At this juncture of Tom Brady’s Hall of Fame career, just about any time he steps onto the football field, he is making history. On Thursday against the Indianapolis Colts, he has a chance to make a little more.
It was 6,199 days ago on October 14th, 2001 that Brady connected with Terry Glenn in the endzone against the San Diego Chargers for his first career touchdown pass. He would go on to throw for 364 yards and two touchdowns that day in a win. As he enters Thursday night’s matchup with the Colts, the team he made his first career start against just 14 days prior, he sits at 497 regular season touchdowns. Good for third-most of all time.
If Brady can throw at least three touchdown passes (the return of Julian Edelman will help), he will become the third quarterback to ever break the 500 touchdown mark. And, of course, if he accomplishes this feat against the Colts, he will do so against the team from which the record holder is most identified with. Of course, we are talking about former Colt and Broncos quarterback, Peyton Manning, who holds the record with 539 touchdowns thrown. Former Packer, Brett Favre is second with 509. A number Brady should pass at some point during the 2018 season.
The notion that Brady would throw over 500 career touchdown passes some 6,199 days ago would have had you laughed out of any conversation you were having. Hell, the same can be said if that conversation happened several years later. The point is, especially early on in his career, no one could have projected the arc his career would take. Therefore, it was easy to throw Manning a bone and just called him the best REGULAR season quarterback ever instead of the G.O.A.T. Especially after Brady’s third Super Bowl win.
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However, at some point in their intertwined careers, that changed. Brady became a statistical powerhouse. Of course, you can point to 2007 as the beginning and you wouldn’t be wrong. That year, he and Randy Moss dominated the NFL. Brady set the single-season passing touchdown record and Moss set the touchdown reception record. However, that marriage would not last and Brady would miss an entire season with a knee injury. Upon his return, he picked up right where he left off. And then, miraculously, as he has aged he has been even better.
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Since the start of the 2007 season, Brady has thrown 350 touchdowns to only 86 interceptions. He has a passer rating of 102.7 in that time and led the league in passing touchdowns three times. This incredible run in his 30s and now into his 40s puts him right on the heels of both Favre and Manning.
If he were to play next season, it is likely he would surpass Manning’s total after passing Favre this season. Whether or not that is the record remains to be seen as Saints quarterback Drew Brees sits just one touchdown behind Brady with 496. Making for a fantastic race to the finish for both of these legendary quarterbacks.
Of course, for Patriots fans it will be nice to see him accomplish this feat first. Especially since Brees held a 12 career touchdown lead in December of 2016. But, as we all know, no lead is big enough against Tom Brady.
Tune in Thursday.
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