If (when) Saints quarterback Drew Brees throws a touchdown pass at Lambeau Field on Sunday, Brees will tie the NFL’s equivalent of the Joe DiMaggio hitting streak.
John Unitas once threw a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games. Brees has done it in 46 straight.
If (when) Brees matches the record on Sunday, he can break it next Sunday night on NBC, when the Saints host the Chargers, the team with which Brees started his career.
Even if (when) Brees breaks the record, it won’t undermine what Unitas accomplished. He strung 47 straight games with at least one passing touchdown together in the days before the NFL realized the connection between passing offense and gross revenue. The rules favored the defense, from the limits on how offensive linemen could block to no limits on how defensive lineman could smack offensive linemen in the head — and no limits on what defensive backs could do to receivers before the ball was in the air.
Given the changes to the rules, the most amazing thing about the Unitas record is that it’s taken someone so long to catch it.
And if (when) Brees breaks it, there’s no reason to think he won’t carry it through the 2012 season, running the number all the way to DiMaggio’s 56.