The 2004 season has been a very memorable one for Peyton Manning. He is going to pass Dan Marino’s 48 touchdown passes by a quarterback in the regular season. Peyton Manning still has a long NFL career to go, but he is already breaking records. He is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL today without a doubt.
Chris Yandek: Do you feel your upcoming touchdown record passing Dan Marino as far as the spastics in general are maybe less impressive because of all of the rule changes and the way illegal contact on wide receivers is called now compared to when Dan Marino played?
Peyton Manning: “I do not. I really don’t feel like the rule change has had any effect on our offense. I can’t speak for other teams and for other quarterbacks. We’ve always been a very aggressive, down-the-field offense, always been able to stretch defenses. We’ve always had success in the passing game. This year’s really no different. So, as far as my personal perspective, kind of the way I see things, kind of the way I feel there out on the field, I don’t really see any change, to tell you the truth.”
CY: Don Shula was always a big influence on Dan Marino as he continued to pass Fran Tarkenton’s records. What influence or what has Indianapolis Colts head Tony Dungy said to you about passing the record and your thoughts on Tony Dungy as a coach overall.
PM: “That’s funny, he and I really haven’t spoken about it. It’s not something that comes up in meetings or in game plan meetings. Obviously the passing game is a big part of our offense. The whole goal is to score touchdowns, whether you’re throwing them or passing them. As far as Coach Dungy, like I said, I have tremendous respect for him just as a coach. He’s our leader. I think the team has really responded to his discipline, his style of coaching. I am really proud that he’s my head coach.”
CY: How do you think you and Dan Marino are similar as quarterbacks?
PM: “Like I said, I’m such a big quarterback fan, I have tremendous respect for all the quarterbacks that have played at a high level for their whole careers. The thing about Dan Marino that always stood out to me, he was an excellent player every single year. I think the word “great” is thrown out a little too much now. I think if a guy has a great season, it doesn’t make him a great player. But my goal is to improve every single year, to have consecutive seasons where I’m playing at a high level. I feel that I have done that, because I’ve gotten better every single year. That’s the thing about Dan Marino, he was an excellent player every single season for 17 years. That’s the goal for any player – to play for a long time and to play at a high level every year. I’m in the middle of my career, but that is my goal.
CY: What has your father Archie Manning and brother Eli Manning said about the record?
PM: “Nothing earth-shattering there. Like I said, it just hasn’t come up a whole lot.”