Over his career, Manning:
- Became Tennessee's all-time leading passer with 11,201 yards, 863 completions and 89 touchdowns.
- Compiled a 39-6 record as a starter, setting an SEC record for career wins (since broken by Georgia's David Greene).
- Threw only 33 intericeptions in 1,381 attempts, an NCAA record for best all-time interception percentage.
On a year by year basis:
- Won Davey O'Brien Award - Awarded to the Nation's Top Senior Quarterback
- Won Johnny Unitas Award - Awarded to the Nation's Top Quarterback
- Won Maxwell Award - Nation's Top Player
- Named a first-team All-American
- Finished second in Heisman Trophy voting
- Won the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States.
- Ranked 7th in Passer rating
- Finished 8th in Heisman voting
- Finished 6th in Heisman voting
Manning was selected first overall in the 1998 draft and has started every game in his NFL career, missing only one snap due to injury and many others due to large leads. He was the NFL co-MVP in 2003, sharing the honor with Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair. In 2004, Manning became the highest-paid player in NFL history at the time, signing a $99.2m contract for seven years with a $34.5m signing bonus, which averages out to $14.17m annually. Under the contract, Manning is also eligible to earn an extra $19m in incentives.
Manning is widely viewed as an elite NFL quarterback, and some sportswriters and scouts already consider him a future Hall of Fame inductee. In scouting reports, he is known as a "pure" pocket passer, with prototypical size, a strong arm, excellent touch, and nearly perfect mechanics. Manning reads the field extremely well, and is one of the few quarterbacks with complete freedom to change a play at the line of scrimmage. He is well known for his frantic hand gestures and shouting before the play while calling out audibles. Unlike some modern quarterbacks, Manning is not known as a "scrambler" and is not very mobile if the pocket collapses, only rolling out to search for receivers.
Manning threw for 4,267 yards and 29 touchdowns during the regular season, assisting his team to a 12-4 record despite having a defense that ranked only 20th in the NFL in points allowed (336). Manning then went on to lead his team to a 41-10 victory over the Denver Broncos in the wildcard playoff round, his first playoff win after 3 first round losses in the past 3 seasons. He completed 22 of 26 passes for 377 yards and 5 touchdowns in the game, earning him a perfect 158.3 Passer Rating. Then in the divisional playoffs, Manning led the Colts to a 38-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the first puntless game in NFL playoff history, throwing for 304 yards and 3 touchdowns, and earning an impressive 138.8 passer rating. However, Manning was shut down by the New England Patriots defense in the AFC title game, as he posted the third lowest passer rating of his career at 35.5. The Patriots defense intercepted Manning 4 times (3 of them by Ty Law) and held Manning's offense to just 14 points as the Colts lost the game 24-14.
In 2004, Manning had one of the greatest regular seasons in NFL history, putting up 4,557 yards, a 121.1 quarterback rating, and 49 touchdowns, surpassing the legendary mark previously held by Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino. His quarterback rating in 2004 also surpassed the previous single-season mark of 112.8 set by Hall of Fame San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young. In addition to his individual achievements, Manning also led the Colts to a 12-4 record and their second consecutive AFC South division title. As a result, he was a near-unanimous selection for the 2004 NFL MVP in drawing 49 of 50 votes (Michael Vick), was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year respectively. However, the Colts' 2004 season ended in Foxborough for a second straight year with a 20-3 loss in the AFC Divisional Playoff game against New England when Manning played his worst game of the year, recording a season-low passer rating of 69.3 and posting a season-low 3 points of offense. It was Manning's seventh consecutive loss to the Patriots in Foxborough, MA. The Colts' 3 points was their lowest single game point total since their opening game of the 2003 season.
In 2005 the Colts had a greatly improved defense over that of recent years. In week 15, the Colts had a perfect 13-0 record, and had secured the AFC South, home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and a first round bye. Nevertheless, Tony Dungy made the decision to play all of his regular starters against the Chargers in the hopes of winning the next three games and becoming he first team to have a perfect record since the start of the 16 game schedule. However, the Colts played a sub par game against the Chargers and fell short of the win; the score was 26-17. Manning finished the season with 3,747 passing yards, the first time he had thrown for under 4,000 yards since his rookie season of 1998, largely due to the fact that Manning sat out much of the final two games with there being no chance for a perfect season, and the top AFC seed clinched.
On January 15, 2006, the Pittsburgh Steelers visited the RCA Dome for the second AFC divisional playoff game of the 2005 season. The Steelers shocked most fans and analysts by gaining a 14-3 lead by halftime. In the 4th quarter the Colts were almost able to pull off an improbable comeback, after a series of improbable events. With only a few minutes left in the game, Manning threw what looked to be the game-ending interception to Troy Polamalu, but the interception was overturned (a call the NFL later admitted was incorrect). The Colts went on to score, and were able to get the ball back down three points near the end of the game. On 4th down Manning was sacked near his own goal line, and the gamed seemed to be over as the Steelers were one yard from a touchdown with one of the best short yardage runners in NFL history in Jerome Bettis. On the play the ball was handed off to Bettis who fumbled the ball. It was picked up by Colts defender Nick Harper who appeared to have a clear path down the sideline for what might have been the game-winning score. However, he inexplicably cut to the center of the field where Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was running backwards hoping to get into position to tackle. He managed to dive in front of Harper and tackle him by the leg, saving a touchdown. The Colts drove down the field from their own 42 yard line to the Steelers 27 yard line, before Mike Vanderjagt badly missed a field goal as time ran out. (It was the first time a 6th seeded team would eventually go on to win the Super Bowl when the Steelers won Super Bowl XL.)
Peyton came in second in voting for the 2005 MVP award to Shaun Alexander (19 to 13, out of 50 voters), ending his streak at two years. He was named the 2005 winner of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. He was also nominated for the 2005 FedEx Air Player of the Year Award, along with Tom Brady and Carson Palmer, the winner of the award.
Debate and Criticism
There is considerable debate, both among football fans and sportswriters, as to whether or not Peyton Manning is the best quarterback in the NFL. This debate has existed and evolved over several years.
Comparisons are most notably made between Manning and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, leading to fierce and bitter controversy. While Manning clearly holds the edge on Brady in terms of statistics, Brady holds the edge in terms of being on Super Bowl winning teams.
Despite the fact that his statistical output places him in the highest echelon of NFL quarterbacks, Manning has been criticized for being unable to win "big games," e.g. Tom Brady's postseason record is 10-1 and Manning's postseason record is 3-6  and his ability to perform and lead his team in clutch situations has at times been called into question. Included in the list of detractors is Terry Bradshaw; in Fox's postgame show following the Colts' 2006 playoff loss to the Pittsbugh Steelers, Bradshaw disagreed with Manning's assessment of "Let's just say we had some problems with protection".  Manning's big game problems date back to his college days at Tennessee. As a starter, Manning had an 0-3 record against the University of Florida. A common misconception is that he was 0-4; however, he came off the bench as a freshman, so the 1994 loss was not 'his' as he was not the starting quarterback. In addition, Manning's Tennessee team was handily defeated by Nebraska in the 1998 Orange Bowl.
An ESPN.COM commentator noted after the Colts' 2005 divisional upset loss to the Steelers that "Manning's career almost certainly will lead him to an induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio, but he rarely is at his best in the biggest spots. A heavy pass rush sometimes turns Manning into a quarterback with happy feet who forces passes." 
Manning holds a number of individual career records:
- Consecutive seasons with 4,000+ yards: 6, from 1999–2004 (Dan Marino is the only other quarterback to have had six 4,000-yard seasons, though not in succession)
- Consecutive seasons with 25+ TD passes: 8, from 1998-2005 (current)
- Games with perfect passer rating: 4 (includes 1 playoff game; most perfect games of any QB since passer rating was created by the NFL in 1973)
- Only player to pass for 3,000+ yards in each of his first 8 seasons in the NFL. (current)
- Manning has started every game since he has been in the NFL, a streak currently at 128 games, the longest career-opening streak for a QB. (current)
During the 2004 season Manning broke several single season passing records, including:
- Touchdowns: 49 (previously held by Dan Marino with 48 in 1984)
- Passer rating: 121.1 (previously held by Steve Young with 112.8 in 1994)
- Consecutive games with at least 4 TD passes: 5 (previously held by Marino with 4 TDs in 4 consecutive games in 1984)
- 5 TD passes in 4 different games in less than 12 months (previously held by Marino)
- First QB to throw 10+ TD passes to each of 3 different receivers in 1 season (14, Marvin Harrison; 12, Reggie Wayne; 10, Brandon Stokley). The Colts are the only team ever to have 3 WRs with 10+ TDs in 1 season.
- Although not an NFL record, Manning threw 6 TD passes in a little over a half against the Detroit Lions on November 25. It was the second time in his career that Manning achieved this (also in 2003), and he has been the only NFL player to throw 6 TDs in 1 game since 1991. 
With Marvin Harrison
- Completions: 664 (set in 2004; previously held by Buffalo Bills QB Jim Kelly and WR Andre Reed)
- Yards: 10,034 (as of November 132005; previously held by Kelly and Reed)
- Touchdowns: 94 (set October 172005; previously held by San Francisco 49ers QB Steve Young and WR Jerry Rice, with 86)
College and miscellaneous
Strengths: Probably the smartest player in the league. A coach on the field who can quickly scan the defense and make any necessary adjustments to the play. Tremendous leadership qualities. Has outstanding mechanics, set-up, and delivery, and sells the play-action fake as well as any QB in the game. Has prototype size and arm strength; can make all of the throws required of an NFL quarterback. Has a very quick release. Possesses great vision, accuracy, and touch.
Weaknesses: Not overly mobile. Overconfidence can lead to forced throws and mistakes when he tries to do too much.
|9 year NFL career||144||4890||3131||64||37586||7.69||275||139||170||1090||94.4|
|9 year NFL career||144||269||701||2.6||13||0|
Fumble Recovery Stats
|9 year NFL career||144||45||14||1||-20||0|
|9 year NFL career||144||1||-2||-2||0||0|
- Won the AP NFL MVP in 2003 and 2004
- Won the Bert Bell MVP Trophy (Maxwell Club) in 2003 and 2004
- Won the AP Offensive Player of the Year in 2004
- Won the Pro Bowl MVP in 2004
- Won the Super Bowl MVP in 2006