When former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning retired at the end of the 2015 season and following his second Super Bowl win, he had plenty of all-time records on his Hall of Fame résumé. No player before or since had thrown for this many yards and or passing touchdowns as 1998’s first overall draft selection, or had been awarded the same number of league MVP titles.
As the old saying goes, however, records are meant to be broken. And the most acomplished man to ever step on the gridiron is coming for two more of Manning’s marks in 2018: by the time the season is over, New England Patriots quarterback and reigning NFL most valuable player Tom Brady will likely be the league’s all-time leader in both combined passing yardage and combined passing touchdowns.
Entering the 2018 season, Brady ranks fourth in both regular season passing yards (66,159) and regular season touchdown passes (488). However, his playoff production is unrivaled as the 41-year old has thrown for more yards (10,226) and more touchdowns (71) during the playoffs – let alone won more games and titles – than any other player in league history. If you combine Brady’s numbers, he sits at 76,385 passing yards and 559 touchdowns.
For comparison, Manning – the NFL’s all-time leader in regular season yards and scoring passes – retired after having thrown for a combined 79,279 yards and 579 touchdowns. While there is still a noticeable difference between the two men, it is not hard to project Brady surpassing his long-time rival’s numbers this season: Brady needs just 2,894 passing yards and 20 touchdowns to tie Manning’s numbers.
Frankly, it would be a huge surprise if Brady failed to achieve those statistics. Only once in his career did he not throw for at least 3,000 combined yards – in 2008 when he missed all but a few minutes due to a knee injury. Just two times was he furthermore unable to cross the 20-touchdown barrier: in 2001, when he was thrust into the starting lineup after Drew Bledsoe suffered a serious injury in week two, and during the aforementioned 2008 season.
Brady is not the only quarterback coming close to Manning, though, as the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees will likely break the regular season yardage record this year: he has 70,445 compared to Manning’s 71,940. However, despite holding an advantage in regular season passing yards and being tied in touchdowns at 488, Brees is still behind Brady when it comes to combined numbers: the veteran “only” has 4,209 postseason yards and 29.
Consequently, it is Brady who is expected to end 2018 with two more records under his already legendary belt. But of course, the most satisfying record would be a different one: becoming the player to earn six Super Bowl rings.