Peyton Manning threw his 500th career touchdown during Denver’s game on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, marking a significant milestone for the quarterback. Thanks today’s pass, Manning has become the second QB in history to throw 500 touchdowns. The record is currently held by Brett Favre with 508 TD passes, though Peyton is expected to surpass Favre and claim the number one spot for most career TDs.
Manning’s 7-yard pass to Julius Thomas rounded out the career tally, and it marked the second time that Thomas assisted Peyton in a record-setting pass. Julius also caught Manning’s 51st pass of the 2013 season, and the player nearly tarnished that particular historic moment. After catching the ball, the tight end dropped it in a moment of absent-mindedness, only to be picked up by wide receiver Eric Decker. Thomas told ESPN that this time, there was no way he was going to forget to hold on to the ball.
“This time I remembered”, said Julius. “This time, no way was I going to forget. I’m just fortunate to have been on the receiving end to the kind of plays people will remember about Peyton Manning.”
Manning’s big touchdown pass came during his 244th regular season game, and notably it took Peyton 49 fewer games than record-holder Favre to reach 500.
“Throwing touchdowns is a part of playing football,” Peyton told ESPN. “But I guess for me, throwing touchdowns has helped teams I’ve been a part of win a lot of football games. I don’t think I’ve thrown a lot of touchdowns that didn’t mean something. Any time you have a big lead, all the years I played in Indianapolis, the coaches would always take us out, and if we were getting bad they’d take us out, so any ones that I’ve thrown usually resulted in our team trying to win the game or win the game, so I think about it that way.”
After the game, Manning took time to reflect on the significance of the moment.
“I do think about how many people have helped throughout my career with something like that and just how grateful I am for that help and support,” Peyton said. “Football is the ultimate team game, and so I guess one man kind of has to accept it, but I kind of accept on behalf of a lot of coaches and teammates.”
Peyton Manning’s former coach and current Cardinals coach Bruce Arians spoke highly of the quarterback despite his team losing the game. “My hat’s off to Peyton. He played a great game.”