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Just before the bye week, Drew Brees set the record for most all-time passing yards in a career. Two weeks before that, he set the record for most completions in a career. Last year, he set the season best mark for completion percentage. (Again.) This week, he’s staring face-to-face with two more achievements. Against the Ravens, he’s one touchdown pass away from the 500 club and one win away from being the third QB to beat all 32 NFL teams since the league expanded in 2002.
With the exception of the last record, he’s on pace to continue to completely demolishing the records he’s setting. Brees plans to play again next year, meaning that he’s got another year and 11 games (including the remainder of this season to distance himself from any and all current competition and therefore situating himself atop the record books for quite some time. If he really does play at least another 27 games before the start of the 2020 season, he’ll be amassing more yards, more completions, and more touchdowns while potentially continuing at the top pace for completion percentage. He’s already alluded to the possibility of going for 80% on a season.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at Brees’s average completions, touchdowns, and yards per season and see just how far he can take these records by the end of next season, performing at only his average pace.
We’re just going to use his average from the last 12 seasons, his time in New Orleans. From his career total, we’ll subtract what he’s already done this season, look at the average over 12 years and add that to this and next year’s totals. Just to get a ballpark for each category and look at how much he’ll increase his distance from past record holder.s
Let’s start with completions. Right now Brees ranks first all-time with 6,370. Next behind him are Brett Favre and Peyton Manning with 6,300 and 6,125 respectively. The next active player is Tom Brady with 5,774, quite a ways behind Brees at the fourth spot. Most other active players are still lingering in the mid-4,000s so safe to say that Drew Brees will continue to increase his separation from the pack. So, if we remove this year’s total so far of 148 completions from his Saints career completions we get 5,097 completions over his 12 years in New Orleans. Which averages out to 424.75 per year. We’ll just call it 424 to be considerate of others. Add that over two years plus his 12-year Saints and 5-year Chargers totals and you get 7,070 completions. A clean 770 completions beyond Brett Favre’s former number one spot. Now keep in mind that last year, Brees only threw 386 completions. But as of now, he’s on pace in 2018 to be nearer his 2016 total of 471. With Mark Ingram’s return, it could go either way.
I’m jumping ahead to touchdowns because this one has a little bit of a challenge to it. Let’s expedite this.
Career Total: 499
Saints 12-Year Total (excl. 2018) : 408
12-Year Average: 34
Chargers 5-Year Total: 80
Projected Total after 2019: 556
Career Total: 501
Minus 2018: 488
17-Year Average (excl. 2000 & 2018): 29
Projected Total after 2019: 546
If both Brees and Brady continue to play at their average paces through this year and next, they’ll be pretty tight as they both pass Peyton Manning’s career record mark of 539 sometime next season. For the record, both QBs are on pace to exceed their average, Brady by much more than Brees.
This is the one that can get out of hand quickly with Brees all on his own. Currently, Brees sits at 72,103 yards with the next active player (Brady) at 67,758, already a full season of production behind. Let’s see just how far this can go over the next two years in New Orleans. I like the expedited process so let’s do that again and then go over the details.
Career Total: 72,103
Saints 12-Year Total (excl. 2018): 58,097
12-Year Average: 4,841
Chargers 5-Year Total: 1,2348
Projected Total after 2019: 80,127
Now this is just ridiculous. This is an entire 8,187 yards beyond the previously standing record which Brees just surpassed. Of course, Brees didn’t throw for over 4,400 yards last year for the first time since 2009. But, before last season, he surpassed 4,800 six times in a row and, at the moment, is on pass to go over 5,000 again this year. This passing yardage record could get way out of reach really quickly if Brees can continue to play at the level he’s playing at so far.
Not to be forgotten, Brees is also well on his way to setting another completion percentage mark this season as he’s currently averaging an incredible 77.9% completion rate in 2018. This while also leading in all-time completion percentage just past Kurt Cousins.
Am I doing all of this math and exploring all of these theoretical situations just to basically say Drew Brees deserves to be considered the GOAT? Yeah, of course I am. But I’m also just putting on display how much further he’s going to be able to take his historic pace. Drew Brees is already in the record books holding many of the league’s most prominent records. But keep an eye on his still, even when there aren’t records left to break and he’s got the triple crown plus completion percentage. you won’t want to miss just how much further he can go.
Follow Ross on Twitter @RossJacksonASC