Is Brees' streak diminished by era?

October, 4, 2012
10/04/12
3:22
PM ET
Whenever you compare players from different eras, it makes for a great debate.

With Drew Brees on the verge of breaking Johnny Unitas’ record (47) for consecutive games with a touchdown pass, ESPN Stats & Information’s Alok Pattani takes a look at the two streaks.

He writes that Brees’ streak might not be quite as impressive as what Unitas did. Unitas’ streak came from 1956 through 1960 at a time when anywhere from 40 to 50 percent of a team’s overall plays were passes. Brees’ streak comes in an era where teams throw on about 60 percent of their offensive plays.

Using some fancy math, Pattani calculates that a 47-game touchdown pass steak was 43 times more unlikely in the late 1950s than today. He also calculates that it would take a 63-game streak today to be as impressive as a 47-game streak in the late 1950s.

All valid points. There is no doubt that Brees plays in a league that passes much more often than the one Unitas plays in.

But I don’t think Brees’ potential accomplishment should be diminished. Unitas’ record has stood for 52 years. If another quarterback had played well enough, the record could have been broken long ago.

But it wasn’t. It’s lasted until Brees, so let’s give him his due credit.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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