They might be right. And they might not.
Packers quarterback Brett Favre ended Dan Marino’s 13-year run as the NFL’s all-time career touchdown leader Sunday when he hit second-year receiver Greg Jennings with a 16-yard slant during the first quarter of the Packers’ 23-16 victory over the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome.
As has been his custom throughout his career, Favre treated the record like he would broccoli, rather indifferently.
"To be mentioned in the same breath as Dan and the other guys is quite an honor,’’ said Favre. "To me that is more important the record.’’
If the Colts’ Peyton Manning continues at his current clip, Favre won’t hold the record for even half as long as Marino.
But a lot of that will depend how long Favre continues to play, play well and if his team ever rediscovers how to run the football.
Today, though, Favre is rolling. He’s on pace to throw 32 TDs this season, which would be the most since he led the NFL with that number in 2003. The growing belief around Green Bay is this will not be his swan song, and if he and the team continue to play well he will be back for Year 18 of his certain hall of fame career.
If Favre would happen to maintain his current pace, and if he would return in 2008 and throw around 20 more, he could retire with roughly 465 career touchdowns. That’s if he would walk away after 2008.
Of the top 30 touchdown artists of all time, Manning is the only active player in that group with 280 heading into Sunday’s play, ranking seventh on the all-time list.
In Favre’s 17 seasons, the first of which he attempted only four passes in Atlanta without a TD, Favre has averaged 27 touchdowns a year heading into 2007. He’s had eight seasons of 30 or more, with a high of 39.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
Go beyond Manning, and there’s no one else that’s even in the neighborhood. New England’s Tom Brady, now in his eighth season, had 147 career TDs heading into 2007. But that only works out to an average of 21 a year, so unless he plans on playing past 50, you can rule him out.
The only other player you could even consider is Cincinnati’s Carson Palmer, who has averaged 26 TDS a year through his first three seasons. But he’s also playing on a reconstructed knee and will never be confused with Vince Young, making his chances of remaining an every Sunday player for the next 13 years or so seem awfully remote.
If Manning somehow stumbles, though, Favre’s record could last a long, long time. He remains driven after 17 years of playing the toughest position in his sport. He still manages to find the fun in the game. His desire to be the best has never swayed.
Guys with those qualities just don’t happen by everyday. Add to that his ability to show up every Sunday and play, and his career has been a perfect storm of sorts.
Manning may one day see an even higher level of perfection. But that’s a lot of years yet where things will have to go almost perfectly. If they don’t, he will remain the prince.
Which means, until further notice, long live the king.
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