Any player who has ever had the honor of lining up on a football field with Peyton Manning hollering out audibles at him will tell you that the man made them. Manning is known around football circles as one of - if not the best - quarterback to ever line up under center, and while the debate will rage on for decades as to Manning's place in the annals of football history, there is no one who will ever doubt his ability to throw touchdown passes (during the regular season, at least).
Last Sunday night, Manning broke Brett Favre's touchdown pass record. He took the equivalent of nearly four seasons less that Favre to accomplish the feat, all while playing the last few years with a surgically repaired neck (so imagine how much sooner he would have broken it had he not missed an entire regular season).
As good as Manning has been throughout his illustrious career, though, he has plenty of people around him that he needs to thank - specifically the 45 men who've caught at least one touchdown pass from him since he broke into the NFL in 1998. Truth be told, Manning has had an elite supporting cast around him practically his entire professional career, and while he is usually the one moulding good athletes into great ones, there's still some credit that should be given out to some of the elite playmakers he's been teamed up with over the years.
While the list of players who've caught a TD pass from the future Hall of Famer is a long one, it has been narrowed down to ten of the finest who've suited up and caught a TD pass from Manning. Based on the way Manning has been playing as of late, there might be room for a few more names down the road if he can keep playing at a high level for a couple more years.
10 Austin Collie (15 TDs)
9 Marcus Pollard (34 TDs)
8 Julius Thomas (21 TDs)
7 Dallas Clark (44 TDs)
6 Edgerrin James (11 TDs)
5 Wes Welker (11 TDs)
4 Demaryius Thomas (30 TDs)
3 Reggie Wayne (67 TDs)
2 Marvin Harrison (112 TDs)
You might be asking yourself - Marvin Harrison, second on the list? Who could possibly be better than Harrison on this list?!
1 Marshall Faulk (4 TDs)
Marshall Faulk was arguably the best all-around running back of the last 30 years. His 12,279 rushing yards have him ranked 10th on the all-time rushing list, and he ranks sixth all-time in all-purpose yards with 19,172. Faulk only played one season with Manning before moving onto to the Rams, where he had the best seasons of his illustrious career, but during their short time together Faulk still managed to rush for 1,319 yards and catch an impressive 86 balls out of the backfield for 908 yards and 4 receiving scores (all from Manning, of course).
One can only wonder what kind of damage the two could have done had Faulk stuck around a little bit longer with the team that drafted him second overall in 1994. Faulk was traded for second and fifth round picks by then Colts GM Bill Polian (a trade that looks foolish in hindsight) after rumors swirled of missed practices, chemistry issues with teammates, and a potential contract holdout. Faulk went from playing with one future Hall of Fame to another in Kurt Warner (as they combined to create "The Greatest Show on Turf"), but one can still have a hearty debate as to whether or not Faulk could have been even better if he had a few more seasons with Manning as his quarterback.
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