Manning left impressive statistical legacy

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
8:04
PM ET

Tom Hauck/Getty ImagesPeyton Manning and the Colts will head their separate ways for the 2012 season.
The Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning will reportedly part ways on Wednesday, with the Colts declining a roster bonus that will make Manning a free agent.

This will end Manning’s association with the franchise with which he made his mark in the NFL. Let’s take a look at the news from a few statistical perspectives.

What Manning meant to the Colts
From 1984 to 1997, the Colts won less than 40 percent of their regular-season games and just one division title. With Manning at quarterback from 1998 to 2010, they won nearly 70 percent of the time, won their division eight times, and won a Super Bowl.

The Colts tied an NFL record with nine straight playoff appearances from 2002 to 2010, matching the mark set by the Dallas Cowboys from 1975 to 1983. Their run of nine straight seasons with at least 10 wins in that span is tied for the second best in NFL history, behind the San Francisco 49ers' run of 16 straight from 1983 to 1998.

Manning’s 54,828 passing yards and 399 touchdown passes for the Colts are the third most in NFL history by a quarterback for a single team. He trailed only Brett Favre’s contributions to the Green Bay Packers and Dan Marino’s totals for the Miami Dolphins in both of those stats.

Career in historical perspective
Manning is tied for the NFL’s all-time record for most career games with at least 300 passing yards with 63 and holds the NFL mark for most seasons of at least 4,000 yards passing with 11. His 141 wins as a starter are the fourth most in NFL history, 45 behind Favre.

Manning is the only player in NFL history to win four NFL MVP awards, as voted on by The Associated Press.

Manning started the first 208 games of his NFL career. That’s the second-longest streak by a quarterback at any point in his career in NFL history, behind only Favre’s 297.

Manning’s Future

Manning will turn 36 on March 24. How have quarterbacks fared in their “age 36 season” (meaning they were 36 by Dec. 31)?

There were 34 quarterbacks with at least 300 pass attempts at age 36:
- 16 led their team to the postseason
- 15 threw at least 20 touchdown passes
- 12 threw for more than 3,000 yards.

The Elias Sports Bureau provided us with a list of notable passing stats for any quarterback since 1970 who played in the NFL, then missed at least one entire season, and then returned to the NFL.

Of those, Gary Danielson had the most passing yards (3,223) and most wins (9) after returning, doing so for the 1980 Lions.

One of the key questions when Manning returns will be about his ability to throw the deep ball. Over the three seasons from 2008 to 2010, Manning rated below average on pass attempts of 20 yards or more, completing just 32 percent. That ranked 28th among the 47 quarterbacks with at least 50 such throws in that span.

The Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins and New York Jets are among Manning’s rumored suitors. The Dolphins have had 16 starting quarterbacks since the start of the 2000 season, tied with the Bears for the most in the NFL in that span.

Manning figures to be a Hall of Fame inductee when his career is done. Only three Hall of Fame quarterbacks have won the Super Bowl with one team, than finished their career with another -- Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath and Joe Montana.

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