Do You Remember Peyton Manning’s 2004 Season?

by Jim Coventry, Guest Blogger

Is it just me, or does Peyton Manning’s (QB, Ind) record-setting season (49 TDs) seem like an afterthought? When Dan Marino had his great season of 48, it was so sacred and legendary, that it was talked about for almost two decades. Even before Tom Brady (QB, NE) started his assault, in going after Manning’s record, 2004 seemed like a distant memory. Here on some thoughts on the record and some peripheral musings. Most importantly, at the end, I will go over the fantasy football impact a potential record will have.

Marino
got his record with a couple of good WRs, though neither were great and a below average running game. Maybe that is why the record was so hallowed. To have a one-dimensional offense in any area, especially without world-class weapons, speaks something to the accomplishment. Those old enough to remember Marino’s dismantling of the vaunted ’85 Bears defense (the year after setting the record) on the national Monday night spotlight only added more mystique to the legend that Marino was in place.

Manning
came along and broke the record 20 years later. Although, unquestionably with a greater cast than Marino ever had, it was just as amazing a feat. Manning benefited from a future hall-of-famer, Marvin Harrison at one WR, and a superstar, Reggie Wayne at the other, along with an all-pro RB in Edgerrin James. For good measure, Brandon Stokley was a perfect compliment in the slot.  Since Marino had his great season before fantasy football was played by more than a few hundred people (at best,) players never experienced a season like the one Manning had.
Now, along comes Tom Brady, who is well on pace to break, if not shatter Manning’s record. Many people are stating how great Brady’s weapons are, but that seems a bit far-fetched. Randy Moss definitely is a far greater talent than Harrison ever was, and for those wanting to argue the point, how many times do you remember making a poor pass look like a great play (you know the answer is ‘not very many at all’)? Moss routinely makes under and overthrown footballs into amazing TDs and great plays. Other than that, Wes Welker might be the equal of the 2004 Stokley, but Donte’ Stallworth is definitely no Wayne, and Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris, & Kevin Faulk combined, do not equal one James. Brady is getting every ounce of ability out of his weapons, and it is not only an amazing sight, it will have an impact on next year’s fantasy draft.

In the WCOFF (World Championship of Fantasy Football), back in 2004, I had the dreaded 12-13 wraparound picks, and at the very end of the third round, I was able to choose Manning. After he set the record that season, Peyton was a middle first round pick, proving the theory that most fantasy drafts are based on least year’s performance more than the more realistic, expected production of the current year. Right now, I would bet that Brady is no worse than the #5 overall pick in next year’s drafts, and while many people anxiously await the encore of the master performance, it rarely is worth the wait. This year smacks of planetary alignment for Brady, and I do not question how great a passer he is, but I also know that it is unlikely that he will follow this year up with numbers worthy of a first-round pick. Many people forget, that had Manning not had the year he did, Daunte Culpepper was very close to Manning in production in 2004 and neither came close to duplicating their seasons. As always, it’s never too early to look to next year- so start thinking ahead while focusing on the present.

Category: Fantasy Football

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  1. [...] John Hansen added an interesting post on Do You Remember Peyton Manningâs 2004 Season?.Here’s a small excerpt:Most importantly, at the end, I will go over the fantasy football impact a potential record will have. Marino got his record with a couple of good WRs, though neither were great and a below average running game. … [...]

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