With the 2017 NFL season less than a month away, the CBS Top 5 turns its focus to one of the league’s most cherished individual records – the most passing touchdowns by a quarterback in a single regular season.
TOP FIVE NFL SINGLE-SEASON TOUCHDOWN PASSES
5. Drew Brees – 46 (2011)
The New Orleans Saints’ Super Bowl XLIV (2009) MVP has moved into third place on the all-time list of passing touchdown leaders, bumping Dan Marino into fifth spot and skipping ahead of Tom Brady. Brees edged out Aaron Rodgers for the passing touchdown title in 2011 by one, while he finished with 43 the following season (eighth all-time). He also set a new NFL record for most consecutive games with a TD pass (54).
4. Dan Marino – 48 (1984)
Playing in just his second NFL season, 22-year-old Marino crushed Y.A. Tittle’s record of 36 touchdown passes for the New York Giants in 1963. The Miami Dolphins legend’s new mark stood for 20 years, while his record of 420 career TD passes (1983-99) stood until broken by Brett Favre in 2007. After leading the Dolphins to the AFC championship in that unforgettable ’84 season, Marino suffered a 38-16 loss to the 49ers in Super Bowl XIX and was destined never to win a Super Bowl ring in his illustrious career.
3. Peyton Manning – 49 (2004)
Named the NFL’s MVP for the second year running, Manning eclipsed Marino’s long-standing record in another stellar season for the Colts that ended in the Wild Card game. Manning’s previous best season TD pass total was 33 in 2000.
2. Tom Brady – 50 (2007)
‘Tom Terrific’, already a three-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, grabbed another distinguished achievement by becoming the first player in NFL history to rack up 50 TD passes in a season, winning his first MVP award in the process. The season ended in disappointment for the 30-year-old Brady as his Patriots were edged out by Eli Manning and the Giants 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII. Brady currently sits fourth on the all-time touchdown passing list behind Peyton Manning, Favre and Brees.
1. Peyton Manning – 55 (2013)
The 37-year-old Manning – who joined the Denver Broncos in 2012 – reclaimed the record from Brady in 2013, collecting his fifth MVP award along the way. He also equalled the all-time record for most TD passes in one game with seven against defending champions the Baltimore Ravens in the opening game of the season, but the Broncos were thumped 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII by Russell Wilson’s Seattle Seahawks. Manning overtook Favre (508) as the most prolific TD passer in NFL history in 2014.