Peyton Manning has already accomplished plenty of notable feats during his prolific NFL tenure, but there are still a few mountains left for the 39-year-old quarterback to climb before he calls it a career. Peyton can become the all-time leader in wins for a quarterback with a triumph Sunday in Indy, and he can set the all-time passing yards mark with 284 yards.
So, which record for Manning is the most important: Passing yards, wins or touchdowns?
Wins record makes him model of consistent excellence
Football records are silly. Baseball has gone through the dead-ball era, the live-ball era and the steroid era, but milestones such as 3,000 hits, 500 home runs and 300 victories still mean something. Ever since the NFL was conceived in Ralph Hay's Hupmobile showroom in 1920, the sport has become increasingly pass-heavy with each successive generation. Manning's 72,000 yards and 540 touchdowns will lose their meaning in the future when another exceptional quarterback shatters them. I don't pay much attention to single-season win totals, but it speaks volumes that Manning has more career victories than any quarterback in history. A model of consistent excellence, Manning is the greatest regular-season passer the game has ever seen. -- Chris Wesseling
Passing yards is most telling record for Manning
Football is the ultimate team sport, so the wins record feels too team-dependent for this answer. If we are only judging by wins, Russell Wilson has been the best quarterback in the NFL since he was drafted. Yards is also far from perfect, but it's the most telling Manning record because it rewards his longevity and consistency.
Manning is likely the greatest regular-season quarterback in NFL history, which sounds like a backhanded compliment. It shouldn't be. Sixteen-game chunks are the best way we have to measure players. Manning's ability to perform year after year without any Andrew Luck-like slips has highlighted Manning's incredible preparation, consistency and ability to put his team in position to win titles. Anything can happen in the playoffs, but Manning puts his team into the tournament annually with a chance to get a Super Bowl. When it comes to throwing the ball, there are quarterbacks with bigger arms and faster releases. No one has been any better moving the ball and scoring points. That's a quarterback's primary job. *-- Gregg Rosenthal *
Touchdowns matter most due to record's potential longevity
I'm tempted to say wins, but if this is Manning's last season, the record should be broken by Tom Brady the year after. Manning is very much in tune with his legacy and he'd like to lay down a record that will take a long time to be broken. Both his yards mark and his touchdown mark should stand for quite some time assuming Brady and Brees don't have an insane tear in their late 30s, so we'll go with touchdowns because, for some reason, it feels less dependent on the wide receivers he's played with. We're not going out on a limb here by saying Manning will go down as one of the five best quarterbacks to ever play the game, but he's a victim of timing. Brady's Super Bowl collection and his close distance in many of these categories makes for an interesting discussion. Touchdowns, though, should be a record that Manning keeps for quite some time. -- Conor Orr
Wins make compelling case for him being best ever
Football heads regularly tell us that wins and losses should not be a stat connected to a quarterback. Gimme a break. Here are the top 10 winningest quarterbacks in history: Manning, Favre, Brady, Elway, Marino, Tarkenton, Unitas, Brees, Montana and Roethlisberger. All Hall of Famers or soon-to-be Hall of Famers. This is not a chicken or egg debate. Playing the game's most important position, Manning and friends almost single-handedly dictated the sustained success of their respective teams for years and years. That Manning will soon top that list is a testament to his greatness and why you can make a compelling case for him being the best ever. Manning has presided over 14 teams that have won 10 or more games in a season. He is the golden ticket to relevance for any team he touches. Just ask the 2011 Colts. -- Dan Hanzus
None of the above
Credit Peyton Manning's longevity and quality of play for allowing him to zone in on more records. However, wins aren't a quarterback stat and passing yards are skewed because of rule changes in the modern NFL -- which could lead to it being broken more quickly this time around. At this point Manning can gobble up all the records he wants, the only thing that will change the narrative of his career is another Super Bowl, or four. Peyton has been great for nearly two decades, but I really do not care about either record he could break Sunday.* --Kevin Patra*
All that's left for Manning to do is win a Super Bowl. The yardage and touchdowns and regular-season wins are fine, but Peyton doesn't want to live out the rest of his life as the brother who won fewer championships than Eli. Nearing 40, he's only here to lift the Lombardi one more time. Throwing a few more scores won't make up for another January disappointment. Next question. -- Marc Sessler