On the opening night of the 2013-14 NFL season, against the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, Peyton Manning became the sixth member of an elite NFL club by throwing seven touchdowns in a single game. It has been 44 years since that feat was last accomplished.
I have two things to point out today:
First, Peyton Manning is the man. He is without equal in today’s NFL. My apologies to Tom Brady, but no quarterback in the league calls a game, runs a game, manages a game, and plays a game on the same level as Peyton. He has mastered the tactical aspects of the game. He has instincts like no other. He reads defenses, understands tendencies, outfoxes the foxes and outplays the players. And all of this at the tail end of a marvelous career, AFTER sitting out an entire season and undergoing four neck surgeries.
Second, the NFL “back in the day,” contrary to perception, was more than three yards and a cloud of dust.
Despite the run-and-gun offenses introduced in the 1970s, despite the pass-to-set-up-the-run offenses of today, despite the offenses that simply forget about running the football and air it out, despite Dan Fouts, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Warren Moon, Brett Favre and a host of other trigger-happy gunslingers, no modern era QB had thrown for seven touchdowns in a game since Minnesota’s Joe Kapp did it in 1969.
Peyton Manning matched an NFL record with seven touchdown passes in a single game as the Denver Broncos throttled the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens 49-27 in the league’s regular season opener.
Manning joins a group of just six quarterbacks to have thrown for seven touchdowns in a game and is the first to do so since 1969. Sid Luckman (CHI, 1943), Adrian Burk (PHI, 1954), George Blanda (HOU, 1961), Y.A. Tittle (NYG, 1962) and Joe Kapp (MIN, 1969) are the only other quarterbacks to accomplish the feat. According to Randall Liu of the league’s communications staff, Manning joins Tittle as just the second to throw seven touchdowns without an interception.
It was the third time in Manning’s career he had thrown for at least six touchdowns in a game and the first time since 2004.
My conclusion? There were some ballers back in the day, but none better than the man of the hour, Peyton Manning.