Peyton Manning is officially the NFL’s record holder for most touchdown passes in a single season. His 51st touchdown pass of the year was reeled in by tight end Julius Thomas on Sunday and allowed him to surpass Tom Brady’s previous record of 50. However, Houston Texans interim coach Wade Phillips said the NFL informed him this week that Manning’s 50th touchdown pass shouldn’t have counted, though the stats will not be changed.
Manning’s record-tying touchdown came on a 20-yard strike to Eric Decker in the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans. Here is the best angle we have of the play, which looked like a pretty clean catch.
According to the NFL, it was not a clean catch. Phillips said the league acknowledged that the ball was juggled and should have been ruled an incomplete pass.
“Poor Manning,” Phillips joked, per ESPN.com. “He thought he broke the record.”
To make matters more interesting, the pass came on third down. That means you can’t argue that Manning would have throw a touchdown pass on another play during that drive, as the Broncos would have settled for a field goal.
Manning still has credit for 51 touchdown passes this season, so he’s not losing any, but it’s interesting that the NFL says one of the TDs should not count. Manning has a chance to add to his record total this weekend.