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Peyton Manning's Career Sets New Standard for the Quarterback Position in the NFL
Breaks all time record after setting single season record
Just a season after breaking the single season touchdown passing mark, Peyton Manning was able to break Brett Favre's all time touchdown passing record. The record stood at 508 career touchdown passes, and Manning broke the record with a four touchdown pass effort. Peyton Manning now has a total of 510 touchdown passes at just age 38, and there are very few quarterbacks who have the opportunity to reach his current total. Manning was able to do all of this in just 16 professional seasons, losing a full year of his career to injury. This feat took Brett Favre until age 41 and 20 seasons to accomplish, with a significant consecutive starts streak that he kept intact up until his final season in the league. With the way Peyton Manning has studied film, and changed plays at the line of scrimmage throughout his career, he has helped to set a new standard for the way the quarterback position is played in the NFL. Some of the more talented young quarterbacks in football may have a chance to one day challenge his record, but as of right now there is only one active quarterback who even has the opportunity to tie his current mark, with Manning possibly still having years left to play in his NFL career.
The film study and work ethic
Its no secret about the amount of preparation that Peyton Manning has put into each game he has played throughout his career. The goal for Manning is to be fully prepared for everything different he might see from a defense. Brian Costello, in his article outlines the lengths that Manning goes to in his film study that allows him know exactly what he wants to do in order to attack certain looks that he gets from defenses, and he will never be fooled by the same look twice. Film study for Manning goes far beyond just finding one way to beat what the defense is running, as part of Peyton's ability at the quarterback position includes his unpredictability. Peyton's work ethic includes putting in all the extra time necessary to get plays timed perfectly with his release point and where the point on a receiver's route where he wants them to get the ball. Peyton's relentless pursuit of greatness, gives him the opportunity to lead his team by example, which in turn has all his teammates on the offense buying into what he wants his football team to be able to accomplish. By leading his teammates to greatness, with a nearly flawless blueprint for success, Peyton Manning has been able to repeatedly challenge and break records of all time greatness, along with elevating his teammates to his level. The standard for the quarterback position in the NFL has been set with Peyton Manning carrying a portion of the offensive load so large, that it appears beyond human ability to carry.
A look at individual season accomplishments
In 2004, Peyton Manning broke Dan Marino's single season touchdown passing record that had been intact for 20 years, and stood at 48 touchdown passes in a single season. In 2007, Tom Brady was able to match and pass that record by one touchdown pass in an undefeated regular season for the Patriots. This gave Peyton Manning the challenge of working to break the new record, and in 2013 with a seven touchdown pass effort on opening night, Manning was well on his way to challenging the record. Peyton Manning and the Denver offense never looked back as he ended up with 55 touchdown passes on the season. This individual accomplishment for Peyton Manning as an NFL quarterback may have put the record out of reach for good, even in a new era of football that favors the passing game. With a career completion percentage of over 65 percent, and 12 straight seasons with a completion percentage of 65 or better, it is no wonder that Peyton Manning has been able to operate efficiently enough to break all time touchdown passing records twice in the past ten seasons. Also, with the high level that Manning is still playing at in his age 38 season, there are no indicators of an upcoming drop off in production, which means the fans could be seeing Manning continue to add to his all time record for multiple upcoming seasons.
Who is the next challenger?
At age 35, Drew Brees is currently second on the all time touchdown passing list with 374 touchdown passes. If Brees were to average 30 touchdown passes over the next five seasons, while throwing 16 more touchdown passes in 2014, that would only be enough to tie the mark that Peyton Manning currently is at. Tom Brady is next on the list, with 372 touchdown passes for his career at age 37. The chances for either Brady or Brees to catch Peyton Manning on the all time touchdown passes list, are almost nonexistent because Manning is still playing some of the best football of his career. There is a young quarterback who could be on pace to match Peyton Manning's career marks though, and he is following a similar career path as a recent first overall draft pick by the Colts. After recently turning 25, Andrew Luck currently has 65 touchdown passes for his career. He threw 23 touchdown passes in each of his first two seasons with the Colts, which falls short of the 26 touchdown passes that Peyton Manning threw in each of his first two seasons. Luck however has picked up the pace this season, with 19 touchdown passes in the first seven games of the season. This puts him on pace to throw 40 touchdowns in his third season in the league, which would be seven more than the 33 touchdown passes that Manning threw in his third season. With the work ethic that Andrew Luck has already put on display early in his career, it would not be surprising if he was that one that challenged Manning's records in the latter stages of his career.
Over the past twelve seasons, Peyton Manning has gone from being mentioned among the all time greats to possibly becoming the greatest quarterback of all time. After winning his fifth MVP award in his age 37 season, the leadership skills and talent that Manning possesses, has him in the conversation for the MVP award again this season. From changing the play at the line of scrimmage with hand signals, to all the extra film study and repetitions in practice, Peyton Manning has changed the standard for the quarterback position one great season at a time. Peyton Manning is the ultimate measuring stick that all the great young quarterbacks strive to measure up to, and the result of his influence on the game has made the NFL into a precision passing league. For right now and for the next few seasons, NFL fans continue to get the luxury of watching Peyton Manning take the field each week as he plays out the final few seasons of his fantastic career.