Drew Brees is the NFL’s new all-time leader in touchdown passes.

For the time being, at least.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback moved past Peyton Manning and into first place on that prestigious list Monday night, but Tom Brady remains well within striking distance.

Brady has thrown 538 regular-season touchdown passes, his latest two coming Sunday in a 34-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Manning threw 539 — the high-water mark in league history until this week.

 

Brady, who has competed against Brees since their days at Big Ten rivals at Michigan and Purdue, discussed their race for the record in an interview with Jim Gray during Westwood One Radio’s “Monday Night Football” pregame show.”

“It’s not quite the Mark McGuire-Sammy Sosa buildup back in the day when I was watching baseball during the home run chase, but it’s a great record,” the New England Patriots quarterback said. “And at the same time, it’s all about a team record. For a quarterback, you’re only as good as the people you play with, and I’ve been so fortunate to play with so many great players, as Drew has. The longevity that he’s shown, and for me to still do what I love to do, is great for both of us. I don’t want to speak for him, but I’m just happy he’s doing it. Last week, he threw five touchdowns, which was pretty amazing, and every week, that offense is going great things.

“I’ve been competing against him for going on 22 years and watched him from afar and always admired him as a player and as a person. Peyton is the one that holds the record. Peyton beat (Brett) Favre’s record, and to be mentioned in those guys’ company is incredible in and of itself. What a blessing it is, and I’ll be very happy if (Brees) breaks it. Hopefully, both of us can keep going and keep having more chances, but at the same time, we’ll share that will all the guys that we’ve thrown those touchdown passes to.”

The 42-year-old Brady will have a chance to overtake Brees when the Patriots host the Buffalo Bills on Saturday.

“I think records, they’re meant to be broken, and they will be broken eventually,” Brady told Gray. “Some are harder to break than others. And it is cool to see your name in the history books. But for me, the most important thing for me has always been to help my team achieve the goal of winning the game. And however that played out, whether it be hand the ball off 50 times or throw it 50 times, that’s what I’ve always tried to focus on.

“You want to be productive every week. You want to go out and throw touchdowns, because that means points, and you want to throw for yards, because that means production and the opportunity to score points. But at the same time, the object of the game is to win, and however you do it, that’s why we’re playing.”

Thumbnail photo via Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports