"Counting stats" can be misleading because they can be affected, both positively and negatively, by the era that an athlete plays in. I suppose "rate stats" work this way too, but not as much.
So when Andrew Luck compiles a bunch of passing yards and touchdowns, it doesn't mean as much as it did when Dan Marino put up better numbers in the early eighties. Most passing records have been broken in the last five to ten years, and we can expect that those records will be broken too at some point.
Maybe by Russell Wilson? It's certainly possible. He's done okay for himself so far.
Wilson has 72 career passing touchdowns, which ranks 160th all-time. He has a ways to go before he catches Peyton Manning (based on some of Manning's throws in the playoffs, Broncos receivers had a ways to go before they could catch his passes too) but after three years he is ahead of a few notable names.
- J.P. Losman, 33 career touchdowns
Losman, who is still only 34 years old and was drafted in the first round after three potential Hall of Fame QBs (Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger) hasn't played since 2011 with the Miami Dolphins. His last touchdown came in 2008. His best season came in 2006 with the Bills when he had 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, but by 2007 he lost his job to Trent Edwards.
Edwards has some similarities to Russ -- They were both third round picks that had some surprising success at rookies. Except in Edwards' case, it didn't stick. He had just 26 career touchdowns.
- Christian Ponder, 38 career touchdowns
Selected one pick after J.J. Watt and ahead of Nick Fairly and Robert Quinn, Ponder was a surprise selection in the 2011 draft. His downfall in Minnesota has been less surprising.
Ponder is going to try his hand at "career backup making a cool $3 million a year to do jackshit" in Oakland now. He's looking to follow in the footsteps of Raiders' greats like Andrew Walter (3 career touchdowns), Marques Tuiasosopo (2), JaMarcus Russell (18), Josh McCown (61), Bruce Gradkowski (21), Charlie Frye (17), Kyle Boller (48), Matt Leinart (15), Terrelle Pryor (9), Matt McGloin (9), and Matt Flynn (17).
Wilson is 15 touchdowns shy of Jason Campbell, assuming he doesn't add to his total.
- Tarvaris Jackson, 39 career touchdowns
Jackson has been a starter in Minnesota and Seattle but after all this time, he isn't anywhere near the touchdown total of the guy he's backing up.
- Steve Spurrier, 40 career touchdowns
Coach won the Heisman in 1966 and was the third overall pick in the draft but his ability to translate success to the pros has been a running theme throughout his career.
- Robert Griffin III, 40 career touchdowns
Speaking of mistakes made by the Washington Redskins ...
I personally still love RGIII but he went 73 picks ahead of Wilson in the draft and has 32 fewer passing touchdowns. The running game isn't even above Wilson anymore either.
- John Friesz, 45 career touchdowns
You'll remember John "Freeze or my mom will shoot!" as a guy who started 11 games for the Seahawks in the nineties, but most others just won't remember him.
- Vince Young, 46 career touchdowns
Vince Young went to two Pro Bowls.
- Tommy Maddox, 48 career touchdowns
XFL Superstar and the Steelers' gateway drug to drafting Roethlisberger.
- Colin Kaepernick, 50 career touchdowns
Oddly enough, Kaepernick's career didn't really start until after Wilson's did. Even if it had, there's a good chance he wouldn't have more touchdowns or more of anything really. He's got more money, at least! For now.
- Rick Mirer, 50 career touchdowns
Hey Kaepernick, you can retire today and have as many touchdowns as Rick Mirer! Former number two pick who set a bunch of rookie passing records! Doesn't that sound pretty sweet?
- Byron Leftwich, 58 career touchdowns
It feels like Leftwich played for years and was kind of successful but he only played for like three and a half (as a starter) and wasn't. Successful that is. Derek Anderson and Chad Henne both also sit at 58 touchdowns.
- Sam Bradford, 59 career touchdowns
After five seasons in the NFL the former Heisman winner and number one pick is nowhere near Russell's numbers after three. Okay, "five" seasons. He's played in 49 games, which is the same as three seasons plus one game. (Which in the case of the Rams, we all know, is not a playoff game.)
- Charlie Batch, 61 career touchdowns
A starter for his first four seasons in Detroit, Batch continued to hang around until he was 38. But 15 years in the NFL wasn't enough to match Wilson's three.
- Tim Couch, 64 career touchdowns
Another top pick. Couch was maybe a tiny bit more successful than people give him credit for. He was playing for the Browns, after all, and had a semi-successful 15-15 record from 2001-2002. But he was still pretty bad and the total for his five years of trying to make it in Cleveland was 64 touchdowns and 67 interceptions.
- David Carr, 65 career touchdowns
Don't people know that you should take a QB first overall? You must always find him in the third round.
- Benny Friedman, 66 career touchdowns
He was a four-time All-Pro and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005. Okay, so he played in the 20s and 30s, when passing touchdowns were a privilege, not a right, but doesn't matter to me: Wilson has more touchdowns than a Hall of Famer. Let's stop wasting our time and induct Wilson already.
- Jay Fiedler, 69 career touchdowns
This is kind of whacky, but Fiedler actually had a record of 36-17 at one point before going 1-6 in his final season with the Miami Dolphins. Fiedler went to Dartmouth, was undrafted, and is now in the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, which is all well and good.
But he still doesn't have as many career touchdowns as Russell Wilson.