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Brees-ing into Hall of Fame

China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-10 09:27


New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees enjoys the moment with his kids after becoming the NFL's all-time passing yardage leader during Monday's 43-19 victory over the Washington Redskins at the Superdome in New Orleans. [Photo/IC]

Saints quarterback becomes NFL's all-time passing leader

NEW ORLEANS - Drew Brees became the NFL's all-time leader in passing yardage on Monday night - and he did it in style.

The 39-year-old eclipsed Peyton Manning's mark of 71,940 yards with a 62-yard touchdown strike to rookie Tre'Quan Smith during the second quarter of a 43-19 blowout of the Washington Redskins.

After the record-breaking completion, officials halted the game and the ball was handed over to Pro Football Hall of Fame officials on the sidelines while the Superdome crowd erupted in a long standing ovation.

Brees also handed over his helmet and uniform to HoF officials after the game.

Amid the deafening cheers, Brees held out his arm to salute the fans before walking to the sidelines to embrace his wife Brittany and their four children.

"I love you guys so much," he said while hugging his three boys as Brittany held their infant daughter.

"You can accomplish anything in life if you're willing to work for it," he told them.

Brees entered the game needing 201 yards for the record. He passed for 250 by halftime, completing 17 of 20 passes before ending the night 26 of 29 for 363 yards and three touchdowns.

He is now just one short of joining Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to throw 500 touchdown passes.

In a victory at Atlanta earlier this season, Brees broke Brett Favre's career record of 6,300 completions.

Brees still needs 42 TD passes to surpass Manning's record of 539, something the Saints quarterback could achieve next season if he maintains his current level of play.

Manning, a New Orleans native whose father Archie starred for the Saints, could not attend the game because of a scheduling conflict.

However, he pre-recorded a congratulatory message that was played on the Superdome's video boards.

Shown slicing tomatoes in his kitchen, Manning deadpanned that his time as the career yards passing leader was "the greatest thousand days of my life.

"Thanks to you, Drew, that's over now," Manning continued as laughter erupted in the stands. "You've ruined that for me.

"Also, let this serve as my congratulations for the touchdown record because as you can see I'm very busy," Manning added. "I don't have time to keep doing these videos for you."

On a more serious note, Manning said Brees broke the record "the right way".

"All your hard work and dedication have paid off," Manning said while holding up a photo of himself and Brees standing side-by-side in 2000, when Brees was still at Purdue and Manning was a third-year pro.

"You and I have come a long way since this picture."

Brees is in his 18th season. The San Diego Chargers took the 6-foot quarterback at the beginning of the second round of the 2001 draft, but allowed him to leave in free agency after a major throwing-shoulder injury at the end of the 2005 season.

The Saints took a chance on Brees in 2006, and the payoff has been extraordinary.

He has passed for more than 59,000 yards and more than 400 TDs in 12-plus seasons for New Orleans, smashing every meaningful Saints passing record while helping the long-frustrated franchise go to the playoffs six times and win its first Super Bowl in 2010.

In 2012, Brees set the NFL record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass at 54.

That streak surpassed Hallof-Famer Johnny Unitas' mark of 47 straight - which had stood since 1960.

Former Saints receiver Devery Henderson, who caught the pass on which Brees broke Unitas' mark, attended Monday night's game.

The game featured other touches meant to honor Brees.

In the press box, the Superdome catering staff served "beefy mac", a meal of macaroni with ground beef that has long been one of Brees' traditional meals on the night before games.

Brees also was the final player to run onto the field during pre-game introductions as fans belted out elongated howls of "Drewwww."

Brees, who will turn 40 in January and has no plans to retire, could easily add another 10,000 yards to his record.

If he completes this season and two more and throws for even 4,000 yards per season, (his average is 4,841), he'd reach 80,000 yards sometime in 2020.

Bump that up to 4,500 yards per season, he'd have a little more than 84,000 yards after the 2020 season. A couple of 3,000-yard seasons at ages 42 and 43, and he'd reach 90,000 - about 20,000 yards beyond Manning.

Associated Press

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