Passing the torch

STEVE MacFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 3:26 PM ET

Dan Marino wouldn't swap his collection of NFL records and Hall-of-Fame nomination for the world.

Not even for that elusive Super Bowl victory.

It's a good thing, too, because the former Dolphins pivot's statistical trade-in value has been taking hit after hit.

A couple of Marino's passing records have already been surpassed this season and the Holy Grail -- the single-season mark for passing touchdowns -- could fall as early as this weekend.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has thrown 44 scoring strikes with four games remaining and it appears the only thing that can stop him from obliterating Marino's record of 48 is an injury. And not even Marino wants to see that happen.

"I don't think anybody in their life that's accomplished something wants to see someone else beat it," Marino said yesterday during a conference call.

"But for a guy to do it the way Peyton's doing it, he has a lot of class. He's everything that's right about the NFL. If anybody's going to do it, you'd like to see a guy like Peyton because of what he's done and the kind of person he is."

In Manning's 2004 performances, Marino sees a reflection of his record-shattering run 20 years ago.

"I felt like I was able to control a game with the people we had offensively, kind of dictate what we wanted to do," said Marino. "And you can see that with Peyton, that's what he does. He goes to the line of scrimmage, he knows he wants to (pick) the right play. He's done that and he's got the weapons to do that.

"Peyton Manning is a student of the game, he's a star. He's getting it done as good as anybody ever has in a single year, for sure."

Aside from leadership, there is another characteristic the two share -- humility. Manning is growing more agitated by the week with all the media attention surrounding football's equivalent of baseball's home-run record. The Colts QB is continually trying to steer interviews toward his team's success.

Reflecting on his time in the spotlight, Marino's comments are eerily similar to Manning's recent mantra.

"It's something I was very proud of but it was significant to me because it was a year we won and we got to the Super Bowl," said Marino.

The Dolphins lost that Super Bowl to the San Francisco 49ers and Marino's lack of a championship ring has somehow kept him from being mentioned in the same breath as QBs such as Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana or John Elway.

Despite the fact his benchmark of 48 passing TDs has stood for 20 years and the ridiculous number of additional NFL records he holds will take at least another decade or two to erase, Marino doesn't get the praise he deserves.

Maybe his inevitable entry into the Hall of Fame will change that. Marino was recently named one of 25 modern-era semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2005.

"The ultimate recognition is to be honoured in the Hall of Fame of the greatest sport in the world," said Marino. "That's something very special."

As special as a Super Bowl victory ?

"It's something I'll always think about," he admitted. "I would love to know what that felt like to walk off the field knowing you won a Super Bowl and you were the world champs."

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REVAMP THE RECORDS

Dan Marino marks under siege in 2004-05

MARINO'S RECORDS

* Most touchdown passes in a season -- 48

* Highest passer rating rookie year -- 96.0

* Highest completion percentage rookie year -- 58.45

* Most yards gained (single season) -- 5,084

* Most seasons with 3,000+ passing yards -- 13

* Most career 4,000+ passing yard seasons -- 6

* Most games with four or more TDs in a season -- 6

* Most consecutive seasons with 20+ TD passes -- 10

CHALLENGER THRU WEEK 14

* Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts -- 44

* Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers -- 103.2

* Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers -- 67.68

* Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts -- 3,621

* Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers -- 12 (2,972)

* Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts (can tie) -- 5 (3,621)

* Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts (tied in Week 12) -- 6

* Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers (broke record in Week 12) -- 11


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