Manning compares well to Marino

There aren't many players who can compare to Dan Marino in his prime, but Peyton Manning is close.

Updated: December 16, 2004, 1:05 PM ET
By Eric Allen | ESPN Insider
There aren't many players in the history of the league who could be mentioned in the same breath as Dan Marino in 1984, but the 2004 version of Peyton Manning resembles him more than anyone else.

There are some similarities between the two that may account for Manning's assault on Marino's record for touchdown passes.

The first thing that jumps out at me is the fact that neither was sacked much. Marino was sacked around 16 times a year on average, while Manning is averaging about 21 sacks per season. These numbers are amazing because both have limited athleticism.

The reason for that success? Both Marino in his time and Manning have an excellent sense of what every player on their offense can do. They know the receivers' routes like parents know their kids names and have a seemingly innate ability to break down a defense.

Eric Allen

NFL studio analyst
Eric Allen, a 14-year NFL veteran and was one of the NFL's premier defensive backs, joined ESPN in August 2002 as an NFL studio analyst. His primary role is providing analysis for ESPNEWS' Monday Quarterback.