If the Broncos beat the Seahawks on Sunday, Peyton Manning will become the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl after leading the NFL in passing yardage and passing touchdowns during the regular season. He paced the league in impressive fashion in 2013, setting new single-season records in both categories, with 5,477 passing yards and 55 passing touchdowns.
While no quarterback has ever won a Super Bowl after leading the league in those two categories, the Houston Oilers' George Blanda won an AFL title in 1961 as the league's leader in both yardage and touchdowns. The AFL had just eight teams at the time, making Blanda's accomplishment significantly less impressive than Manning's.
With Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers owning six Super Bowl titles between them, it can hardly be argued that statistical proficiency at the quarterback position doesn't lead to winning. However, quarterbacks on elite teams generally don't need to throw often enough to lead the league in both passing yardage and touchdowns. Drew Brees topped both categories in both 2011 and 2012, but his Saints lost a memorable playoff game to the 49ers in 2011, then missed the playoffs altogether in 2012.
It's a great testament to Manning's efficiency that he was able to lead the league in yardage and touchdowns, despite nursing a number of second-half leads as the Broncos cruised to 13-3 and a No. 1 seed. Now, he has a chance to make history, but he'll have to do so against the stingy Seattle defense.