|Brees holds aloft the record-breaking ball. (US Presswire)|
In the week leading up to Sunday night's Saints-Chargers game, Joe Unitas -- the son of legendary Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas -- sent a letter to New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees. In it, Unitas basically wrote that the family wished him well and that they would be happy if Brees broke Unitas' record of 47-straight games with a touchdown pass.
"Continue to be a leader for your team and the City of New Orleans. You're a great quarterback but even better man," Unitas wrote. "Stay healthy and safe this week and in the future. My family and I will be watching Sunday night cheering for you. Best of luck."
Brees and Unitas met briefly before the game, and then, Unitas watched as Brees' 40-yard touchdown pass to Devery Henderson in the first quarter broke the record held by his father for 52 years (Johnny Unitas died in 2002).
Here it is, via SB Nation.
Immediately, Brees -- who has thrown 115 touchdowns and 50 interceptions during his streak (Unitas had 102 and 61, respectively) -- put the ball in a safe place on the sideline, as the Superdome crowd (with Sean Payton in attendance) and his teammates went wild.
Even Saints enemy No. 1 right now was impressed.
Congrats to @drewbrees & his teammates on breaking Unitas' record. Amazing accomplishment by great QB & leader. We're proud of you, Drew— Roger Goodell (@nflcommish) October 8, 2012
While Brees is a fantastic quarterback, Unitas played in an era that didn't feature wide-open offensive attacks, where a 4,000-yard passer wasn't commonplace. In Unitas' time, the NFL was about the running game and defense, and most coaches would rather win a game 10-7 than 41-34.
That's what makes Unitas' mark so otherworldly.
Either way, Brees' resilience is impressive, and the fact he's been so consistent throughout his career is a fantastic testament to his standing as one of the best quarterbacks of the past 20 years. I'm not sure Brees is an all-timer like Unitas -- at least, not yet -- but if he keeps throwing touchdown passes, he very well could be considered in that same class of star when he takes off his shoulder pads for good.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Josh Katzowitz on Twitter here: @joshkatzowitz.