Power Ranking Peyton Manning's Top 5 Seasons, Where Does 2012 Rank?

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst IDecember 7, 2012

Power Ranking Peyton Manning's Top 5 Seasons, Where Does 2012 Rank?

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    After power ranking Peyton Manning's five best seasons, I've come to one definitive conclusion.

    My head hurts. 

    Seriously, while conducting comprehensive, Tylenol-inducing Manning research, I felt that I was doing a disservice to myself, readers and Manning himself by slighting any of his seasons, save 1998.

    However, lists are fun, and with the way Peyton has played so far in 2012, many have wondered how it stacks up to the rest of his stunning campaigns.

    Let's take a look.

    (All statistics courtesy of ProFootballReference.com)

Honorable Mention: 2003 and 2010

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    2003 Record: 12-4

    379-of-566 (67%), 4,267 yards, 29 TD, 10 INT

    Manning's 2003 season just missed the cut, which seems sacrilegious to the football gods. 

    Please, gods, do not punish me. 

    That stat line is a career year for about 90 percent of the quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL.

    To take the statistics a step further, Manning threw a touchdown on 5.1 percent of his passes while throwing an interception on only 1.8 percent of his throws. That is, the second-lowest percentage of his career. His final QB rating of 99 was the fifth-highest he's recorded in a season, which really puts everything into perspective.

    Manning also led three fourth-quarter comebacks and four game-winning drives in the fourth quarter. 

    2010 Record: 10-6

    450-of-679 (66.3%), 4,700 yards, 33 TD, 17 INT

    The Colts really needed Manning in 2010, hence the relatively lackluster 10-6 record and borderline outrageous number of attempts. 

    The 450 completions were the most in his career, as were the 293.8 passing yards per game he averaged.

    A fine year at 34 for Peyton. 

No. 5: 2005

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    Record: 14-2

    305-of-453 (67.3%), 3,747, 28 TD, 10 INT

    Compared to other years, Manning's numbers weren't incredibly gaudy in 2005. However, it was one of the most efficient seasons of his career. 

    The Colts were so good that Manning didn't need to feverishly throw the football, thereby leading to his second-lowest passing-yard-per-game average.

    Throwing a touchdown on 6.2 percent of his passes was the second-highest percentage of his career, though. Furthermore, his 104.1 QB rating was only outdone by an absolutely ridiculous 121.1 rating in 2004, a masterpiece of a season which will be outlined later. 

No. 4: 2006

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    Record: 12-4

    362-of-557 (65%), 4,397 yards, 31 TD, 9 INT

    Finishing a year with a 65 percent completion rate is considered substandard when you look at the rest of Manning's resume.

    However, with 275 passing yards per game, an insanely low average of throwing an interception on 1.6 percent of his passes, four fourth-quarter comebacks and four fourth-quarter game-winning drives, you realize 2006 was quite the year for the Sheriff. 

No. 3: 2009

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    Record: 14-2

    393-of-571 (68.8%), 4,500 yards, 33 TD, 16 INT

    Entering the 2009 season at 33, some believed Manning's numbers would begin to wane.


    Though his 16 interceptions were the most he had thrown since 2002, his 68.8 completion percentage was and still is the highest of his career. 

    He led seven fourth-quarter comebacks and seven fourth-quarter game-winning drives, which, as you can probably guess, were both tops in the NFL that year. 

    The 281.3 passing yards per game and 99.9 QB rating weren't bad, either.

No. 2: 2012

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    Record: 10-3

    330-of-483 (68.3%), 3,812 yards, 30 TD, 10 INT

    Currently, Manning is on pace to complete 406 passes for a shade below 4,700 yards with 37 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. 

    After not playing a down in 2011 and coming off a serious neck injury at 36 years old, calling that projection remarkable would be an understatement. 

    Then again, if you haven't caught on to my theory by now that Peyton Manning may not actually be human, I can't help you. 

    The assortment of receiving talent around him is arguably the best he's ever had. Even so, the fact remains that Manning is having an epic campaign in 2012. 

No. 1: 2004

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    Record: 12-4

    336-of-556 (67%) 4,267 yards, 49 TD, 10 INT

    Where to start? 

    Manning broke Dan Marino's single-season touchdown record in 2004—we all know that—but other specific statistics were just as overwhelmingly impressive. 

    He threw a touchdown on 9.9 percent of his throws, more than a full percent higher than Marino's percentage in 1984 and Tom Brady's percentage in the nearly unfathomable 2007 season that broke Manning's touchdown record. 

    Peyton threw an interception on only 2.0 percent of his throws and had an astronomical yards-per-attempt average of 9.2. 

    He averaged 284.8 passing yards and finished the year with a 121.1 QB rating. 

    To cap everything off, No. 18 orchestrated two fourth-quarter comebacks and had four fourth-quarter game-winning drives.

    Gold standard?

    Oh yeah.