Two all-star quarterbacks will be featured this Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS) as four-time NFL MVP PEYTON MANNING and his Denver Broncos face the defending-AFC champion New England Patriots led by two-time NFL MVP TOM BRADY.
"You are talking about greatness on the field with two guys that have done things that nobody else has ever done at the position," says NFL Network analyst and former NFL head coach STEVE MARIUCCIon quarterbacks Brady and Manning.
Brady, who is in his 13th NFL campaign and Manning, who is a 15-year NFL veteran, rank among NFL elite at the quarterback position and continue to move up the league's record books.
"They both have had tremendous impact by playing the quarterback position at such a high level for so many years," says CBS Sports' NFL TODAY analyst and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback DAN MARINO. "They really brought the position to new levels."
Manning ranks fourth in NFL history with 143 wins, while Brady's 126 wins are the fifth-most in league history among starting quarterbacks. Only BRETT FAVRE (186) and Hall of Famers JOHN ELWAY (148) and Marino (147) have more wins.
This will mark only the second time in NFL history that two starting quarterbacks with 125 career regular-season wins each meet in a game. The previous matchup featured Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins versus John Elway of the Denver Broncos on December 21, 1998.
MOST CAREER WINS AS STARTING QB
The veteran quarterbacks also rank third (Manning) and fifth (Brady) respectively for most touchdown passes in NFL history. The matchup on Sunday will be the first time ever that two starting quarterbacks will enter a game with 300 TD passes.
MOST CAREER TD PASSES
A look at key attributes of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning:
"He plays the game hard with knowledge and passion. He is a guy that is very competitive, makes those around him better and has won." *– CBS' NFL TODAY analyst and Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO.* **
"He has changed the position from a winning standpoint. What he's done for the period of time in New England, not just winning year-in and year-out, game-in and game-out, but also being in five Super Bowls is unbelievable. His level of success on the field is second-to-none." *– NFL Network analyst and former NFL MVP KURT WARNER.* **
*"He's like a coach on the field where he gets his team in the right place mostly every time; lining them up, running the no-huddle offense and being so competitive." *– CBS' NFL TODAY analyst and Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO.
"The greatest attribute of Peyton Manning is his ability to really understand what defenses are doing to him. He's able to react before the snap. That's what is unique about him. A lot of guys can react after the snap, but very few can have that understanding before the snap." – NFL Network analyst and former NFL MVP KURT WARNER.
47 AND COUNTING: BREES CAN PASS UNITAS ON SUNDAY NIGHT
On Sunday night in New Orleans, Saints quarterback DREW BREES can make NFL history.
With a touchdown pass against the San Diego Chargers, his former team, Brees will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHNNY UNITAS (47 games) for the most consecutive games with a touchdown pass with a streak of 48 games in a row.
Comparable to JOE DI MAGGIO's 56-game hitting streak, Unitas threw a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games from
December 9, 1956 to December 4, 1960 for the Baltimore Colts. Unitas surpassed the previous mark held by CECIL ISBELL (22 games) on November 30, 1958 and held sole possession of the record for 19,663 days before Brees tied the mark last Sunday with a three-touchdown performance at Green Bay.
Brees has thrown 114 touchdowns during his streak, 12 more than Unitas (102) did during his run. However, Unitas averaged 25.5 yards per touchdown pass while Brees has averaged 18.0 yards per TD. A look at each quarterback's numbers during their 47-game streaks:
During their streaks, Unitas threw a TD pass to seven different players while Brees has connected with 15 players.
Among Unitas' seven recipients were two Pro Football Hall of Famers (RAYMOND BERRY and LENNY MOORE) and a current NFL owner (Carolina's JERRY RICHARDSON). Three players caught at least 25 touchdown passes from Unitas during his streak: Berry (38), Moore (27) and JIM MUTSCHELLER (25).
A breakdown of the seven players who caught a touchdown pass from Unitas during his 47-game streak:
*Pro Football Hall of Famer
Fifteen different players have caught a touchdown pass from Brees during his streak, led by wide receivers MARQUES COLSTON (22) and LANCE MOORE (20). Tight end JIMMY GRAHAM (19) and former Saints – and current Chargers – wide receiver ROBERT MEACHEM (19) have also caught at least 10 touchdowns from Brees during the streak.
A breakdown of the 15 players who caught a touchdown pass from Brees during his 47-game streak (current Saints are listed in bold/italics):