The NFL has heavily shifted to a pass first league over the last decade or two. This has put an emphasis on the quarterback position and if you don’t believe me you should see how much they get paid. So, what is the record for most passing touchdowns in a season? The answer is 55 set by quarterback Peyton Manning.
Most Passing Touchdowns in a Single Season
Manning passed for 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards during the 2013 NFL season while playing for the Denver Broncos. That’s a video game number if you think about it. That means Peyton averaged over three touchdowns per game over the course of the 16-game regular season.
If you can remember, this was the year that the Broncos had one of the most prolific offense of all time but failed to put up double digits in the Superbowl that year against the Seattle Seahawks. Yes, Seattle had a historically great defense in 2013 but putting up only 8 points when averaging 38 is weak. That Broncos team scored 606 points in the regular season which is the most ever recorded by a team.
Peyton Manning’s NFL Career
Manning can be labeled as the best regular season quarterback of all time. Just look at his number and notice how consistent they are. I’m not just talking about his stats but also his team wins. Football is a team sport, but we all know how much fluctuation a team has from year to year. He was also well known for having a historic rivalry with longtime New England Patriots Tom Brady.
From 2002 on, Manning’s teams never had fewer than ten wins. That’s 13 straight years of playoff teams minus 2011 when he missed the year due to a neck injury. Going even further, he his teams had twelve or more wins 11 out of the 13 seasons during that stretch. What was the one consistent thing on all those teams? You guessed it – Peyton Manning.
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Manning also led the NFL in most passing touchdowns in a season on four separate occasions!
Manning in the Playoffs
In my opinion, Manning definitely cracks the top five quarterbacks of all time and the only reason he isn’t number one is because he only had two Superbowl victories. It was more of an argument five years ago but now that Tom Brady has half a dozen rings it’s an unwinnable argument. Brady is also playing into his 40s due to extensive focus regarding his workout and nutrition.
Two Superbowl wins is nothing to scoff at but it’s the large amount of playoff blunders that hurt Peyton’s resume. A big difference between him and Brady is the first few years as a starter. Brady reached the top of the mountain three times in his first four season starting for the Patriots. Meanwhile it took Manning six seasons to get his first playoff win, despite being in the playoffs three out of his first five years.
The good news is the Manning seemed to find his footing after his first Superbowl victory in 2006. Counting the 2006 Superbowl year, he went 11-7 in his final 18 playoff games. This includes a 4-0 record in AFC Championships, beating Brady three times in those games. It looks like Peyton became more and more clutch as his career went on.