Few would question calling Peyton Manning the greatest quarterback of his generation, perhaps all time, and with his fourth touchdown in Sunday Night’s rout of the San Francisco 49ers, continued his quest to make it official, topping Brett Favre’s all time touchdown record. Manning achieved the milestone—509 touchdowns to pass Favre, adding a 510th soon therafter—in 56 fewer games, and over 3 fewer seasons than Favre, and looks set to increase that number significantly, as part of one of the most potent offensive groups of all time.
Just 2 weeks after topping 500 career touchdowns, Peyton Manning has set the record for all time career touchdowns, at 510. Manning did so during his 17th season in the league, taking just 246 games to reach the mark, averaging 2.07 TDs per game. His next closest active rivals, Drew Brees and Tom Brady sit at 374 and 372 respectively. Brees reached the mark in 192 games, averaging 1.94 TD’s per game, and Brady in 200 games, averaging 1.86 TDs per game. Both men could still catch Manning, especially Brees who is three years Manning’s junior. But with Manning currently matching his 2013 record-setting pace since coming out of their Bye week, Manning shows no signs of hanging up his jersey any time soon, and could easily top 600 touchdowns if he plays for a similar length of time to Favre.
Manning could conceivably have reached this milestone sooner had he not missed the entire 2011 season due to a neck injury which threatened to end his career. However, had Manning not missed the season—which resulted in a 2-14 record, a first overall pick, and Andrew Luck for the Colts—he would likely not have joined the Denver Broncos, whose high-flying vertical offense has resulted in some of Manning’s best statistical seasons.
Speaking after the game, Manning admitted he was humbled and honoured to be listed alongside greats like Favre, and credited his teammates for their part in reaching the top.
“Well it’s quite an honor,” Mannning said during post game interview, “and like you said, I do have great appreciation for the quarterbacks that have played this game throughout the years, and so I’m honored just to play the position.
“It’s very humbling. It’s taken a lot of hard work. A lot of people have helped me to this point.”
For his part, Favre was gracious in seeing his long-standing record tumble, reaching out immediately via Twitter to congratulate Manning as within moments of the Touchdown being confirmed. Using the hashtag #Onto600, Favre wished Manning many more TDs to come, a sentiment he echoed in a video message posted to NFL.com.
— Brett Favre (@Favre4Official) October 20, 2014
Recent rule changes, as well as shifting emphases in the NFL has really benefitted QBs in recent years, and yardage and touchdowns appear to have become much easier to come by through the air. For example, Manning’s replacement in Indianapolis, Andrew Luck is averaging 2.71 TDs per game through 7 games this season, and a recent infographic compared the first 29 games for both Colin Kaepernick and 49ers great Steve Young with some surprising outcomes—especially given that most in San Francisco consider Kaepernick not to have played as well as expected.
However, that such a large majority of both Favre’s and Manning’s stats came during the same time period makes the achievement so great.
Quarterbacks will continue to push the envelope in terms of yardage and touchdowns, however, as one of only two men ever to have passed for more than 500 touchdowns, and the man on target to be the first ever to top 600, Manning is certain to go down in NFL history.