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Top Single Season NFL Passing TDs

Updated on January 24, 2008

Peyton Manning

Dan Marino

Kurt Warner

Before video games and fantasy football, you had quarterbacks who were prolific at throwing touchdown passes like Dan Marino. Actually Marino threw for many yards and many TDs, and had a great career, minus an elusive Super Bowl ring. He also held the single season passing TD mark until Peyton Manning broke it in 2004. Now, Tom Brady appears as if he may break the record in 2007. Stay tuned, but for now, here is the all-time top ten in that category:

Tom Brady, New England Patriots - 50 TDs - 2007

On his way to winning the NFL MVP Award and helping lead the Patriots to an undefeated regular season, Tom Brady led the NFL and broke the all-time record with 50 touchdown throws. 23 of those went to first-year Patriots receiver Randy Moss, which was also broke Jerry Rice's 20-year NFL record.

Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts - 49 TDs - 2004

If he plays long enough, and with his injury history (or lack thereof, knock wood), Peyton Manning is going to break a lot of records. He already holds the record for most touchdown passes in a single season, with 49, set in 2004. That year, Manning completed 336 of 497 passes for a career high of 4557 yards. Since joining the NFL in 1998, Manning has already racked up 39,972 yards passing and 291 TDs.

Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins - 48 TDs - 1984

There's no disputing Dan Marino's incredible resume as a quarterback, and even though Brett Favre has surpassed him in career touchdown passes and will likely pass him in passing yardage in 2007, he still is recognized as one of the greatest QBs ever. In 1984, Marino threw for career highs of 5084 yards and 48 touchdowns. The 5084 yards are still a single season NFL record and the TDs rank him second behind Manning in that category.

Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins - 44 TDs - 1986

Two years after setting the NFL record for touchdown passes, Marino completed 378 of 623 passes for 4746 yards and 44 TDs. His second best total for TDs ranks him third all-time on this list.

Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams - 41 TDs - 1999

Kurt Warner is a former Arena League player who thrived in Mike Martz' Greatest Show on Turf offense in St. Louis, leading them to a Super Bowl in 1999. That year, Warner completed 325 of 499 passes for 4353 yards and 41 touchdowns to just 13 interceptions. The 41 TDs ranks Warner fourth all-time for a single season.

Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers - 39 TDs - 1996

Brett Favre has passed for 30 or more touchdowns eight times in his illustrious career, including a career high of 39 in 1996 on his way to taking Green Bay to the Super Bowl title. That season, Favre completed 325 of 543 passes for 3899 yards and 39 TDs to just 13 interceptions. He currently has 430 TDs for his career, ranking him #1 in NFL history.

Daunte Culpepper, Minnesota Vikings - 39 TDs - 2004

Before being traded to Miami a few years ago, Daunte Culpepper put up video game like numbers, including a career high of 39 touchdown passes in 2004. That season he completed 379 of 548 pass attempts for 4717 yards (also a career high). In an injury-riddled career with just five-plus complete seasons, Culpepper has already thrown for 141 touchdowns.

Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers - 38 TDs - 1995

Brett Favre is on this list twice for a reason-because he's very steady and very good at what he does. In 1995, Favre had his second highest total for TD passes with 38. That year he completed 359 of 570 passes for a career high of 4413 yards and the 38 TDs to only 13 interceptions.

Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers - 36 TDs - 1998

Steve Young took over for Joe Montana in San Francisco and while he had big shoes to fill, also led his team to a championship in 1994. Then a few years later, in 1998, Young broke a personal best with 36 touchdown passes. And he threw for 4170 yards that season, also a career high.

YA Tittle, New York Giants - 36 TDs - 1963

In 1963, YA Tittle's next to last season as an NFL QB, he threw for a personal best 36 touchdowns in just 13 games. Tittle completed 221 of 367 passes that year for 3145 yards and the 36 TDs to just 14 interceptions. That season the Giants lost to the Bears in the NFL title game.

Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams - 36 TDs - 2001

Like Marino and Favre, it's not really a surprise to find Kurt Warner on this list again. In 2001, Warner completed a career high 68.7% of his passes (375 of 546) for 4830 yards (also a career high) and 36 TD passes. The 36 TDs ranks him in a tie for eighth place in a single season.

Steve Buerlein, Carolina Panthers - 36 TDs - 1999

Steve Buerlein was a journeyman quarterback who had a breakout season in 1999 with Carolina. That year, Buerlein completed 343 of 571 passes for career highs in yardage (4436) and touchdown passes (36) with only 15 interceptions.

*note-this list does not include AFL players, hence George Blanda's 36 TDs in 1961 have been left off. We apologize to Mr. Blanda, but are sticking to a format.


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      jaden 5 years ago

      go tom

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      Prince 6 years ago

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      kevin 6 years ago

      Aaron Rodgers has 37 with four games left in the 2011 regular season!

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      curt 6 years ago

      yo tom

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      lint mc gump jr 6 years ago

      Tommy boy will rock the joint in spring.

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      beets 8 years ago

      Tony Romo had 36 touchdown passes in 2007, quite impressive but he was overshadowed by Tom Brady's 50.

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      Paul Deeds 10 years ago from Berkeley

      I think Tom Brady is #3 now, with 45 touchdowns so far this year. But I guess you might as well wait a few more weeks and just put him in at the top.

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      fage 10 years ago

      this is cool