71,968 yards and counting.
That’s 40.87 miles.
If you started at the 50 yard line at Ross-Ade Stadium and started throwing towards Indianapolis in a straight line 40.87 miles would take you to about a mile short of exit 133 in Whitestown, just northwest of Indianapolis. That’s past Lebanon, the home of another Purdue legend in Rick Mount.
It is also the passing yardage total of Drew Brees, as he broke the NFL all-time passing yardage record tonight against the Washington Indigenous Persons on a 62 yard TD pass to Tre’Quan Smith. I picked the direction of Indianapolis because Peyton Manning was the previous record holder at 71,940 yards. Manning played most of his career there and in his final game in Indy, while with the Denver Broncos, he came up two yards of passing Brett Favre at 71,838 yards. Manning managed just 104 yards in two appearances in the final eight games of that season to limp past the record, but finished with a second Super Bowl win.
Brees moved past Manning today to take the all-time mark. It is his second NFL all-time record he has established this season, as he set the completions record a few weeks ago. Like that record, Brees should stay on top for a while.
Tom Brady is roughly 4,400 yards behind Brees, and would likely have to play another season or two past Brees once he retires. Eli Manning is the next highest active quarterback and is nearly 20,000 yards back. The same is true for Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger. Matthew Stafford might have a chance as he is only 30 and just passed the 35,000 yardage mark, but he is only halfway there.
This record is built on Brees’ time in New Orleans. He owns five of the nine NFL seasons of 5,000 yards passing and Peyton Manning edged him by one yard for the single season record in 2013 at 5,477 yards.
With this record Brees has one more all-time passing mark to reach. earlier this season against Atlanta he broke the completed passes reocrd. Now it is on to the touchdowns record. Manning threw for 539 career touchdowns and Brees is neck-and-neck with Brady to get there. Brady passed 500 on Thursday against the Colts and Brees entered tonight with 496, so it is a race to break the mark likely early next year. Brees needs 51 total touchdowns this season just to tie it, and there have only been two seasons of 50 TD passing from any QB (Brady had 50 in 2007 and Manning had 55 in 2013).
Brees does hold the record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass at 54 and, if a TD pass had not been called back due to a penalty in a November 29, 2012 game against Atlanta, he would have put that record out of reach at an astounding 100 games (Brady is second at 52 games).
I think he has a small chance at the NFL Hall of Fame. Now if he can just get a defense to help him out.