Chasing History: Brady Left in the Dust

by on November 2nd, 2010
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Drew Brees accomplished something pretty special this past Monday, toppling a 27 year old record and becoming the NFL’s single season passing King. I’m sure we all took time this week to appreciate the accomplishment.

I certainly enjoyed watching it, and, respect what Brees has accomplished this season and during his entire tenure with the Saints. As a Patriots fan, though, I can’t help but feel a bit slighted by Brees’ season.

Tom Brady, the current record holder for touchdowns in a season, is less than 190 yards away from the record himself. Brady has put together a marvelous season, cobbling together 12 (to be 13?) wins, 36 passing touchdowns and what would otherwise be a season for the ages with a limited receiving corps, two tight ends, and a leaky defense.

Brees, meanwhile, has a deep receiving corps, his own young stud tight end, and, a run game to help power his offense. Again, I’m not trying to take anything away from Brees’ record setting efforts, but, I am trying to point to the impressive nature of Brady’s season, of his heroics (regular season, anyhow) and how this would be a story – and a season – for the ages were it not for the record set in just 15 games by Brees, and, the outstanding season Aaron Rodgers is putting together as part of the Packers’ SuperBowl honeymoon.

339 yards per game (as posted, to date) by Brees is an astounding figure. Of his 5000 yards, though, 1163 of them have been to running backs. Darren Sproles was an excellent addition to the Saints offense and has scampered for 681 yards receiving – largely on screen passes – thrown by Brees. Now, any quarterback gets credit for a wealth of yardage after the catch, and, he and the play callers had to do a fine job of getting Sproles in space to get the yards, but, it is worth pointing out that Brady has just 266 yards from his backs.

Again, though, this isn’t about cutting down Brees’ accomplishments – we’ve been fortunate enough to watch several great QBs put together solid years – Brady, Brees, and Rodgers are all having years for the ages – we just need to be sure not to overlook greatness while it was in front of us. Brees has set the record, at least for the time being, and deserves to be acknowledged for it but we must not overlook what Brady has meant to the Patriots, and to the overall NFL body of work, this season either.

This is just my dreaming inner Patriots fan speaking, of course, but I look forward to how this weekend plays out. As long as Brady’s missed practices turn out to be insignificant he will surpass Marino’s mark, and, depending on how all the playoff scenarios come together it is conceivable that Brees won’t play a full game, meaning that Brady could surpass him as well. While the Saints are likely conscious of this fact and want to be sure that Brees does enough to hang on to his accomplishment, it’s not unimaginable to picture Brees passing for 200 yards in a half and Brady putting up a 4 spot on the Bills. In either case, both men have had great seasons, and, I’m happy to have been along for the ride.

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