Peyton Manning will be remembered by history as one of the greatest quarterbacks to take the field. His achievements are well documented and years will go by before anyone comes close to breaking his records. In 2014, Peyton Manning set the all-time mark for most passing touchdowns in an NFL career, but that is far from his only record after 18 seasons in the NFL. Here’s a list of some of Peyton’s major achievements.
- NFL career passing touchdown record: 539
- Most passing yards, career: 71,940
- Single season touchdown record (2013): 55
- Most passing yards, season (2013): 5,477
- Most wins (including playoffs): 200
- Most games throwing for 300+ yards: 93
- Most passing touchdowns in a single game (tied, 2013): 7
- Most games with a passing rating higher than 105: 97
- Most games with a perfect passer rating of 158.3: 5
- Most seasons with 350+ completions: 10
- Most games completing 80-percent passing: 19
- Most game-winning drives: 56
- Most comeback wins: 45
- Highest completion percentage in a postseason game with 450+ yards (2005): 81.8
- Highest yards-per-game, season (2013): 342.31
- Most games with 4+ touchdown passes: 25
- Most seasons passing for 4,000+ yards: 14
- Most consecutive seasons with 25+ touchdowns: 13
- One of two quarterbacks to ever beat all 32 teams (along with Brett Favre)
- First quarterback to beat 31 franchises: 2007
- Most Associated Press NFL MVP awards: 5 (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2013)
With a list of achievements like that how do you decide which is the greatest? Most touchdown passes? Most passing yards? The single season touchdown record? Most comeback wins? (this is definitely one of my favorites).
As great as his accomplishments on the field are, none of them comes close to his greatest achievement. His greatest achievement isn’t even really his own. His greatest achievement is the faith that he received as a gift from God. But don’t take my word for it. I’ll let Peyton speak for himself.
“My faith has been number one since I was 13 years old and heard from the pulpit on a Sunday morning in New Orleans a simple question: ‘If you died today, are you one hundred percent sure you’d go to heaven?’ My heart was pounding. The minister invited those who would like that assurance through Jesus Christ to raise their hands, and I did. Then he invited us to come forward, to take a stand, and my heart really started pounding. And from where we sat, it looked like a mile to the front. But I got up and did it. I committed my life to Christ, and that faith has been the most important to me ever since.”
– Excerpt from the book Manning, 2000.
Manning has also said, “I make it a point when I speak to groups about priorities, and when it’s school kids, I rank those priorities as: faith, family, and education, then football, I tell them that as important as football is to me, it can never be higher than fourth. My faith has been number one since I was thirteen years old and accepted Jesus.”
The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Philippians wrote, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord.”
– Philippians 3:8
The apostle Paul also knew what it was like to accomplish great things. He could confidently say, “If anyone else think he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more.” (Philippians 3:4) And then he lists the reasons for his confidence. He was circumcised on the eighth day, he was an Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin, he kept to the strictest interpretation of the Law, and he persecuted heretics. He was the Mother Theresa of his day when it came to working for God. But then in the same breath he says, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” (vs. 7) Paul learned that God couldn’t care less about those things that he had counted as accomplishments. In fact compared to knowing Jesus all of Paul’s accomplishments counted for nothing. What God really cared about was whether he knew His Son Jesus. Since he was 13, Peyton has understood this truth as well.
It’s likely that you too will accomplish some great things during your lifetime. Things that you will plan for. Things that you will work hard for. But I hope that, if you don’t already, you come to view all of those achievements in the same light as Peyton and Paul. May they be worthless in your eyes when you compare them to the joy that you have in knowing Jesus as your Lord and savior. Jesus said to his disciples once, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36) The Holy Spirit used that question to nudge 13-year-old Peyton all those years ago. It changed his life.
What good would it be for me if I trained every day to run the marathon in the summer Olympics for the United States, but lost sight of Jesus. Even if I won, which would be a miracle, I would have lost everything already. Different people run after different things. Some seek wealth, others recognition, or power, or fame, still others search for the perfect relationship, or a great family or friends. What good would it be if you gained all these things, and yet forfeited your soul? So whatever achievements are in your future, may you consider everything worthless compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus as your Lord.