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Unitas family supports Brees’ effort to break record

New Orleans Saints v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

With a touchdown pass Sunday, Saints quarterback Drew Brees will break Johnny Unitas’ 52-year-old record of a touchdown pass in 47 straight games.

And the Unitas family doesn’t mind a bit.

Joe Unitas, the son of the legendary Colts quarterback, posted a letter to Brees on his Facebook page (via the Baltimore Sun):

“Drew, I wanted to take a minute to congratulate you on tying my father’s record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass. I’ve been follow your pursuit of the record since last season. I’m a big fan of yours, and wish you the best  Sunday night against San Diego as you try to break the record. My father always said that records were meant to be broken. I know that if he was still with us that he would wish you the best as well.

“When I look back on my father’s life I remember a man who was much bigger  than the game of football. The things he would appreciate most about you have nothing to do with football; it’s about who you are as a person. You’re a role model for today’s youth, a family man, and a humanitarian who cares for his community.

“My father would tell you these are the important things in life, not some record in a book. Continue to be a leader for your team and the City of New Orleans. You’re a great quarterback but even better man. Stay healthy and safe this week and in the future. My family and I will be watching Sunday night cheering for you. Best of luck.

“Sincerely, Joe Unitas”

The record Unitas set is amazing, as has Brees’ pursuit of it. The Unitas family’s gracious response to his attempt is impressive as well.

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32 Responses to “Unitas family supports Brees’ effort to break record”
  1. 19nown4ever says: Oct 2, 2012 2:28 PM

    Nothing against Brees (except the Super Bowl against the Colts) but Johnny U was the man. Is the man. Always will be the man. And this is a totally classy move by his family.

  2. rjg427 says: Oct 2, 2012 2:31 PM

    Im curious ..how many of Unitas’ touchdowns were dump offs to the running back..brees has been able to maintain this streak quite cheaply, its a slap in the face to Unitas…Thats all brees lives for are records, and then claims he wasnt aware hes close…at least brady admits hes going for a record…brees has lost all credibility in my mind since this offseason

  3. brasho says: Oct 2, 2012 2:31 PM

    Considering the two vastly different eras the two players took their snaps in, what Brees has done is remarkable, what Unitas did is akin to throwing TDs in 100 straight games in today’s era.

    Props to Drew Brees but he would have to throw a TD in each game for the next 4 seasons for it to be truly comparable (in the context of true achievement) to Unitas.

  4. awdlmd says: Oct 2, 2012 2:31 PM

    Unlike Unitas, Brees isn’t facing 180 lb white guys on defense.

  5. tennesseeoilers says: Oct 2, 2012 2:33 PM

    TOTAL class … the letter and the person it’s written to.

    -Titans Fan

  6. citizenstrange says: Oct 2, 2012 2:40 PM

    Well done Unitas family.

  7. nispikers says: Oct 2, 2012 2:41 PM

    Enough said and Joe Unitas said it! There should be nothing more to say by anyone

  8. seahawks4alltime says: Oct 2, 2012 2:43 PM

    Johnny Unitas- a man who was much bigger than the game of football. The things he would appreciate most about (Brees) have nothing to do with football; it’s about who you are as a person.

    All class. God Bless you Johnny. And the classy family you raised.

  9. justwinsomeday says: Oct 2, 2012 2:46 PM

    And obviously Johnny U was also a great father as his son’s actions so eloquently depict.

  10. thekiller678 says: Oct 2, 2012 3:03 PM

    awdlmd says: Oct 2, 2012 2:31 PM

    Unlike Unitas, Brees isn’t facing 180 lb white guys on defense.
    ————————————————————-
    Unlike Brees, Unitas didn’t play in a dome or run up the score on inferior opponents. Or play in a pass happy league with rules designed to help the offense score points. Oh, and he also didn’t play in a 16 game season. Nice observation, though.

  11. seahawks4alltime says: Oct 2, 2012 3:06 PM

    “Unlike Unitas, Brees isn’t facing 180 lb white guys on defense.”

    What? Are you referring to one specific defender or what? I actually have a really hard time thinking of even one defender from ANY team in the NFL that fits that bill. Is Clay Mathews a 180 lb white guy? Is Justin Houston from KC? Are Edwards or Johnson (from the Panthers) 180 lb white guys? How about Kerrigan from the ‘Skins? These guys are all in the top 15 in the NFL for sacks. Brees hasn’t been playing against a bunch of pansies.

  12. ghostofgilchrist says: Oct 2, 2012 3:15 PM

    It’s an amazing feat, regardless of the era it was accomplished. All credit to Drew, but I confess there’s part of me that hopes he doesn’t get one this week, and remains tied with Johnny U.

  13. rexranius says: Oct 2, 2012 3:24 PM

    Just the fact that a team scores a TD in 47 straight is an accomplishment. But for the QB to throw one in every single one of those games is remarkable regardless of the era. It doesn’t matter whether you are up against today’s or yesterday’s defense because you are playing with today’s and yesterday’s offensive players also. It is much like a baseball hitting streak. You gotta have a ton of skill, the right players around you and a little luck.

  14. sclement65 says: Oct 2, 2012 3:37 PM

    Unlike Brees, Unitas didn’t play in a dome or run up the score on inferior opponents. Or play in a pass happy league with rules designed to help the offense score points. Oh, and he also didn’t play in a 16 game season. Nice observation, though.

    If it is so easy to do, why has it taken 52 years for someone to have a shot at breaking it. Quit hating on Brees. Every record he breaks, some jackass comes on here and trys to shoot it down.

  15. capecotton says: Oct 2, 2012 3:38 PM

    Compare the Unitas’s words and actions to the absolute classlessness of the remaining ’72 Dolphins. Their self-agrandizing little chest beating is tired and I’m sick of hearing them every season.

    Shula, especially. He’s lucky he had to face a worn-out Over-The-Hill Gang and a pot-bellied Billy Kilmer to go 14-0 (and I loved those guys, don’t get me wrong).

    Otherwise, he’d be known as the coach that COULDN’T win a Super Bowl with Dan Marino.

    And don’t get me started on Morris…

  16. packerhater says: Oct 2, 2012 3:38 PM

    What Unitas did was WAY WAY more impressive , he did it at a time when the NFL didnt have so many rules favoring the passing game and hand tying the pass D. Back when teams would on a high average would run the ball more then pass.

    That being said , congrats to Drew it sill is a big accomplishment.

  17. evolved4 says: Oct 2, 2012 3:40 PM

    As soon as you start the comparison game the argument either for or against either player disintegrates. Yep, the defenses in the late 50′s were not as athletic as today, but neither were the skill position players on offense. For me (a 56 year old), Unitas’ record is superior. And I will offer one observation in support. #19 did not throw 1 yard TD passes to keep his streak alive. I have noticed that as Brees has gotten closer to the record, he makes sure he gets his first TD pass, no matter where the Saints are on the field. Watch the 1st quarter of the last 10 Saints games, it is fairly obvious.

  18. goldenperspective says: Oct 2, 2012 3:41 PM

    Pure class. Nothing but pure class. Good luck Mr. Brees.

  19. westclaims says: Oct 2, 2012 3:44 PM

    Joe Namath predicts it won’t happen.

  20. thefirstsmilergrogan says: Oct 2, 2012 3:50 PM

    johnny u was a class act. the letter from his son reflects that class.

    and seahawks4 you need a remedial reading class.

  21. awdlmd says: Oct 2, 2012 3:51 PM

    seahawks4alltime: You got what I said backwards. I have a hard time getting too excited about the prehistoric guys because the league was just not as competitive then.

  22. nyjetsfan08 says: Oct 2, 2012 4:03 PM

    I’ll take Johnny U. I know the defenders weren’t as big, but Brees has played in a dome and the receivers were getting mugged on every play. Brees is a future HOF, but Johnny U is, to steal a line from another future HOF, Ray Lewis, and man of men.

  23. miles58a says: Oct 2, 2012 4:26 PM

    No offense but you can’t compare Brees to Unitas, yea the rules are different but the talent these days is so much better have y’all ever watched the highlights of Unitas they were showing a bunch of them on ESPN and the receivers were wide open. Also everyone keeps bringing up Brees plays in a Dome and his passing yards record isn’t as impressive as Marino’s but have y’all ever look at what Brees average’s outside the Dome he averaged 370 ypg last year outside on grass. Dan Marino averaged 317 ypg in 1985 the year he passed for 5084. I’m not trying to say one record is better than the other I believe one is as equally impressive as the other. I’m just sick of everyone saying because Brees plays in a Dome his records aren’t as impressive. Check his stats before you talk

  24. judsonjr says: Oct 2, 2012 4:40 PM

    It’s kind of a joke given the way he got a TD pass vs the Rams last year.

    Down 18 with about 30 seconds left, Brees got sacked at the 30. Any team with common sense packs it in at that point, but not the Saints. They call time out so Brees can get a few shots at a TD.

    And with 10 seconds left, the Saints score a clutch passing TD to cut the deficit to 11.

  25. 4thqtrsaint says: Oct 2, 2012 4:50 PM

    It doesn’t matter how good the record being broken is. People always try to find ways to make it sound meaningless or less accomplished. People whining about 1 yd passes, come on… In this league, you take the shots when they are there, 1 yd or 60 yds. And its 6 points all the same.

  26. evolved4 says: Oct 2, 2012 5:35 PM

    4thqtrsaint
    I am not whining. I state facts. I agree, you take advangtage of what is available. But when you consistently exhibit a certain behavior, it is revealing. I can make largely irrelevant blanket statements also, “all Saints fans are blind defenders of Drew Brees”.

  27. roverboy1949 says: Oct 2, 2012 6:02 PM

    The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – very classy, Joe. Drew deserves the praise, and I hope he gets the record.
    I’m a Pats fan. Maybe Tom Brady might get there, too.

  28. marima07 says: Oct 2, 2012 6:31 PM

    The Unitas family couldn’t be more gracious.

    And Brady just wants to win games, even if it means handing off to running backs all game long and keeping his own stats down.

  29. cometkazie says: Oct 2, 2012 8:36 PM

    Another great display of sportsmanship!

  30. Savage Lizard says: Oct 3, 2012 12:07 PM

    The Saints throw all the time, regardless of the game situation, to help Brees break records. Running up scores so he can get more yards, throwing on every down inside the 10 so he can crank up the TD pass numbers. Then he repays the team who puts him in a position to break records and pad his stats by bending them over for every last nickel while they are in the middle of a huge scandal. Meanwhile the fans who openly disrespected their own team by wearing bags on their heads eat it up.

    They all deserve each other.

  31. preopgirl says: Oct 3, 2012 6:38 PM

    My mama always said if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.

    This is a good article from a nice guy. Drew Brees is very deserving and it amazes me the people the people that are jealous and so immature that come here to make their rude comments.

    Congrats to Drew. And Johnny must have been a fine quaterback that raised such a classy son. Thanks from a Saints fan.

  32. fazsha says: Oct 7, 2012 9:17 PM

    Nothing against Unitas, but he WAS throwing to two future Hall of Famers – Ray Berry and Lenny Moore. Brees is throwing to a bunch of guys who will never be nominated, let alone make it in.

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