The modern NFL passing game creates an unfair advantage for quarterbacks today over their predecessors from decades ago. The result is that a lot of historic passing records that seemed unlikely to fall are now surpassed regularly — even by quarterbacks who may not make it into the Hall of Fame. As there is no sign of the modern passing game slowing down, it becomes more difficult to believe that even the greatest passers in the modern era will set records that last for a long time.
One exception to this for the Indianapolis Colts and all-time great quarterback Peyton Manning is the incredible production he put up throwing to his favorite receiver Marvin Harrison. Manning and Harrison formed the best passing duo in NFL history, finishing with the most yards and touchdowns between a quarterback and receiver ever. The two combined for 953 completions, 12,766 yards, and 112 touchdowns during their playing days together, and Manning doesn’t believe any tandem will touch that touchdown mark.
In a 2016 press conference, Manning said:
“The very first preseason game, very first pass, I threw a five-yard touchdown pass, and Marvin Harrison ran 48 yards for a touchdown. I was sort of thinking, ‘This NFL is easy. You just throw a short pass and Marvin Harrison runs for touchdowns.’ Which is pretty much what he did for the entire time he and played together. I think many records will be broken - most of my records will be broken - I don’t believe that record that me and Marvin have of throwing the most touchdowns together will ever be broken. Even though that was a preseason game, that was the first of many.”
The reality is that free agency and injuries make duplicating this special combination extremely unlikely. Steve Young and Jerry Rice, two hall of fame players, have 92. No current active QB to WR combination presents a threat to either of the top two in this category. Unless there the NFL holds in its future another special combination that can last as long as Harrison and Manning stayed together, this record could stand for a long, long time.
Keep in mind that only six players in league history have more than 112 receiving touchdowns in their entire careers, let alone from just one quarterback. A lot of Manning’s records will be broken by multiple players but his touchdown passes combination with Harrison will stand for a long time.