In a taped interview with Drew Brees that was played during the pregame show of our radio broadcast yesterday, host Deke Bellevia asked him a "spirit of the season" question: If you were to dress up for Halloween as a quarterback of yesteryear, who would it be?
After some consideration, Brees replied, "Y.A. Tittle," recalling the iconic picture of Tittle on his knees, blood streaming down his face, beaten and beaten up by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1964. The former LSU star suffered an interception returned for a touchdown on the play, along with a concussion and a cracked sternum.
He would play the rest of the season for the Giants - his 17th and final one for a Giant team that would finish with the worst record in the NFL. Tittle would later say of the moment, "That was the end of the road. It was over."
Yesterday Brees - in his 15th season - showed us all, again, that his road is far from that. Among the many records he set or shared was this one: Only one other quarterback had seven touchdowns and 500 yards passing in a game as he had. That quarterback was Y.A. Tittle. The pro football Hall of Fame quarterback will be remembered as bloodied but unbowed in defeat.
We will choose to remember future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees as unbloodied, unbowed and unsacked in victories like yesterday's.
Actually, we choose not to remember him at all, but to witness his continuing excellence for as long as possible. A quarterback in the autumn of his professional career but enjoying this "Indian summer" as he should - and we should, as well.
It's unlikely he nor any like him will ever pass this way again.
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