In 1998, Manning threw 28 INTs for the 3-13 Colts. It’s the lone blemish on his otherwise impeccable career résumé.
Manning, one of the most competitive players in the NFL, is still bothered by it. He told Peter King of MMQB in a great Q&A that he roots for a rookie quarterback to come along and beat his record every single year.
Manning says he thinks the best way to get acclimated to the NFL is to play as a rookie, and that he’s still “pulling” for these guys to succeed … but he wouldn’t mind if one out-of-his-depth rookie came in and tossed 29 picks.
He told King:
“These young guys that are playing — I still like the ones that get to play early. I still think that’s the best way to learn. I still hold that rookie record for interceptions. I’m not gonna lie — I pull for these rookies every year to break it. Now you have to be a 16-game starter, so I don’t like these guys who start like 10 or 12 games, because they don’t have enough opportunities. So, I’m not gonna lie, as much as I’m pulling for them to be successful, I do not like holding that record. So, whoever wants to start their rookie quarterback 16 times and throw it a lot this year, I’m all for it.”
The record doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy this year. Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders is the only rookie QB who started in Week 1, and he’s only on pace for 16 INTs after two games. Three quarterbacks were drafted in the first round in the most recent NFL Draft, and none of them are currently starting. If this is the beginning of a trend where quarterbacks don’t start all 16 games as rookies, Manning’s record may stand for a long time.
Since 1998, only one quarterback — Jets QB Geno Smith in 2013 — has more than 20 picks as a rookie.
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