If he continues at his current pace for a full 16 games, Peyton Manning will throw for 100 billion yards. He'll throw a million touchdown passes and account for billions and billions of fantasy points before the end of the 2013 season.
Tortured Austin Powers and Carl Sagan references aside, I think we can all agree that we are in the silly season of projecting the numbers Manning will compile for the Denver Broncos this season. If you want to indulge, however, at the moment Manning is on pace to:
Throw for 5,880 yards, well beyond the single-season record of 5,476 set by Drew Brees in 2011.
Throw 64 touchdown passes, shattering Tom Brady's record of 50 set in 2007.
Complete 468 passes, which would tie Brees' record mark from 2011.
Complete 75 percent of his attempts, more than the 71.2 percent Brees had in 2011.
Challenge the record of four interceptions for a 16-game starter, set most recently by Brady in 2010. Manning hasn't thrown one yet and is already the only quarterback in NFL history to throw 150 or more passes without an interception in a single season.
With three-fourths of the season remaining, those projections are as valuable as the price you paid to click on this link. What we can do, of course, is establish some context.
Manning might be off to the best start for a quarterback in NFL history, having set records for yards and touchdown passes through four games. But what would it take to finish with the best season ever?
We convened a star-studded panel from ESPN Stats & Information to rank the 10 best year-long quarterback performances in NFL history. The league's current passing era skews toward the present time, but statistical analysis allowed for inclusion over a period of more than 50 years.
Herewith, then, are the 100 billion -- er, 10 -- best quarterback performances in NFL history (with comments by John Parolin of ESPN Stats & Info):
Top 10 seasons voting panel (ESPN Stats & Info): Micah Adams, Hank Gargiulo, Jon Kramer, Allison Loucks, Jason McCallum, John McTigue, John Parolin and Jason Vida.