FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady became the third player in NFL history to throw 500 touchdown passes, reaching the mark in the fourth quarter of Thursday night’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Brady connected with wide receiver Josh Gordon on a 39-yard pass with 9:19 left to join Peyton Manning (539) and Brett Favre (508) as the only quarterbacks to throw for 500 touchdowns. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is on the cusp of becoming the fourth.
“Things like that, milestones and so forth, there’s so many people who contribute,” Brady said after the team’s 38-24 victory. “I just think of all the people who have really worked hard. A quarterback doesn’t throw them to himself. He needs people to catch, and block, and the defense to make plays, and coaches to coach. These are all great team awards. Pretty cool.”
In joining that exclusive club, Brady became the first player to do so while playing for only one team.
“It’s tremendous. It’s a lot of touchdown passes to a lot of different guys, too. … No quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady,” coach Bill Belichick said.
Brady also set an NFL record by throwing at least one touchdown pass to 71 different players, breaking a tie with Vinny Testaverde for the most in NFL history.
Gordon, who was playing in only his second game with the Patriots, said he was honored to be the 71st different player to catch a touchdown pass from Brady.
“To catch any pass from Tom is amazing, let alone some history-making catch,” Gordon said. “I told him, ‘Congratulations’ and I know there are many more from him to come. … So I am looking forward to that and the next history point to make from him. I hope to be a part of it. It was awesome.”
Brady has also thrown 71 touchdown passes in the playoffs, but those don’t count toward NFL record totals. He entered Thursday night with 568 touchdown passes when including the playoffs. Manning threw for an NFL-high 579 total touchdowns when including the playoffs.
Brady has said in the past that the only stat that matters to him is victories, and he tied Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri for most wins by a player Thursday night with 226 (including playoffs).
His teammates marveled at his accomplishments.
“It’s just surreal what he’s doing at his age, how he feels, just the work ethic he has and how he brings it every practice and every game,” tight end Rob Gronkowski said. “He just doesn’t stop. It’s an honor to be out on the field with him.”
Of Brady’s 500 touchdown passes, here are a few notable highlights:
His first touchdown pass was to wide receiver Terry Glenn on Oct. 14, 2001.
He is one of two players to throw for 50 touchdowns in a season, along with Manning.
His longest touchdown pass was 99 yards to Wes Welker, on Sept. 12, 2011, against Miami. There have been only 13 pass plays of 99 yards in league history.
He has thrown 76 touchdown passes to tight end Rob Gronkowski, his most to any player. Randy Moss, with 39, is next on the list.
He has thrown 68 touchdown passes against the Bills, his highest total against any team.