While much of the attention in the NFL is being given to Tebow and the Broncos, a quartet of elite quarterbacks led by Aaron Rodgers are closing in on the single season passing record held by Dan Marino. As AP reported:
Dan Marino long ago moved to the comfort of the broadcast booth. His passing record of 5,084 yards, set in 1984, has withstood strong-armed challenges for more than a quarter-century.
It looks as if that record is about to fall, and not at the hands of one prolific quarterback but as many as four.
Drew Brees, who came closest to it in 2009, falling 15 yards short, leads the chase at 4,368 yards, followed by Tom Brady with 4,273 and Aaron Rodgers with 4,125. Imagine how Eli Manning feels having 4,105, yet being fourth in this lineup.
Only Marino and Brees have reached 5,000 yards passing in a season, yet all four of these players figure to get there if they remain in the lineup. There’s always the chance the Packers will rest Rodgers once they have clinched home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs, which could come with a win this weekend at Kansas City. Then again, they do have that undefeated thing going, so maybe he won’t be seeing the sideline all that much.
Brady’s Patriots and Brees’ Saints are in a different situation. Both their teams could need to win the rest of the way to reach as advantageous a postseason position as possible. Neither has clinched its division, although New Orleans owns at least a wild-card spot in the NFC, and one more victory gives New England the AFC East.
Manning, barring injury, won’t be sitting out anything with the Giants needing to sweep their final three games to assure making the playoffs.
Manning is playing with an ease and confidence usually associated with, well, Brady and Brees, recently with Rodgers, and with that guy in Indianapolis named Peyton. Plus, he might need to get to 5,000 yards to keep the Giants in the championship mix.
“I don’t ever feel pressure when I’m playing football,” Manning said. “I know my assignments, I’m reading the defense, I know my plays and I try to make plays and try to get the ball into my receivers’ hands and let them do their job. It’s exciting, it’s fun. I’m competitive and I’m out there doing what I can to get a win.”
So, gentlemen, let ‘er rip.
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