Peyton Manning has had an incredible 2013 season for the Denver Broncos. His passing numbers are simply staggering as Manning has rewritten the single season record book. This season Manning passed for 5,477 yards, breaking Drew Brees’ NFL mark by a single yard. However, it is the single season record for touchdown passes that will draw the most attention from history. While we are on the subject of history, here is a brief history of the evolution of the NFL single season passing touchdown record over the past 50 years.
Y. A. Tittle – 36, New York Giants 1963
Y.A. Tittle broke his own mark of 33 TD passes, which he had set the previous year, while only appearing in 13 games of a 14 game season. The previous record of 32 touchdown passes had been set by Johnny Unitas in 1959 and later equaled by Sonny Jurgensen in 1961. Tittle’s record breaking performance helped lead the New York Giants to the NFL Championship game and earned Tittle the MVP award in 1963.
Dan Marino – 48, Miami Dolphins 1984
In just his second NFL campaign Dan Marino had one of the most incredible seasons in league history. Not only did he shatter Tittle’s long standing record for touchdowns in a season with 48 he became the first NFL quarterback to pass for more than 5,000 yards in a season. It is a testament to Marino’s greatness that the records he set lasted so long before being broken in this quarterback friendly era.
Peyton Manning – 49, Indianapolis Colts 2004
Prior to 2013 many thought that 2004 would be Manning’s finest season. 2004 saw the then Indianapolis Colts quarterback break Marino’s record for touchdowns in a single season with 49 while throwing only 10 interceptions. Manning also stepped aside long enough to allow backup Jim Sorgi to throw two TD passes!
Tom Brady – 50, New England Patriots 2007
2007 was a near perfect season for the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. While going undefeated during the regular season, Brady threw 50 touchdown passes, exceeding the mark set by his rival, Peyton Manning. Brady threw 23 touchdown passes to Randy Moss who had his own career year for the Patriots. Unfortunately for Brady, the perfect season came to an end versus the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
Peyton Manning – 55, Denver Broncos 2013
Throwing 55 touchdown passes in one season is amazing, even for Peyton Manning. It is hard to overstate the season that Manning has had for the Denver Broncos. Manning himself said that the record is made to be broken and that someone will indeed break it one day especially if the regular season is expanded to 18 games. However, it will likely be sometime before four different receivers on the same team catch at least 10 touchdown passes in a single season. Manning certainly had an outstanding 2013 campaign, which will likely earn him his fifth NFL MVP award, but his receiving core of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas more than held up their end of the bargain.
Dwight is a fan of all things football.