. Manning and Brady faced off 17 teams, with Brady winning 11, but with Manning winning six of the last 11.
Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady has been a peculiar fan argument for years. Brady has more rings, but Manning has better stats. Brady has had better defenses, but Manning has had better weapons. The debate will rage on until the end of time.
Unfortunately for Manning, the argument might be about to suffer a big loss. Currently, Tom Brady has 61,582 yards and 456 touchdowns. That means he’s only trailing Peyton Manning by 10,358 yards and 83 touchdowns.
It’s difficult to determine Tom Brady’s statistical pace because he missed the first four games of 2016 with a suspension. This is taking a bit of a leap, but in order to determine his average, his season total will be averaged for a pace, which will be applied to the other four games.
So for the record, his 2016 season would’ve been for 4,739 yards and 37 touchdowns. Averaging his last three seasons together, Tom Brady would average 4,539 yards and 35 touchdowns a season. At that pace, Brady would pass Manning in both categories halfway through the 2019 season.
There is one huge assumption being made here, however. This is assuming that Tom Brady maintains his statistical pace for another two and a half seasons. Brady will be 40 years old when the season starts, and as fans have seen with the likes of Peyton Manning and Brett Favre, quarterbacks don’t age gracefully.
Time Waits For No Man
Peyton Manning went from throwing for 4,700 yards and 39 touchdowns in 2014 to 2,220 yards and nine touchdowns in 2015. Not only did Manning only throw nine touchdowns, but he threw 17 interceptions. That’s quite a difference in less than a calendar year.
The same was true for Favre. In 2009, Favre had arguably his best season, throwing for 4,200 yards, 33 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions. The following year, he threw for 2,500 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 19 interceptions.
Despite what his most passionate fans might believe, Tom Brady is only human. Despite his herculean post-season magic, there will come a day when Tom Brady can’t play football at a high level anymore.
However, even if Brady does maintain his pace long enough to pass Peyton Manning, he won’t be number one. There’s another quarterback that is all but guaranteed to shatter Manning’s records.
Drew Brees isn’t a stranger to taking things away from Peyton Manning. Back in Super Bowl XLIV, Brees’ New Orleans Saints beat Manning’s Indianapolis Colts, 31-17. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it looks like Brees will easily break Manning’s passing records soon.
Currently, Drew Brees has thrown for 66,111 yards and 465 touchdowns. That means he’s only trailing Manning by 5,829 yards and 74 touchdowns. If you average Brees’ last three seasons, he’s averaging 5,010 yards and 34 touchdowns. Assuming Brees maintains this pace, He’ll pass Manning in both categories before the end of the 2018 NFL season.
If Brees can play for another couple of seasons at this pace, he’ll absolutely bury Manning’s records. When it’s all said and done, Brees should be the all-time leading passer in every major statistical category. It’s a shame that his teams haven’t been good enough to capitalize on these outrageous numbers.
The Last Word
When it’s all said and done, it’s impossible to measure how much Peyton Manning has done for the game of football. He had one of the most brilliant minds for the game, and his offenses were always fun to watch. His records may fall, but he’ll always be fondly remembered as one of the NFL’s greats.