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Drew Brees, Tom Brady in a race toward Peyton Manning’s touchdown record

New Orleans Saints v New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 13: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots and Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints talk after the game at Gillette Stadium on October 13, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.The New England Patriots defeated the New Orleans Saints 30-27. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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Heading into the 2018 season, Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady are tied on the career passing touchdowns list: Both have thrown exactly 488 touchdowns in their career.

That puts them 51 behind Peyton Manning’s all-time career record of 539, and over the next couple years they’ll race to see which one gets there first.

It’s unlikely that either will break Manning’s record in 2018: Brady’s career high in touchdown passes is 50, and Brees’ career high is 46, so it will probably be 2019 before either one of them gets to Manning.

But assuming they both play at least two more years and both stay healthy, they should both top Manning’s touchdown mark. They could even find themselves in a situation where they’re both breaking each other’s record on a regular basis. That would be reminiscent of the 1983 Major League Baseball season, when pitchers Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton both broke the previous career strikeout record, and then proceeded to trade the lead back and forth 14 times over the course of that season.

The Brees-Brady touchdown race might just become the hottest story in the NFL, but probably not until 2019.