The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


October 12, 2012

Joe Hadsall: Brees’ record a sign of team’s flipped fortune

JOPLIN, Mo. — Sunday was a good night at Geek Central, as my family of New Orleans Saints fans got to watch history made and a legendary record broken. The Saints ended the night with a comeback victory, as well -- even better! First win of the year, FINALLY.

But back to that record: Drew Brees breaking the record for continuous games with a touchdown pass is a big deal in football. The record of 47 games was set by the legendary Johnny Unitas in 1960. For 52 years that record stood, until Brees broke it with a 40-yard pass to Devery Henderson on Sunday.

Because the season is far from over, Brees could increase it considerably. In fact, an increase is likely from a strategic point of view, because the Saints defense has played so badly that more come-from-behind passing has been required. The record might be the only highlight of this coachless, lackluster season.

And that’s a good thing, because this record is such that it will put Brees in the conversation of best quarterbacks ever. That is awesome for New Orleans.

As was well covered during the Super Bowl-winning season of 2009, the Saints have always been one of the bottom dwellers, without a lot of good history. For every Dome Patrol, there is an Aints era. For every outstanding playoff win (before Coach Sean Payton and Brees in 2006, there was exactly one of those), there were even more heartbreaking losses.

Up until Katrina, one of the most outstanding plays in Saints history couldn’t even bring a win. Kicker John Carney muffed an extra point from a 75-yard, lateral filled play started with 7 seconds left in the game. The missed PAT led to a 20-19 loss against Jacksonville, and effectively knocked the Saints out of the playoff hunt.

Best Saint of all time

Up until Brees, the best quarterback was Archie Manning, who couldn’t will the rest of his substandard team to win. The best player was Hall of Famer Willie Roaf, an offensive lineman.

Brees has changed so many fortunes for the Saints. His story of injury recovery and needing New Orleans as much as New Orleans needed him is well told, and his reputation as a class act, philanthropist and community activist is well known.

They don’t get much better than Brees. And he’s our guy.

I can’t really put into words my gratitude for Brees: First off, someone as emotionally shaky as me should probably not be a Saints fan. But I can’t help it -- my emotions are tied to the performance of my team. When they win, I’m on cloud nine. When they lose, I get treated a little more hands-off by the Globe’s sports department.

With Brees, the Saints always have a chance. Most of the time this season, that has been torture. But it keeps me hooked.

Because when the magic happens -- like it did Sunday -- it’s a beautiful thing.

The consecutive touchdown record and all the records getting broken in this era are a verification that these are great days for Whodat Nation. And with Brees recently signed to a huge five-year, $100 million contract, these days will continue despite the ugliness of this off-season.

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