Drew Brees has been a highly efficient and durable quarterback since he first entered the league in 2001. He also happens to be pretty good! So good, in fact, that he’s cementing his place among the game’s greatest and putting his name all over the record book in his 18th NFL season.
And he somehow stays healthy. Not only is he one of the most prolific passers in NFL history, but he’s only missed one game due to injury. That recipe for success means Brees already has some gaudy records attached to his Hall of Fame career. Not bad for a guy who turns 40 in January, and still hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.
Now in his 18th season and still functioning as an elite player, Brees could easily add a few more to his name before calling it quits ... whenever he decides to do that.
What’s still on the line this season?
Brees has a chance to continue his pace as the single season leader for completion percentage. Right now, Brees has a completion percentage of 75.7 percent (!). There’s no fluff in that number either — Brees is currently averaging 8.4 yards per attempt.
Brees finally got a win over the last team he had left to beat
Brees joined the 500 club in Week 7 against the Ravens. He’s only the fourth player in NFL history to reach that milestone. Peyton Manning holds the record with 539.
Speaking of the Ravens, they were the final NFL franchise that Brees did not have a win against in his career. He was 0-4 in his career against the Ravens until Week 7, when the Saints won 24-23. Now, Brees has a win over all 32 current teams. Brett Favre and Peyton Manning are the only other quarterbacks who have beaten every team.
Brees becomes the NFL’s all-time leading passer
Heading into a Week 5 game against Washington, Brees only needed to throw for 201 more yards to pass Peyton Manning as the all-time leading passer in NFL history. He hit that mark in the second quarter with a 62-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith in their 43-19 blowout win.
For the game, Brees threw for 363 yards, putting him at 72,103 yards for his career. Not bad!
AND THERE IT IS! A 62-yard touchdown pass for the history books! pic.twitter.com/TSxecnm4lQ— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 9, 2018
It’s been just three years since Manning broke Brett Favre’s career passing yards record. With quarterbacks throwing more than ever in today’s NFL, the record could keep falling — especially as the career longevity of quarterbacks is in increasing. Tom Brady, who holds a long list of his own records, is already in his 40s and Brees will turn 40 in January of next year.
But no matter how long they stand, we can still appreciate the feats Brees has accomplished in his illustrious career. Even Manning, who congratulated Brees for becoming the new all-time passing leader, said Brees “deserves” to break his records.
Here’s a look at the other records he owns and which he has a chance to break before he calls it a career. Let’s start with his most impressive ones:
Brees’ three most impressive records
- Career completion percentage (67.3 percent): No matter who he’s had at receiver, running back, and tight end, Brees finds a way to get the job done. Completion percentage isn’t the best stat to use when looking at quarterback skill (Chad Pennington is second on the list at 66 percent), but completing that many passes while inching toward the all-time attempts mark is nuts.
- Consecutive seasons with 4,500 passing yards (7, 2010-16): Even in today’s pass-heavy game, 4,500 yards is still a major benchmark. In 2017, there were two quarterbacks who hit the 4,500-yard benchmark. In 2016, there were three. Brees did it seven times in a row. God-tier status.
- Single-season passing yards per game (342.3 yards, 2011; tied with Peyton Manning in 2013): Brees’ 2011 season was one for the ages. He threw for an incredible 5,476 yards, which was the single-season record until Peyton Manning threw for 5,477 yards in 2013. In that season Brees completed 71.2 percent of his passes, threw 46 touchdowns, and had just 14 interceptions. That’s pretty good!
Records that Brees has a chance to pass
- Career passing attempts: The leader for career passing attempts is Brett Favre with 10,169 attempts. Brees is in second place with a ways to go at 9,709 attempts, but there isn’t anyone who can currently challenge him. The only active player close to Brees is Brady, who has just over 9,200. Brees could get the record come 2019, provided he continues to stay healthy.
- Career passing touchdowns: Brees became just the fourth player in NFL history with 500 touchdown passes in his career. It happened in the second quarter of a Week 7 game against the Ravens. He now has 519. Tom Brady, who reached the mark earlier this season, is neck-and-neck with Brees for the passing touchdowns. Peyton Manning holds the record with 539 yards, but there’s a great chance that the record comes down during the 2019 season.
- Most starts in NFL history: At 261 starts during the regular season, Brees has a while longer to pass Favre’s mark of 298 games, which is entirely possible if his level of play doesn’t dip. Brady is right ahead of Brees, so it might come down to who plays the longest. Like Brady, Brees has said he could play until he’s 45.
Other NFL records Brees holds
- Career completions (6,536)
- Most seasons leading the NFL in passing yards (7)
- Most career 400-yard passing games (16)
- Most career 300-yard passing games (114)
- Total completions in a season (471 in 2016)
- Single-season completion percentage (72 percent in 2017)
- Touchdown passes in a single game (tied for first with 7)
- Consecutive games with a touchdown pass (54)
- Consecutive games with 300 passing yards (9, twice)
- Most 5,000-yard passing seasons (5)
- Most seasons with 30 passing touchdowns (10)
- Most seasons leading the league in passing (7)