Firstly, Happy New Year on behalf of everyone here at Section 215! May your fireworks be huge, your parties be fun, and your singing of “Auld Lang Syne” be at least halfway on key.
This is very interesting that we are on the verge of 2014 as the classic, “the more things change, the more they stay the same” saying does not ring true more in sports than it does in the NFL.
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have been the two top quarterbacks in the league for approximately a decade now and both are dangerously close to 40 years old. And even though the NFL has seen a bevy of new quarterbacks enter the ranks, including Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Andrew Luck, Numbers 12 and 18 are actually numbers 1 and 1a at the league’s signature position.
In 2004, Manning broke Dan Marino’s record for touchdown passes in a single season. That record was previously 48, then increased to 49.
Three years later in 2007 with the New England Patriots in the midst of a perfect season that fell short in the Super Bowl, Brady went one better than The Sheriff when he threw 50 TDs that season.
This year, Manning is two years removed from extensive neck surgery that some even considered would end his career. He’s also two years removed from a bloody divorce from Jim Irsay and the Indianapolis Colts.
His career didn’t end—he shattered records in 2013, most notably the record for most touchdowns thrown in a season with 55. He also (for the time being) claims that of the most yards thrown in a season with 5477, but even that now is under review by the NFL.
With the 2013 season officially in the record books, it is now fair game to compare this year of Manning to the 2007 of Brady. Firstly, it’s unfair to say that Brady’s 2007 was better than Manning’s 2013 because many claimed that Manning was merely padding his stats in many of his games when the Broncos won going away.
Except Brady and Belichick did the same thing in 2007. In fact, there were plenty that still claimed that Brady’s 2007 was in response to Manning and his Colts beating them the previous year in the AFC Championship Game after the Patriots blew a huge lead, allowing for a Manning comeback.
This, as well, is an unfair claim, by the way….just saying.
Also, Manning has shown that he can put up these types of numbers twice. In terms of touchdown passes, two of the greatest seasons of all time belong to Peyton Manning.
The “stat padding” claim hurled at either the Brady for Record Holder ‘07 or the Manning for Record Holder ’13 campaign should not even be uttered by anyone with common sense. Both were statistically great seasons in their own rights.
It’s merely that Brady for Record Holder 2007 didn’t attempt as many passes as Manning for Record Holder 2013 did. That’s one thing that makes Brady’s record stand out over Manning’s, but 18’s is more impressive since this is the second time he’s done this, also coming off a debilitating injury.
As “just-freaking-wow” worthy as both Brady for Record Holder 2007 and Manning for Record Holder 2013 were, one must remember that in the same timespan as both seasons, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers also had seasons where they recently went north of 40 on the touchdown charts.
As “just-freaking-wow” worthy as both Brady for Record Holder 2007 and Manning for Record Holder 2013 were, these seasons would have been even more impressive if they were accomplished in an era where quarterbacks weren’t looking to throw every pass into the neighboring zip code.
Over the past several years, the NFL has evolved into an increasingly pass-friendly league, partly due to rule changes it implemented to basically tell quarterbacks, “We’re giving you our permission to continuously shatter passing records. Now, do it, will ya, for the love of Lombardi!”
When Marino threw 48 touchdowns, it was the exception. Now, it’s the rule.
To say that the NFL “created” QBs like Manning and Brady is unfair and a disservice to both as Canton should already be working on their Hall of Fame busts. But, there’s no doubt that motivated by TV ratings (which the league creams all other sports in), money, sponsorships, endorsements, and jersey sales that this high octane, new age NFL is exactly the type that Park Avenue wants.
Manning said it best at his postgame press conference after he broke the record in Houston against the Texans, that his newly set record (51 at the time) will probably be broken by Brady next year.
As noteworthy as Brady for the Record 2007 and Manning for the Record 2013 were, we should probably already look forward to Brees for the Record 2014.
Or Rodgers for the Record 2015.
Or….Foles for the Record 2016?