One of the most prolific passers in NFL history added a remarkable record Monday to his long list of Hall of Fame-caliber achievements.
Drew Brees broke Peyton Manning's all-time passing record of 71,940 yards during the second quarter of the New Orleans Saints' 43-19 victory over the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football. He set the mark on a 62-yard touchdown pass to Tre'Quan Smith that gave the Saints a 26-6 lead.
Brees needed 201 yards to surpass Manning's mark -- the TD pass pushed him to 228. He finished the game completing 26 of 29 passes for 363 yards and three touchdowns. He currently has 72,103 career passing yards.
The 39-year-old signal caller was honored during a brief stoppage in play after breaking the record, receiving an ovation from players and fans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans as he huddled with his family and Saints owner Gayle Benson. The ball caught by Smith was given to Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker for display in Canton, Ohio.
"There's just so many people who are responsible for that," an emotional Brees told ESPN's Lisa Salters after the game. "Two of the people who are most responsible for my football career early on in my life are up in heaven. My mom and my grandfather. There were a lot of people I wanted to prove right tonight and make proud, and none more so than them. I know they're watching down on me at all times and my kids.
"Just so grateful, just so grateful for the opportunity to play this game and to play for so long," Brees continued. "To have teammates that I have, the New Orleans Saints organization, this great city and this great fan base, it's just truly been a dream come true. I'll be able to reflect on it maybe a little bit more when my career is done -- I still feel like there's work to be done -- but I'm just really, really proud and very grateful."
Brees exited the game at the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter. He finished the game completing 26 of 29 passes for 363 yards and three touchdowns. He has 499 career touchdown passes.
Brees entered the game third all-time in passing yards with 71,740 before passing No. 2 Brett Favre (71,838). Brees is roughly 5,000 yards ahead of the next active player on the all-time passing list -- No. 4 Tom Brady at 67,077.
It also took Brees fewer games than Manning to pass for 71,740 yards -- Brees achieved the feat in 253 games compared to Manning's 266. He also has a higher career completion percentage (67.1) than Manning (65.3) and Favre (62.0). He surpassed Favre earlier this season to become the NFL's all-time completion leader.
Brees told reporters this week he "never would have dreamed" of setting the all-time passing mark when he first entered the league with the San Diego Chargers in 2001.
Manning took a timeout from prepping dinner to congratulate Brees on breaking the record (and to congratulate him for breaking his TD record, which should fall to Brees next season):
Favre also congratulated Brees on passing him on the all-time list: