Records Were Meant to be Broken

Photo by D.B.King

By Matthew Greenberg – Sports Editor

The stage was set for history to be made. Sunday Night Football has become a staple of primetime football and the stars were in place for a showdown. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers were set for what was sure to be a fantastic shootout on the Sunday Night stage. Brees was one game away from breaking Johnny Unitas’ long-standing record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Unitas has held the record since 1960, achieving an unprecedented 47 straight games with a passing touchdown. Now, just over 50 years later, Brees has tied Unitas and was searching for the magic 48th in a row that would break the record.
The evening was one that finally seemed to overshadow the controversy surrounding the Saints organization this year. With key members of their coaching staff, including Head Coach Sean Payton, suspended pending the NFL’s investigation of the bounty system, the Saints have been struggling this season, to say the least. Coming into week 5, the Saints had a dismal 0-4 record. Even though Brees has been playing like his normal superstar self, the Saints defense was ranked last in the league, and the high-powered offense had not been able to compensate for the team’s defensive shortcomings.
Brees put in a special request to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to allow Payton and a few other members of the suspended staff to attend the game. Also in attendance was Joe Unitas, son of the aforementioned legendary quarterback, who said, “Records didn’t matter to my dad. Winning is all that mattered. He was very black and white. No gray area with him. You’re either right or you’re wrong. You won or you lost. You did, or you didn’t.”
There was no question about whether Brees did or didn’t. He did. As the first quarter was winding down Brees threw a rocket to Devery Henderson for a 40-yard touchdown pass, successfully achieving his 48th consecutive game with a passing touchdown, and officially passing Unitas’ longstanding record.
It was a picture-perfect situation. Brees led the Saints back from a 10-point deficit to defeat the Chargers 31-24, throwing for 370 yards and 4 touchdowns (including the record breaker). “My father always said that records were meant to be broken,” said Joe Unitas in a letter to Brees. After decimating Dan Marino’s record for single-season passing yards last year, Brees has solidified himself in yet another way as one of the NFL’s all-time great quarterbacks.