Dan Marino, one-time recordsetting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins but now an analyst for CBS sports, tried in an interview earlier this season to get Colts quarterback Peyton Manning to reveal how Manning would try to stop the Colts’ offense.
"I laughed because I wasn’t going to tell him," Manning said. "Believe me, there are certain things that I can think of."
Marino wouldn’t mind someone finding out — soon. Manning, with an amazing 44 touchdown passes in 12 games, will soon break Marino’s 1984 record of 48 touchdown passes in a season. Marino admitted this week he wished Manning wouldn’t.
"I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t tell you that," Marino said. "No one, I don’t think anybody in their life that’s accomplished something, wants to see someone else beat it. (But) for a guy to do it the way Peyton is doing (is good). He has a lot of class, and he’s everything that’s right about the NFL."
And he is possibly playing at a higher level than any quarterback ever. The Colts are actually throwing the ball less than last season, but Manning will likely throw more than 50 touchdown passes.
"It’s a totally different approach than what Dan Marino did in 1984," Cardinals coach Dennis Green said. "It’s a system where he just dissects you. He makes you wrong."
Manning usually doesn’t like talking about himself much. He likes it even less now that the record is within reach.
"I really can’t fathom what (Roger) Maris went through, what (Barry) Bonds, (Mark) McGwire and (Sammy) Sosa went through," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "It’s been mind-boggling to me the attention we’ve gotten in this three- or four-week period. Hopefully we can get it behind us as quick as possible."
Former Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe decided to rip the team — coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Jake Plummer in particular — on his weekly satellite radio show.
"What does Mike see in Jake? He takes chances with Jake that he never took with John Elway," Sharpe said. "If that mystic of Mike thinks he’s that good of a coach that he could take a guy that’s mediocre, average at best, and make him into something that he’s never going to be. . . . They’re about to start taking that ‘S-N’ in ‘Snake’ and put an ‘F’ in front of it."
Both Shanahan and Plummer brushed off Sharpe, who happened to catch seven of his eight touchdown passes from Plummer last season.
"There are 53 players and coaches that believe in each other," said Plummer, who threw four interceptions in a 20-17 loss to San Diego last week. "The public is going to have their opinions. . . . It’s chinook winds blowing off the mountain."
It’s possible a controversial touchdown by Vinny Testaverde will get a Seahawks coach fired for the second time in six years. Testaverde’s long touchdown pass to Keyshawn Johnson on Monday night — a score that shouldn’t have counted, replays showed — was the key component in the Cowboys’ 43-39 win, a loss that hurt the Seahawks’ playoff chances in a season when coach Mike Holmgren needs postseason success to keep his job.
It’s interesting that Holmgren got the job after the 1998 season when Testaverde’s phantom touchdown for the Jets — replays show Testaverde never got in the end zone with 20 seconds left on fourth down — knocked Seattle from the playoffs. Coach Dennis Erickson was fired soon after.
"I know I’m unpopular there after the New York Jets’ incident," Testaverde said. "But hey, that’s the way it goes."