Passing records? Peyton will have the last laugh

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Oct 22, 2007



By Jonathan Comey
Cold, Hard Football Facts sitter in awe
 
Tom Brady is taking aim at the single-season passing records. But it should be noted that he's a rookie in terms of making all-time passing numbers look silly. 
 
Peyton Manning, on the other hand, is an old pro at it.
 
So, while everyone (including us) is fawning over Brady, we thought we'd remind everyone that Mr. Manning is on pace to shatter every passing record into orbit before he's all done.  
 
Manning didn't put up great numbers against the league's toughest defense Monday night (23 of 37, 62.2%, 259 yards, 7.0 YPA, 1 TD, 1 INT, 80.8 passer rating), but he certainly reminded everyone how good he is. Anytime you win by three TDs at a Top-10 NFL opponent on the road, you've played a great game.
 
But usually, Manning puts up the stats and the wins – and to epic proportions.
 
The league's QB records are all pretty familiar to the NFL fan right now because Brett Favre is in the process of breaking many of them.
 
But Favre, great as he is, will likely have the records for only a half-decade or so until Manning (barring the unforeseen) starts passing him.
 
Start with the fact that Manning is only 31 years old.
 
That's young, and the guy takes less hits than any QB in the game (1.15 sacks per game for his career). And with no injury history – in fact, with no missed games in his history at all – Manning projects to play 16 games a year until he hangs it up. Using an estimate that he'll play until he's 38 (in 2014), Manning would play in 122 more regular-season games (including Monday night, his 150th in the NFL).
 
Here's Manning's average regular-season game over his career:
  • Completions: 22
  • Attempts: 34
  • Yards: 261
  • YPA: 7.7
  • TDs: 1.91
  • INTs: 0.95
Those numbers include his poor 3-13 rookie season (28 picks) and some growing pains along the way, so you could argue that he'll actually do better than these averages going forward. He certainly has exceeded these numbers over the past few seasons.
 
But based on the career paths of other great QBs, those rough times should be reflected toward the end of his career with a drop in production as he goes past 35. So in our book, his average numbers to date are an accurate approximation to use for his future success.  
 
And if Manning does turn in 122 games just like the previous 150?
 
Here's how the all-time records would look when he's all said and done.  
  • PASSING YARDS: Favre (59,215) is closing in on Dan Marino's record of 61,361, and if he plays one more season in 2008 could end up as high as 65,000 yards. But it won't be safe for long. Manning already has 39,164 yards, and assuming his career pace for another 122 games, he'd finish with 71,014 yards.
  •  PASSING COMPLETIONS: Favre also just took over this record in 2007, at 5,181. Giving him another season-and-a-half, he could retire with as many as 5,600 completions. But Manning is on track for 5,930 completions, which would be more than 1,000 more than No. 3 Marino.
  • PASSING TOUCHDOWNS: In addition to the all-time INT record (279 and counting), Favre has the all-time TD record with 423. That number could grow as high as 460 over the next season and a half. Manning, however, is on pace for an incredible 519 touchdown passes, almost 100 more than Marino's 420 (which seemed like a hell of a lot when No. 13 retired, and was).
  • QUARTERBACK WINS: Brett Favre has 152 career wins, passing John Elway for the No. 1 spot this September. Imagine how hard it would be to average 10 wins a year for 15 seasons, but that's basically what he's done. That total could finish as high as 170, if the Packers continue to play at the same level through 2008. Manning, with 98 regular-season wins under his belt, is on pace for 178 wins based on his career victories to this point. If the Colts can replicate their success from 2002-07 (to date) for 122 more games, we'd be talking about 190 wins. Less than 10 coaches have even won 190 games, and they don't take any hits or have to actually throw any passes.
Of course, there are countless grains of salt to be taken with any projection like this.
 
Just as it's no lock that Brady will finish his 2007 with every single-season record, it's no lock that Manning will finish his career with every lifetime record. He could get hurt, he could see his team falter around him, he could join a Malaysian cult in training camp next year. 
 
Yep. A lot of things could happen to Brady and/or Manning, rendering all of this wonderful speculation even more useless than it already is. 
 
So, you want to bet against either of them? 

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