Peyton Manning's passing record might not be a passing record

12:35 PM, Dec 31, 2013   |    comments
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(USA TODAY) On Sunday, Peyton Manning broke Drew Brees' NFL record for most passing yards in a season.

Thanks to the 266 yards passing Manning had in the first half of Sunday's blowout win over the Raiders, he finished 2013 with 5,477 yards passing, just one yard ahead of Brees' 2011 NFL record of 5,476.

But a Reddit user noticed that one of Manning's Week 17 completions - a seven-yard first-quarter reception by Eric Decker - may have been a lateral. If it was, then the play would no longer be considered a passing play, and Manning would not have set the record.

According to an ESPN report, the NFL is taking a closer look at the play.

"The league's record-keepers were taking another look at things Monday, as is customary each week in the season. At issue, according to sources, is a 7-yard completion from Manning to Eric Decker with just over a minute remaining in the first quarter."

Another look at the play shows that, yes, it looks like Decker catches the ball behind Manning's release point, but as anyone who's ever seen a debated call at the goal line knows, camera angles can be deceiving.

In theory, this may be a backward pass and Manning may have actually passed for six fewer yards than Brees' record year. In reality, it was ruled a pass on the field and unless someone's going to go through every pass from Manning's 2013 and Brees' 2011, this should be a non-starter. If we wanted to get technical about it, every poor spot by a line judge could be reviewed too. Where would it end?

More to the point, with the way NFL offenses are evolving, Peyton's yardage mark probably gets topped in the next two years anyway.


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