Amid all the histrionics of perhaps the most anticipated homecoming in NFL history, Tom Brady became the league’s all-time leader in passing yardage.
Brady broke longtime friend and contemporary Drew Brees’ NFL record for career passing yards on Sunday night as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated Brady’s old team the New England Patriots, 19-17.
In the first quarter, a 28-yard completion to Mike Evans established Brady as the new all-time passing leader with 80,359 yards on the play. The pass led to the game’s opening score and a 3-0 Bucs lead. When the night concluded, Brady’s 269 yards put the new standard for passing yardage at 80,560.
“It’s pretty cool,” Brady said of getting the record at Gillette Stadium in his NBC postgame interview. “Nothing in this sport can be accomplished without incredible teammates and coaches. I’ve just been blessed for 22 years to be with some amazing people. A quarterback can’t do anything if the guys don’t catch the ball. Guys did a great job catching for me the last 22 years. All of them, which I hope were, uh, felt a little piece of happiness tonight watching that. Cause everybody contributed. I sure as hell can’t catch anything, everyone’s seen that drop against the Eagles in the Super Bowl. But I can throw it a little bit and I’m glad I got so many great guys who catch it.”
Heading into Week 4, it was a relative certainty Brady would break Brees’ record of 80,358 yards on Sunday against his former franchise. After racking up 432 yards in Week 3 against the L.A. Rams, Brady – on top of becoming just the second quarterback with 80,000 passing yards – climbed withing 67 yards of tying Brees and 68 away from passing him.
Brady’s already the record holder for career touchdown passes – another record of Brees’ he broke – and entered Sunday with 591. Thusly, every yard and every touchdown going forward for the 44-year-old Brady will set a new NFL standard as the G.O.A.T.’s career carries on in amazing and record-setting fashion.