Peyton Manning reached 500 touchdown passes yesterday. Five hundred is an arbitrary number. (A nice, round number that enshrines him in the elite company of one, but arbitrary nonetheless.) How can you truly grasp the weight of an arbitrary number? Set it as the constant, and see how extreme the other variables can get.
Over at Football Perspective, Chase Stuart has done just that. Since only one other quarterback has ever reached 500 TDs, he's broken down how long it's taken each NFL franchise to reach its last 500 combined touchdown passes.
Four franchises still aren't even to 400, including the Panthers and Jaguars, which began play three years before Manning was drafted.
So who "wins" the honor of needing the longest to record their last 500? That'd be the Cleveland Browns, for whom you need to go back to Nov. 27, 1983, to find the start of its most recent 500-TD streak. (Manning's began on Sept. 6, 1998.) Even with three years of inactivity after the team moved to Baltimore, it's still the longest time required to get to 500, nipping the Jets by two weeks.
More fun is the list of who the Browns had to suit up to get here. In reverse chronological order, including non-QB passers, and with the number of TD passes in parentheses:
Brian Hoyer (8); Jason Campbell (11); Brandon Weeden (23); Spencer Lanning (1); Thaddeus Lewis (1); Colt McCoy (21); Seneca Wallace (6); Mohamed Massaquoi (1); Jake Delhomme (2); Derek Anderson (46); Brady Quinn (10); Charlie Frye (14); Trent Dilfer(11); Kelly Holcomb (26); Luke McCown (4); Jeff Garcia (10); Tim Couch (64); Kevin Johnson (1); Doug Pederson (2); Ty Detmer (4);Vinny Testaverde (47); Eric Zeier (4); Mark Rypien (4); Todd Philcox (7); Bernie Kosar (116); Mike Tomczak (7); Brian Hansen (1);Mike Pagel (7); Eric Metcalf (1); Don Strock (6); Gary Danielson (12); Jeff Christensen (1); Herman Fontenot (1); Brian Brennan (1);Paul McDonald (14); Brian Sipe (5)
(Stuart notes that he calculated each team's most recent 500 touchdowns before the start of yesterday's games, so if you want to include Hoyer's three scores from yesterday, it changes thing a bit. But Manning went on to toss TDs nos. 501, 502, and 503, so I'd say we're about even.)
Go check out the lists for each team. Lot of forgotten names in there, and, maybe a bit surprisingly, some perpetually successful franchises down in the bottom half.