Peyton Manning's 2013 Season Will Rank Among All-Time Best with Super Bowl Win

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVDecember 26, 2013

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 22:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos celebrates as he walks off the field after setting the NFL record for touchdown passes in a season with 51 in a 37-13 defeat of the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The season that Peyton Manning has had in 2013 will already go down as one of the best in NFL history, but he could put it on the short list with his second Super Bowl ring. 

The Denver Broncos star quarterback has broken a handful of single-season records, and the season isn't even over yet. Heading into Week 17, he has the opportunity to break even more. 

Of course, most glaring is the touchdown record for a single season that now belongs to Manning for a second time. He has 51 touchdowns through 15 games, breaking Tom Brady's record of 50. 

He has eight four-touchdown games this season and could get No. 9 before it's all said and done. The previous record was six. 

Throwing more touchdown passes than any other quarterback ever has in a season is quite the resume builder for Manning's case of 2013 being the best for a QB in league history. But that's far from the only impact he made.

It's been forgotten about in the midst of other history, but Manning can actually break the single-season passing-yards record if he has another productive game against Oakland in Week 17. 

To break Drew Brees' record of 5,746 from his epic 2011 season, Manning—who currently boasts 5,211 yards—will need 265 yards through the air versus the Oakland Raiders. He threw for 374 against Oakland in their only season meeting.

What makes Manning's greatness even better is his ability to make other players stars, and Broncos media relations director Patrick Smyth summed up how Denver made history in that department, too:

In order to have an all-time great year, you have to blow away the competition from that year at a convincing rate. Manning did just that, per Yahoo! Sports' Frank Schwab:

It's already an unforgettable season full of history-making and record-breaking, but there's just one thing that will lift Manning's 2013 season even higher than before—the big one.

Manning already has enough motivation to get his second ring after seeing brother Eli Manning get No. 2, but it would truly put the icing on the cake for 2013 and give it quite the case as the best season in history.

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 22:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos works out on the field prior to the start of the game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Brees' aforementioned 2011 season has got to be up there. He shattered (at the time) the single-season record for passing yardage and threw 46 touchdowns (fifth all time) all while completing 71.2 percent of his passes. But there was no Super Bowl ring, as the New Orleans Saints lost in the divisional round of the playoffs. 

Dan Marino in 1984 can't go without being mentioned in the conversations of best seasons ever. He rewrote the history books, becoming the first to pass for over 5,000 yards while throwing 48 touchdowns—the previous record was 36.

But Marino's Miami Dolphins lost the Super Bowl. 

Tom Brady's season in 2007, when he became the first to throw 50 TDs, has to be up there, considering his New England Patriots went undefeated. The younger Manning knows how that worked out in the Super Bowl, as Brady's epic season was left ring-less. 

See a trend here? 

If Manning leads the Broncos to a Super Bowl, he could do what very few quarterbacks ever have—put up a historic regular season and win the Super Bowl. That would do wonders in the argument of whose season is the best in NFL history.

Even if Manning disappoints again by seeing his team bow out in the playoffs, this season will go down as one of the best ever. That argument will be there whether or not he wins another game.

But he would make quite the case for the best season for a quarterback in league history if he put a ring on it.


Note: Statistics courtesy of