By: Ryan Michael
Pro Football Analyst
Ryan Michael is a Pro Football Analyst who specializes in quarterback statistics, analytics, film-study and interviews with NFL veterans. He has used his own era-adjusted metric, QBS2, to grade every qualifying starting quarterback since 1937. For more information, visit his website: www.quarterbackscore.webs.com and follow him on Twitter: @theryanmichael
One of the biggest records in American sports is just a day away from falling, only you probably haven’t heard much about it.
The fact that #DrewBrees is just 14 completions away from surpassing #BrettFavre to become No. 1 in #NFL history and we’re hearing more about #FitzMagic is a testament to how far removed we are from recognizing historical significance. pic.twitter.com/XxJRn9LZFT— Ryan Michael (@theryanmichael) September 19, 2018
Brett Favre’s 6,300 career pass completions are the most in NFL history. It’s a mark set over a 20-year, 302-game Hall of Fame career. A mark so far out of reach, even the great Peyton Manning retired 176 completions short of breaking it.
Since the 1941, only 7 quarterbacks have held the title of being the NFL’s all-time pass completion leader: Sammy Baugh, Bobby Layne, Y.A. Tittle, Johnny Unitas, Fran Tarkenton, Dan Marino and Favre.
That company is far more dominant than mainstream media would have you believe.
Enter Drew Brees, 2-3 quarters away from becoming the 8th man on that list. Not Peyton Manning. Not Tom Brady. Not Aaron Rodgers, Joe Montana or John Elway.
Drew Brees: The NFL’s 6x leader in pass completions (2007, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2016 and 2017) and at age 39, 2018’s current leader in pass completions (65 through Week 2).
Favre’s record was set over 302 games but Brees will break it in his 252nd. A lot of that has to do with being the NFL’s all-time completion-percentage leader (67.1%). If Brees completed passes at the rate Brady has (64.0%), his career total would drop from 6,287 to 5,999—and he’d be 302 completions away from making history, not 14.
This Sunday, September 23rd in Atlanta, the fall of Favre’s record will be greeted with a clap, a FOX Television graphic, a tweet from the NFL and the Saints and then—it will fade away.
January 1st, 2017: #DrewBrees broke #DrewBrees’ (468 in 2011) single-season record for pass completions (471) @ Atlanta vs. #Falcons.— Ryan Michael (@theryanmichael) September 20, 2018
September 23rd, 2018: #DrewBrees will break #BrettFavre’s (6,300) career record for pass completions @ Atlanta vs. #Falcons.@JohnJHendrix pic.twitter.com/rT40xibnhD
Football is the top sport in America and quarterback is the top position in football. Of the three major volume records: pass completions, passing yards and touchdown passes, this is the least significant, but an important one nevertheless.
Had Brady been the quarterback in arm’s reach of the record, it would have been the top storyline in American sports this week. It’s almost as if acknowledging the significance of Brees’ feat takes away from the narratives pushed to justify others as “greater” on the all-time list, even as they sit further down the record books.
The story of Brees’ career, is it not?
This record, like others Brees will break, is the culmination of over 17 years of hard work, nearly a decade and a half of elite on-field performance and a dedication to precision at a level few Hall of Famers could ever match.
Of course, every current and future Hall of Fame quarterback has the opportunity to prove me wrong by breaking what will now be Brees’ record.