Sunday was a big night for one Tom Brady. As if seeing his ex, er … former coach for the first time since bidding farewell to the New England Patriots in favor of playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wasn’t nerve-racking enough, he entered the game on the cusp of achieving an all-but-inevitable milestone.
And achieve it he did. Brady didn’t let the 68 yards that stood between him and former New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees’ record (80,291 yards) as the NFL’s all-time leading passer linger for long.
The 44-year-old surpassed the mark on the 12th offensive play of the game with six minutes remaining in the first quarter — finding wide receiver Mike Evans for a 28-yard gain on a crossing route — and ended the night with 80,560 career passing yards to his name.
If surpassing Brees for the prestigious title held special significance to TB12, he didn’t let on in the moment. There was no lengthy stoppage of play to commemorate the occasion, just a brief acknowledgement of the record with a graphic on the Gillette Stadium scoreboard before Brady commenced putting some extra yards between himself and his longtime competitor.
In his postgame news conference, the seven-time Super Bowl champion was quick to credit his teammates when asked about the accomplishment.
“I just think it’s an amazing statistic in that so many people can share in it with me. Quarterback doesn’t throw and catch. Quarterback can just throw it. It’s yards. Passing yards have to be caught, so I just hope that everybody who caught passes from me over the years just had a little smile on their face tonight knowing they contributed to a very cool record,” Brady said.
While Brady was eager to share credit in obtaining the No. 1 spot, the makers of the Madden video game took it upon themselves to give him his flowers — with a coveted 99 rating.
Breaking the All-Time Passing Yards record is 9️⃣9️⃣ worthy 🙌
— Madden NFL 22 (@EAMaddenNFL) October 7, 2021
Although it’s a temporary rating, haters will be quick to point out the quarterback didn’t look so deserving of the 99 distinction in the Bucs’ Week 3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Meanwhile, Brady enthusiasts will undoubtedly look ahead to Tampa Bay’s Week 5 matchup with the Miami Dolphins and feel encouraged he might get to hold on to it for a little while longer.
Patrick Mahomes, who shares the Madden NFL 22 cover with Brady, is the only other quarterback in the exclusive 99 Club.