Following a 20-18 victory over the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is poised to play in his fourth Super Bowl.
The former No. 1 overall pick has positioned himself well in the omnipresent debate over who is the greatest NFL quarterback of all time. A second title would go a long way toward helping his standing, but he’ll have his hands full against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
Leading up to the looming showdown, PointAfter opted to take a step back and look at Manning’s career through the lens of 25 numbers-driven facts. We’ll start with one (the amount of Super Bowl rings he’s won — at least at the time of writing) and finish with a number comfortably in eight digits.
1: Super Bowl Championship
Manning first made it to the final game of the season in 2007. As the signal caller for the Indianapolis Colts, he squared off against the Chicago Bears and quarterback Rex Grossman in Super Bowl XLI.
Though Grossman is a vastly inferior quarterback compared to Manning, the 2006 Bears actually finished No. 2 in the league in points per game under his guidance.
Return specialist Devin Hester brought the opening kickoff back 92 yards for a touchdown to put Chicago up 7-0. The Bears extended their lead up to 14-6 at the end of the first quarter, but ultimately Indy came out on top. The Colts outscored the Bears 23-3 in the final three quarters en route to a 29-17 victory. Manning was named Super Bowl MVP for completing 25-of-38 passes for 247 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Manning and his wife Ashley have twin children. Their daughter, Mosley, and son, Marshall, were born in 2011.
Marshall Manning recently stole the show at his dad’s postgame press conference by being just a tad bit bashful up at the podium.
3x: Passing Yards Leader
Manning has been consistently brilliant throughout a lengthy NFL career, passing for at least 4,000 yards in 14 different seasons. Despite that remarkable longevity, though, “The Sheriff” only led the league in passing yards on three occasions.
Manning did so for the first time as a 24-year-old with Indianapolis when he threw for 4,413 yards in 2000. He made it happen again three years later by racking up 4,267 yards through the air — more than 200 yards better than second-place QB Trent Green that season.
He made it happen a third (and no doubt final) time during a magical season as a member of the Denver Broncos — we’ll get to that later.
4x: Passing Touchdown Leader
With guys like Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and others surrounding Manning throughout his career, the signal caller has had no shortage of weapons to throw to on the outside.
It’s no surprise, then, that Manning found the end zone with enough frequency to lead his pass-happy peers in four different seasons: 2000 (33 touchdowns), 2004 (49), 2006 (31) and 2013 (55).
4: Super Bowl Berths
As stated earlier, Super Bowl 50 will be Manning’s fourth — and presumably final — appearance in the big game. Whether he puts a second title on his résumé or watches Newton celebrate (in fairness, he’ll likely see Cam celebrate at some point regardless), Manning has already put together an unbelievable career.
Of course, Manning’s perception has plenty to gain (or lose). While it’s still impressive that he made it to four Super Bowls, he carries a less-than-favorable reputation for not showing up with transcendent performances in the playoffs. Will he retire having lost three out of four Super Bowls?
5: MVP Awards
Having won five AP MVP awards throughout his career, Manning has collected more MVPs than any other player in NFL history.
Brett Favre, Jim Brown and Johnny Unitas all tie for second place with three MVPs, but none can compete with Manning in this category.
9: Early Playoff Exits
Those who fault Manning even though he’s won a title and reached four Super Bowls point to his shoddy postseason résumé. His career playoff record entering Super Bowl 50 of 13-13 isn’t bad, but while he ranks tied for fifth in wins among quarterbacks, his 13 losses are the most ever.
To play devil’s advocate, it’s the nature of the beast to lose a lot of playoff games when you’re guiding teams to the postseason year after year. There's no doubting Manning’s status as a future Hall of Famer, but those nine one-and-done exits certainly put a black mark on his historical standing.
14: Pro Bowls
Though being named the league’s Most Valuable Player five times is clearly the bigger accomplishment, finding his way to a whopping 14 Pro Bowls impresses on the basis of longevity.
While actually watching the Pro Bowl isn’t something many NFL fans do, knowing that Manning was good enough to be named the best of his peers for 14 years is remarkable nevertheless.
His 14 Pro Bowl selections is the most ever, tied with tight end Tony Gonzalez, defensive tackle Merlin Olsen and offensive lineman Bruce Matthews.
32: League Teams Defeated
Only Manning and Brett Favre hold the distinction as players who have beat every franchise in the NFL.
Following a 31-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts in 2014, Manning joined Favre by defeating team No. 32. Though he was second to accomplish that feat, Manning was the first quarterback to hand losses out to 31 different franchises.
39: Years Old
Manning’s age (at the time of writing) may not seem like a noteworthy figure on the surface. As Mark Twain once said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” But at 39, the older Manning brother is set to become the oldest quarterback in league history to start a Super Bowl.
Overall, age 39 wasn’t a great year for the future Hall of Famer, provided he threw nearly twice as many interceptions (17) as touchdowns (nine) during the regular season. Still, he went 7-2 as the starter during the season and helped guide his team to yet another Super Bowl.
55: Touchdown Passes
Back in 2013 — just two seasons removed from missing the entire year after undergoing a reported four neck surgeries (the fourth was left a secret) — Manning put together a season for the ages.
By passing for a league-high 55 touchdowns, the then-37-year-old set an all-time record for TD passes in a single season that still stands. A ridiculous four Broncos receivers finished the year with at least 10 receiving touchdowns with Manning at the helm: Demaryius Thomas (14), Julius Thomas (12), Eric Decker (11) and Wes Welker (10).
89: Career College TD Passes
While attending college at the University of Tennessee, where Manning built a reputation strong enough to become the No. 1 overall pick of the 1998 NFL Draft, the 6-foot-5 QB threw 89 touchdowns passes over the course of four seasons.
That figure still stands as the all-time record for a Tennessee quarterback. He threw 11 touchdowns as a freshman, 22 as a sophomore, 20 as a junior and 36 as a senior. The Volunteers went 11-2 his senior year, but ultimately got blown out in the Orange Bowl by Nebraska, 42-17.
112: Games with Passer Rating of 100+
Manning’s racked up an incredible 112 games in which he’s compiled a passer rating of 100 or better. That’s the most such games in NFL history — four ahead of Brett Favre and 10 ahead of Tom Brady.
In those 112 games, Manning’s teams went a ridiculous 102-10 for a winning percentage of 91.1 percent. His teams were virtually unbeatable when the “Omaha”-shouting maestro was at the top of his game.
Fun fact: Johnny Unitas had 37 such games and his teams went an undefeated 37-0 in them.
112: Touchdowns to One Receiver
Funnily enough, the obscure 112 figure represents Manning under two differing circumstances. In addition to being the amount of games Manning amassed with a passer rating at 100 or better, it also represents the record amount of TD connections between a quarterback-wide receiver combo.
In Manning’s case, he synced up with Marvin Harrison 112 times for touchdowns passes — the most ever between teammates during regular season play. Even historic combos like Steve Young and Jerry Rice, as well as Dan Marino and Mark Clayton, don’t come close.
Back in 2002, 30-year-old wideout Marvin Harrison hauled in 143 receptions — an NFL record that still stands. All 143 of those were thrown by Manning.
The pair synced up for 10 completions or more six separate times, maxing out at 150 yards receiving in the fifth game of the season.
158.3: Perfect Passer Rating
Passer rating is a statistic calculated using a player’s pass attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns and interceptions, working on a scale from 0 (the worst) to 158.3 (perfect).
In order to finish a game with that stellar 158.3 mark, a quarterback typically has to complete more than 70 percent of his passes (while tossing touchdowns on approximately 10 percent of throws), avoid throwing interceptions and keep yards per attempt above 10.
When setting the minimum amount of throws at 15, Manning ties with Kurt Warner by compiling three perfect games by the statistic.
251: Interceptions Thrown
The vast majority of statistics associated with Manning are positive — the natural outcome of a legendary career. Still, even Manning is human.
Manning was and is an expert of reading defenses and calling appropriate audibles to put teammates in a position to succeed. But his 251 INTs rank No. 9 all time among quarterbacks. Brett Favre, on the other hand, earned his “Gunslinger” moniker for taking risks and letting the football fly down field with regularity — he threw 336 picks to claim the top spot with room to spare.
Manning threw a lot mistakes (and plenty of ducks later in his career), but the good most certainly outweighed the bad.
450: Pass Completions in a Season
The most passes Manning completed in a season sits at 450. He hit the high-water mark twice: once for the Colts in 2010 and again for the Broncos in 2013. Both versions of Manning tie for third place all time behind Drew Brees, who completed 468 passes in 2011 and 456 attempts in 2014.
Again, give plenty of credit to Manning’s varied supporting cast, but he was one of the best in the business at hitting receivers in stride all over the field.
539: Career TD Passes
Manning is one of only two QBs to pass for at least 500 touchdowns in his career (in a recurring theme, Favre is the other).
Favre, however, has 508 compared to Manning’s 539, meaning The Sheriff reigns supreme.
953: Completions to One Receiver
In addition to collecting records for pass completions to one receiver in a season and touchdowns to a single wide receiver overall, the Manning-Harrison combo holds the record for most completions between a quarterback and wide receiver duo.
Manning to Harrison thrived via consistency, chemistry, longevity and, last but not least, raw talent.
5,477: Passing Yards in a Single Season
There are plenty of QB records in which Drew Brees manages to trump Manning. One instance where that isn’t the case is passing yards for a single season.
By tossing for 5,477 of them with Denver in 2013, Manning eclipsed Brees’ record by a single yard. Even though the NFL has been trending toward being a more pass-oriented league for some time, that’s going to be a tough mark for others to beat.
11,201: Passing Yards at Tennessee
By throwing 89 touchdowns while in college at Tennessee, Manning holds a school record that still stands — but that isn’t the only record lingering in Vols lore.
Additionally, Manning threw for 11,201 yards during his collegiate career — most ever by a Tennessee quarterback. Let’s just say his legacy extends beyond an illustrious NFL tenure.
71,940: Career Passing Yards
As is the case for Manning’s college numbers, the signal caller leads the pro circuit in both career passing touchdowns and career passing yards.
He overtook (guess who) Brett Favre in a 2015 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs via a four-yard completion to running back Ronnie Hillman out of the backfield.
$12 Million: 2015 Endorsement Money
According to Forbes, Manning earned $12 million in endorsements alone throughout the 2015 calendar year — which led all NFL players.
Even among those unfamiliar with the NFL who don’t follow football, Manning has become a household face via commercials for Nationwide and Papa John’s. Manning also has partnerships with Nike and Gatorade, per the Denver Post.
Say it with us, “Chicken parm you taste so good.”
$27 Million: Total 2015 Earnings
Including his $12 million earnings thanks to endorsement deals, Manning raked in $27 million in 2015, per Forbes.
That put Manning behind only Ben Roethlisberger, Ndamukong Suh, Carson Palmer and J.J. Watt among NFL players and slotted him No. 32 overall among the world’s athletes.