While those records are impressive, they aren’t entirely untouchable — and Drew Brees is the most likely candidate to assume that mantle.
One way we can guesstimate his chances of overtaking Manning is by using the favorite toy, a formula created by Bill James that calculates the probability a player achieves a cumulative statistical goal based on his established level of production and projected years remaining.
Brees has 60,903 passing yards and needs 11,038 more to become the yardage king, giving him a 30.7 percent chance of amassing 71,941 yards over the next two seasons. Matthew Stafford has the next best chance (17.7 percent) followed by Matt Ryan (13.6 percent) and Ben Roethlisberger (3.8 percent).
Brees also has the best — as small as it may be — chance to replace Manning as the all-time passing touchdown leader. Brees has 428 career passing touchdowns and needs 112 to best Manning’s mark, giving Brees a 3.84 percent chance at success — slightly more than Stafford, the next most likely successor.
The only thing standing in Brees’s way is age and opportunity. At 37 years old, the favorite toy projects him to play between two and three more seasons, but his contract expires after the 2016 campaign.
Over the past decade, three quarterbacks have attempted at least 100 passes at age 40 or older: Vinny Testaverde (2007), Brett Favre (2009 and 2010), and Matt Hasselbeck (2015). If Brees can make his way onto that list, he could find himself leading two of the most important statistical categories in the NFL.