NEW ORLEANS – Approaching 33 and with two young boys at home, Drew Brees has been emphasizing his role as a father lately, appearing on Sesame Street and in commercials with his children.
Apparently, none of that is interfering with his day job as New Orleans Saints quarterback. If anything, Brees said this week, it’s one of the reasons he’s playing some of the best football of his career and on the brink of breaking some of the most prestigious records.
“The more balanced you are in life outside of football, the more you have things together there, the better football player you become,” Brees said. “Not only does it put life in perspective, but it also gives
you even more to play for.
“When I think about what I play for, I play for my family. I play because I want my two boys to grow up and be proud of what their dad did. That’s definitely something I think allows you to be a more complete person, and therefore, a more complete player.”
Already the NFL’s most prolific passer over his five previous seasons in New Orleans, Brees is closer to breaking Dan Marino’s 1984 single-season passing record than he is to his 33rd birthday on Jan. 15.
Brees needs 305 yards to surpass Marino’s mark of 5,084. At this point, that seems like a fait accompli, considering Brees has passed for 300 yards or more in a game an NFL-record 11 times this season.
The Saints have two games left, both at home in the Superdome, starting Monday night against Atlanta and closing with Carolina on Jan. 1.
“Drew’s having, in my mind, an MVP season. There’s no doubt about that. He’s distributing the ball extremely well,” said Atlanta coach Mike Smith, who has already faced the Saints once this season and has seen plenty of film on New Orleans’ star QB this week.
Brees’ assault on the record book is one for the ages. Not only is he on pace to break Marino’s 27-year-old record by hundreds of yards, he also is close to breaking his own season-long completion percentage record of 70.62 set in 2009, the season he led the Saints to their first Super Bowl title. Brees has completed 71.5 percent (417 of 583) through 14 games this season.
“He looks very comfortable back there running the offense,” Smith said. “There are so many different weapons and areas he can distribute it to and he’s doing a really outstanding job. The pass completion percentage … is the highest in NFL history. So that tells you the level he’s playing right now. It’s just amazing to watch him.”
Brees will be the first to say he has a lot of help. Coach Sean Payton has designed his offense to suit Brees’ strengths. The offensive line generally protects him well and the players catching the ball often turn short-to-midrange passes into long gains.
Still, Brees has to find the right guy at the right time, and he’s doing that better than ever, which is the main reason New Orleans’ offense is easily on pace to set an NFL record for most yards from scrimmage in a season. The current record of 7,075 is held by the 2000 St. Louis Rams, known as “The Greatest Show on Turf.” With 6,394 total yards so far, the Saints are on pace for about 7,307 yards.
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