1,495 passing yards. That’s all that stands in the way of future NFL Hall of Famer and Saints QB Drew Brees from breaking the the all-time NFL passing yardage record, which is currently held by recently-retired QB Peyton Manning.
Based on the 270 passing yards Brees averaged per game last season, he should break the record in the Saints’ 5th game of the 2018 season — an October 8th contest at the Superdome on ESPN Monday Night Football against the visiting Washington Redskins.
“There’s a reason they put Week 5 on Monday night, you know what I’m saying?” Brees said to reporters last week, after being asked if he actually ever thinks about breaking the record. “I don’t think any of us are dummies.”
“(But) I try not to think about that,” Brees said. “I just try to think about, obviously, taking care of business one day at a time. Then as the season rolls around, you take it one week and one game at a time; eventually those things add up and they stack up, and then you are in a position to do it.”
Now if you think that Brees was just simply being diplomatic about this whole big deal that’s being made over him breaking the NFL’s all-time passing yardage record, then chances are pretty good that you’re going to end up being right about that.
Brees likely doesn’t care anywhere near as much as the team’s fans and the sport’s historians do, that you can be certain of.
But knowing Brees as we have since he’s been at the helm for the franchise for what will be his 18th NFL season this year and his 12th season in New Orleans as the starter, there’s only record that he’s going to really be concerned with heading into the 2018 NFL season:
That’s the record of the Saints all-time in Super Bowls, which they won in their first and only appearance in the sport of Pro Football’s ultimate game 9 years ago, by a score of 31-17 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida against the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
For Brees, getting back to the Super Bowl and winning it, is what clearly drives him and motivates him to continue playing at age 39.
It’s the reason why he could end up playing well into his 40’s, in order to achieve that goal.
The Saints organization has certainly gone out of their way to accommodate him, by surrounding him with an ever-improving roster that’s now completely stacked with young talent; which features two Rookie of the Year award-winners on both sides of the football.
Now all that’s left, is for him and the other 52 players that will make the team’s Final 53-man roster in early September, to go out and achieve that goal.
But that’s easier said, than done.
It’s been said that Brees could have already won MULTIPLE Super Bowls by now, had the Saints defense not have been as bad as it had been for the past several years prior to last season; and that’s probably much closer to the truth than it is further away from fiction.
But getting there — much less winning it — is the hard part.
Just ask Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who’s essentially in the same boat as Brees (an “elite” QB who’s only won just one Super Bowl in his only appearance in the sport’s biggest game) and would love to win another one himself.
Breaking a NFL record like the one that Brees is about to, is definitely an accomplishment that most professional football players would give almost anything to achieve.
It’s the opportunity to cement one’s legacy, and to set the standard for excellence in a sport that’s now over 100 years old.
But in the NFL, if you aren’t the reigning World Champion or at least very close to becoming the champion, then you’re simply reduced to becoming yesterday’s old news.
And for Brees, he knows that the opportunity to win one more before he hangs up the cleats for the final time, can be fleeting — just as it was nearly 5 months ago inside of U.S Bank Stadium in Minneapolis against the Vikings, in the devastating last-second 29-24 loss in the NFC Divisional Playoffs.
Just. 10. More. Seconds.
That’s all that remained for Brees to have another shot last season, at “going out on top”.