Tom Brady became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to reach 400 passing touchdowns when he hit Danny Amendola for a 1-yard score in Sunday's game between the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars. Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Dan Marino have also accomplished the feat. Brady will now race to Marino's third-place mark of 420, a number he should reach this season, provided he stays healthy.
Brady had to overcome a late career start, only throwing three passes in his rookie season after being drafted out of Michigan in the sixth round of the 2000 draft, with the New England Patriots finally deciding on him over Tim Rattay. When Brady played in a preseason game in Detroit before the 2000 season, it was widely seen as a nice touch that he would at least to get to play an NFL game once in the state where he had such great college success.
Brady made the team as the fourth quarterback, moved up to No. 2 by the end of the season and took over for good when Drew Bledsoe went down with internal injuries early in the 2001 season. He helped the Patriots overcome a 0-2 start and led them to Super Bowl 36, where he was named the MVP of New England's 20-17 win over the St. Louis Rams. At the time, he was the youngest starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl (24 years old), before Ben Roethlisberger broke the record at age 23 four years later.
Since then, Brady has led the Patriots to five more Super Bowls, including three wins, and a 16-0 season in 2007 that saw him throw 50 touchdown passes and just eight interceptions. He sustained a season-ending knee injury in the first game of the 2008 season, but bounced right back to throw for 4,398 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2009.
Brady said prior to Sunday's game that, though he appreciates his personal accomplishments, he's most proud of the Patriots' success over the last 15 years.
"All of those personal achievements are really a result of what our team has been able to accomplish. So I'm most proud, obviously, of what we've accomplished as a team," Brady said, per the Associated Press. "I think that's what this sport is all about."
He's never had a losing season, and he's won at least 10 games in every full season since 2002, when the Patriots went 9-7. He's also had a superb touchdown-to-interception ratio throughout his career, including a barely believable 36-to-4 mark in 2010.
Drew Brees is currently sitting at 398 career passing touchdowns, and is expected to be the next QB to reach the 400-TD plateau. But his pursuit will have to wait, as he's currently nursing a rotator cuff sprain.
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