Peyton Manning’s most memorable days in football have been the ones he’d just as soon forget.
Football fans across the country saw the painful way in which the former Tennessee quarterback became the NFL all-time leading passer on Sunday. A 4-yard completion early in the game locked up the record.
It was downhill from there.
Manning, who is in his fourth season with the Denver Broncos, posted his first 0.0-point passer rating in his career and the first in the NFL since 2007. The future Hall of Famer completed just 5-of-20 pass attempts for 35 yards and four interceptions before being benched in the third quarter.
Becoming the all-time leading passer in NFL history was bittersweet for Manning, and that was also the case when Manning became Tennessee’s all-time leading passer, as the Vols suffered one of the most heartbreaking losses in their history.
Manning passed former Vol Andy Kelly’s 6,397 yards on Nov. 9, 1996, according to Tennessee Sports Information Department. The new record received practically no fanfare. It isn’t even mentioned in Tennessee’s media guide recap of the game.
The focus that day was on the 21-17 loss to Memphis, which eliminated any chance Tennessee had to climb back into the national championship picture. Tennessee lost to Florida earlier that season, so the Vols had to win the rest of their remaining games to even be considered for a legitimate title contender.
With Tennessee out of the way, the Gators won the national title by beating Florida State 52-20. However, Florida lost to Florida State on Nov. 30 that season meaning Tennessee could have gotten a shot at the Seminoles had they finished regular season 11-1, instead of 9-2.
Manning completed 23-of-43 passes for 296 yards against Memphis. Yet he had two interceptions that helped the Tigers end a 15-game losing streak to the Vols, casting a shadow over the 6,620 career passing yards with which he left Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Manning still holds the all-time mark with 11,201 career passing yards. No one has even approached Maning’s mark. Former Vol Casey Clausen is second with 9,707 yards passing.
Since Manning was replaced in Sunday’s game, reports have indicated he been diagnosed with plantar fascia. That could have contributed to his poor performance. Some have even reported that it is unlikely he’ll return in 2015.
Manning needs just one more victory to break the tie he has with Brett Favre for all-time NFL wins by a quarterback. Both have 186 victories. However, if history is any indication, Manning may be better not breaking the record.