Tonight, and well for the last several days I’ve been hearing all about how New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was lined up to break a record set by Johnny Unitas back in the 1950’s for consecutive games with a touchdown pass thrown. Keep in mind Unitas set this in an era where seasons were shorter and guys had to work full time jobs in the offseason to pay their bills. So excuse me if I am less than impressed that Brees broke this record in 2012.
Everything in the today’s NFL is geared toward quarterbacks crushing every long standing passing record there is. I heard Al Michaels say that this record is “one of the big ones”. Really? 16 game seasons, spread passing offenses and half a rule book set up to protect the quarterback and wide receivers? Sorry if I don’t climb on board for the party.
I’ve never been one to weigh too much on things like statistics and records in football, as I think football is more about team and the success of the team, and less about the numbers a player puts up. But even more than that, the difference between eras in the NFL are so different, a record is one is apples to a record in another is oranges. What Unitas did was remarkable. The talent in the league was distributed much more evenly, the ability level of players was much closer, and getting through a season, and an offseason was a completely different world. For Unitas to go 47 games, which from what I understand started with the final game of a season and carried into the 4 seasons that followed and throw a touchdown in every game during that stretch is mind-boggling.
I don’t know how anyone can say that what Brees accomplished is even comparable to what Unitas did. And I’ve never watched Unitas play a game other than highlights. But it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that Brees and every NFL quarterback today is babied. They are babied in games, and their off-season is the life of luxury. So media and fans, please don’t ask me to revel in what Brees did tonight because the only thing impressive about it is he has been able to play 48 games in a row without sitting out with some silly injury. These teams line up and chuck it down field 45 times a game and we are shocked they throw a lot of touchdowns? Really?
C’mon Saints fans. Tell me how great this record is. @nfldraftboard is where I will be.