As Peyton Manning approaches the NFL career touchdown pass record this Sunday (he needs two to tie, three to surpass Brett Favre’s mark of 508), most fans can recall the players who caught the bulk of his touchdown throws.
Tops on that list are his former Indianapolis Colts targets Marvin Harrison with 112 touchdown receptions, followed by Reggie Wayne (67), Dallas Clark (44) and Marcus Pollard (34). His current Denver Broncos teammate Demaryius Thomas has 28 touchdown passes from Manning and counting.
On the other end of the spectrum are nine players whose lone regular-season career touchdown was on a pass thrown by Manning.
Four of these players will be featured on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown (10 a.m. ET) in “One Hit Wonders” – a piece about Manning’s impending record reported by Jim Trotter.
“One Hit Wonders” is the brainchild of associate producer Dominique Goodridge, with contributions by associate producers Meghan Robinson and Tory Zawacki. Goodridge provided background on the piece to Front Row.
How do you conceive such a unique idea?
Our show’s coordinating producer, Greg Jewell, was looking for a different approach to spotlight Peyton’s potential record-breaking weekend. So I started looking into the players on the receiving end of his touchdowns. I noticed there were several players with a single Peyton Manning touchdown reception. As I dug into the list even more, I found that for nine of these players, the single touchdown from Manning was the single regular-season touchdown of their respective careers. I immediately thought – “If you had a chance to catch a single touchdown in the NFL, it would be pretty cool to have it come from Peyton Manning and be part of NFL history.”
What were some of the challenges in tracking and interviewing the players/former players?
Our regular workflow starts with pitching a story idea on a Monday to getting the feature on air on a six-day turnaround. That is challenging enough with a single interview subject. Meghan and Tory were quite helpful, tracking down some of the players and flying out to shoot interviews while I was at the others. We interviewed four for the piece.
Who was the most unique interview subject among the group?
What I found most interesting about the four players we interviewed was the variety in terms of where these players are now. One player, Mitch Unrein, is a defensive tackle for the Broncos. Aaron Moorehead, who in 2006 caught Peyton’s 272nd career touchdown, is currently the wide receiver coach at Virginia Tech. Dan Klecko works for an insurance company.
Finally, Trevor Insley, who caught the 108th touchdown pass, is now a firefighter in Los Angeles. Insley told me he hadn’t seen the play since the week it happened. So I brought a copy of his touchdown play with me. I showed it in the viewing room of the firehouse so he and his fire-fighting colleagues could watch it together. Their reaction was great and immensely rewarding.
|Jim Finn, IND||Nov. 19, 2000||Manning’s 75th TD pass, 4th qtr at GB, 5 yards|
|Trevor Insley, IND||Dec. 16, 2001||Manning’s 108th TD pass, 2nd qtr vs ATL, 19 yards|
|Mike Roberg, IND||Nov. 3, 2002||Manning’s 124th TD pass, 4th qtr vs TEN, 2 yards|
|Aaron Moorehead, IND||Dec. 24, 2006||Manning’s 272nd TD pass, 2nd qtr at HOU, 9 yards|
|Dan Klecko, IND||Dec. 31, 2006||Manning’s 274th TD pass, 2nd qtr vs MIA, 2 yards|
|Luke Lawton, IND||Dec. 2, 2007||Manning’s 298th TD pass, 4th qtr vs JAC, 1 yard|
|Tom Santi, IND||Oct. 5, 2008||Manning’s 310th TD pass, 4th qtr at HOU, 7 yards|
|Gijon Robinson, IND||Nov. 21, 2010||Manning’s 383rd TD pass, 2nd qtr at NE, 1 yard|
|Mitch Unrein, DEN||Dec. 2, 2012||Manning’s 426th TD pass, 1st qtr vs TB, 1 yard|
Courtesy ESPN Stats & Info