With every pass he completes this weekend, Drew Brees will extend his record for most yards completed in an NFL season. Brees, in fact, did something last night that Dan Marino could not do in 15 years of trying. He broke Marino's remarkable 1984 yardage record.
Yet Brees' remarkable feat is marginally better than his rivals in this Year of the Quarterback.
New England's Tom Brady is 103 yards short of 5,000 yards for the season and 190 yards shy of passing Marino's 5,087-yard record.
Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers has already thrown 45 touchdown passes, three shy of Marino's 48 scores in 1984. Rodgers may finish the season with a passer rating over 120.0. He sits at 122.5 after 15 games.
Detroit's Matthew Stafford has come of age to lead the Lions back to the postseason with a team capable of making a genuine playoff run.
Rookie Cam Newton has been overshadowed by Tebow Mania in spite of the vast difference between their performance. Newton is a top-10 passer with 3,893 yards and 20 touchdowns to his credit. Please, NFL, schedule the Carolina Panthers for more prime time games next season.
Tim Tebow, meanwhile, continues to prove correct both sides of the argument about him. He is a terrible passer. He wins games. Only the NFL's finest can best the Broncos with Tebow under center. In a copycat league, Denver finally accepts that they have something in Tebow that cannot be duplicated. They are prepared to build on that if only to meet the public's insatiable demand for more Tebow.
Rookie of the Year has become a quarterback award with Cam Newton as the leading candidate. But, give Andy Dalton a talent like A.J. Green to throw to and he will make Cincinnati a contender and stake his own claim for ROTY honors.
Would the Minnesota Vikings' season been better if they kept Tarvaris Jackson?
Do not lament Peyton Manning's lost season. The Manning family is well represented by Eli who long ago shed the "little bro" handle while proving to Rex Ryan that the Jets really are the little bros of New York and New Jersey.
Fans celebrate Brees' individual achievement. But Brees and his fellow quarterbacks see the performance as steps to reach the real goal—win the Super Bowl. That was something Marino never did. He would trade his record for the ring if he could.
Fans and front offices over-think the Holy Grail of "franchise quarterback." I'm looking at you, San Diego Chargers GM A.J. Smith who punted Brees out the door in the rush to start Phillip Rivers. Smith's great sin is that he failed to show as much faith in Brees after an injury than the Saints did. Rivers is a legitimate franchise quarterback, but no one is calling hims a future Hall of Famer just yet. Rivers has yet to do what Brees has done once and threatens to do once more, lead his team to a Super Bowl. Brees' record is another banana peel on Smith's path to the exit ramp.
The year 2011 will be labeled the Year of the Quarterback, but here is one thing to count on. It will not take 27 years for someone to break Drew Brees' passing record. Who knows, it might be Brees who does it.