Fifteen quarterbacks in NFL history have started games after turning 40. Come Sunday, that number will rise to 16.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrated his milestone birthday Tuesday and is poised to keep his record-breaking season going strong into the NFC championship against the Rams and possibly to Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta next month. The Saints haven’t been to the championship game since they capped their 2009-10 season with the Lombardi Trophy.
In that time, Brees has broken numerous records, with many coming this season as he led the Saints to a 13-3 record and an NFC South title for the second straight season.
Here we take a look at Drew Brees’ milestones and numbers to know — with the help of our colleagues at Opta. (If you like what you see here, give @OptaJerry — the official Twitter page for Opta’s NFL and NCAA stats-driven football coverage — a follow on Twitter.)
10 facts about No. 9 on his 40th birthday:
— Since joining the Saints before the 2006 season, New Orleans has gone 125-80 in games Brees has started. The franchise had won 125 games between 1989 and 2005. Additionally, Brees has helped lead the team to an 8-5 postseason record and the one Super Bowl win. Prior to 2005, the team was 1-5 in the playoffs.
— Brees holds six career passing records, including passing yards (74,437), passing touchdowns (520) and completion percentage (67.2 percent). Additionally, he has three of the top four highest completion percentages in a single season and has the fourth-most wins of any quarterback before turning 40 (155).
— He ranks second in regular-season history in game-winning drives (48) and third in comebacks (34). He has been selected to 12 Pro Bowls — only eight players have been chosen for more.
— He has thrown four or more passing touchdowns in 34 regular-season games. Only Peyton Manning (35) has more.
— Brees has thrown 30-plus touchdown passes in 10 of the last 11 seasons. Only two other quarterbacks in league history have thrown 30-plus TD passes more than seven seasons (Brett Favre and Peyton Manning with nine).
— In the regular season, Brees has thrown touchdown passes to 66 different players. Of the four players with 500-plus passing touchdowns, only one — Tom Brady (71) — has thrown touchdown passes to more players. Marques Colston caught 72 touchdowns from Brees – the seventh-most ever for a NFL duo.
— Brees has thrown 15 touchdown passes on fourth down, tied with Peyton Manning for the most since at least 1994.
— He owns a completion percentage of 66.4 percent in the postseason, the highest of any player with 500 or more postseason pass attempts.
— There have been eight instances of a quarterback age 40 or older throwing 10-plus touchdown passes in a season. Since becoming a starter in 2002, Brees has averaged 30.5 touchdown passes per season.
— A quarterback age 40 or older has thrown for 4,000 or more yards in a season three times in league history (Tom Brady, 2017 and ’18, Brett Favre, 2009). This regular season marked the first time since 2005 that Brees did not throw for more than 4,000 yards (he finished with 3,992).