Drew Brees is solidifying his place as one of the NFL's best.
The New Orleans Saints quarterback broke the NFL's all-time passing record on Monday night with a 62-yard touchdown pass to Tre'Quan Smith, surpassing the previous records of Peyton Manning and Brett Favre and ending the night with a career total of 72,103 passing yards.
While the record-breaking pass was a beauty to watch, it was the quiet but frenetic celebration Brees shared with his family that became the night's best instant replay.
"You can accomplish anything in life you're willing to work for," a visibly emotional Brees told his three sons between embraces.
"That's honestly what I whisper in their ears every night before they go to bed," Brees explained on Today Wednesday morning. "I want them to approach life with a great sense of gratitude, humility, and respect for others."
His reaction in the moment was no surprise to fans that have followed his career, as Brees has come to be known for his philanthropic endeavors almost as much as his passing accuracy. In 2010, Sports Illustrated named Brees Sportsman of the Year, calling him "the heart of New Orleans" and praising him not just for leading the Saints to that year's Super Bowl win, but also for his dedication to rebuilding the city so devastated by Hurricane Katrina. On top of this, the Brees Dream Foundation, co-founded with his wife Brittany, has raised over $25,000,000 for cancer research and community-building initiatives since 2003.
Given his reputation as possibly the nicest player in the NFL, it's no surprise that athletes and celebrities took the celebration online to share their congratulations on Twitter.
Though the overall reaction was generally positive, some felt that the NFL's official recognition of the record left something to be desired.
Despite the milestone, Brees isn't slowing down. “There are still goals to be accomplished. There are still challenges to be met," he said in a post-game press conference. In fact, he's hardly slowing down to celebrate. He quickly regained focus after a brief delay in Monday's game, giving a hasty hug to Sean Payton before adding, “Let's go win this game, alright?"
As for future accomplishments, Brees won't have to wait much longer; with 499 career touchdown passes, Brees is only one touchdown shy from joining NFL legends Manning, Favre, and Tom Brady in the "500 Club."
Rebecca Linde is a writer and cultural critic in NYC. She tweets about pop culture and television @rklinde.
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