The Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers square off on Sunday Night Football with each team a half game out of first place in their respective divisions. The Broncos are seven point favorites at home, and both teams remain among the betting favorites to reach the Super Bowl. The big story Sunday is Peyton Manning’s quest to be the NFL’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns. He currently has 506 TD passes, just two behind Brett Favre. Manning has thrown for at least three touchdowns in four of the Broncos’ five games (he threw two in the other game). The closest active players to Manning are Drew Brees and Tom Brady, who both have 372 career TDs.
Football stats and records don’t hold the same mythical status that they do in baseball. Baseball fans revel in the idea of 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, at least until the steroid era. They can recite hit totals for Ty Cobb (4,191, later revised to 4,189) or Pete Rose’s all-time record of 4,256. Fans know the home run totals of Barry Bonds (763) or Hank Aaron (755). But even your most die hard NFL fans would have trouble rattling off Emmitt Smith’s career rushing record of 18.355 or Marino’s TD mark before this season when it started to get attention with Manning approaching the mark. Manning’s career has been defined by excellence and he has the opportunity to retire with the records for most of the major career passing categories. Here are some of the numbers on and off-the-field that define Manning’s career.