Denver quarterback Peyton Manning broke Brett Favre's NFL record for career touchdown passes when he threw his 509th scoring pass during the second quarter of the Broncos' game against the San Francisco 49ers yesterday.

Manning's eight-yard pass was caught in the end zone by wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to eclipse the record of 508 regular season touchdowns Brett Favre set in 2010 while playing for the Minnesota Vikings.

Manning acknowledged rapturous applause from the home crowd, who rose as one to salute the 38-year-old as his team-mates briefly played keepaway to keep the record football from Manning before finally handing the ball to the future Hall of Famer.

Favre needed 302 games to set the previous record, while Manning broke the mark in 246 – 208 with the Indianapolis Colts and 38 with Denver.

Manning, who added a 510th touchdown before leaving the game early as the Broncos demolished the 49ers 42-17, typically downplayed his accomplishment and said he planned to place a telephone call to Favre in the next day or so.

"I've always been a fan of quarterbacks, whether it's Brett Favre, or Dan Marino, or John Elway, so I'm very honoured and humbled to join a pretty unique club," he told reporters.

"I'm very honoured and humbled to join a pretty unique club" - Peyton Manning

"Brett's always one of my favourite players. He played the position with so much passion, great toughness and great productivity. I just want to tell him thanks, and I'm honoured to join this club with him."

Manning was happy he set the record at home - and in a winning effort.

"I was glad it was here in Denver. The fact we won the game certainly allows you to celebrate with your team. The touchdowns I've thrown have helped us win a lot of games. That's the only reason (the record is) somewhat special."

Even as the game was in half-time, Favre was already congratulating Manning on his Twitter page.

"Well deserved Peyton," he tweeted. "Congratulations on breaking my record. Onto600."

NBA players LeBron James and Kevin Durant also offered their congratulations.

"Legend. OneOfTheGreats," tweeted James.

"We take him for granted because he's so consistent but we are witnessing a living legend!" added Durant.

Manning missed the entire 2011 season with a serious, potentially career-ending neck injury that required multiple surgeries.

Manning started Sunday's game needing three touchdowns to overtake Favre.

He wasted little time making his mark, notching touchdowns in the first quarter, firstly to Emmanuel Sanders and then to Wes Welker to tie Favre's record.