No NFL quarterback has beaten 31 teams. That’s not surprising: There are only 32 and there were only 30 until the Cleveland Browns (2.0) and Houston Texans joined the league in 1999 and 2002. Now, Brett Favre, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning could all achieve that number in the same weekend.
A week before the Colts and Patriots face each other in that highly anticipated showdown, Manning and Brady have a chance to set up the perfect matchup with an almost perfect scenario this weekend: If each wins, and keeps his respective team unbeaten, the NFL says they will become the first quarterbacks in league history to defeat 31 teams.
“I think it’s better for a quarterback to do it than a coach,” said Tony Dungy, the league’s first coach to beat all 32 teams. “You only play those NFC teams once every four years, so that’s tough to do.”
It’s so difficult that even the NFL’s record-setting ironman, Brett Favre, has yet to achieve the milestone. Aside from his own Packers, Favre has never beaten Kansas City, Green Bay’s opponent next week.
Scheduling changes also have made it more difficult. Before 2002, teams played one division from the opposite conference every three years; now it’s every four years. So if Manning or Brady fail Sunday, they won’t get another shot at Carolina or Washington until they’re in their mid-30s. At age 38, Favre may not get another chance at the Chiefs.
It’s an anomaly, more than anything else. Still, it’s an impressive achievement to get 31 wins as an NFL starting quarterback. Getting wins against 31 teams requires continuing to get the opportunity year after year.
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