Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is having an MVP season and may break the records for passing yards and passing touchdowns this season. But Texans coach Wade Phillips says Manning is having more than just a great season. He’s having the greatest season.
“Just the best year ever of any quarterback,’’ Phillips told ESPN.com.
Asked what he’s seen from Manning this season, Phillips said, “What haven’t you seen? Guy is going to set every record that’s ever been in the books as far as touchdown passes, yards, four touchdown games, it goes on and on.’’
Calling this the best season ever is a bold statement, but it may be true. With two more good games, Manning’s stats from this year will compare favorably with the stats from other great quarterback seasons, like Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers in 2011, Tom Brady in 2007 and Manning himself in 2004. Of course, in today’s NFL, it feels like every other year a quarterback is putting up numbers that put him in contention for the greatest ever.
Dan Marino’s 1984 season is the gold standard because he re-wrote the record book at a time when the NFL rules weren’t designed to allow quarterbacks to re-write the record books. Marino threw for 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns that season; only one passer that year came within 1,000 yards of him, and no one came within 15 touchdowns. (Six quarterbacks are within 1,000 yards and one is within 15 touchdowns of Manning this year.)
Steve Young’s great 1994 season deserves mention, as does Joe Montana in 1989 and Kurt Warner in 1999. Going further back, Johnny Unitas in 1959 and Y.A. Tittle in 1963 are in the discussion.
But you can certainly make a case that Manning’s 2013 season is better than any other quarterback has ever had. As he studies Manning’s tape to prepare for their meeting on Sunday, that’s Phillips’s conclusion.