Brees needed 201 yards to overtake Manning’s record of 71,940, and he completed the feat in the second quarter of his side’s Monday night game against Washington Redskins.
After Brees found Tre’Quan Smith with a 62-yard touchdown pass, play was temporarily suspended to celebrate the achievement and to award the 39-year-old with the record-breaking ball.
“I will remember that one for a long time,” Brees said. “It has truly been a dream come true. Truly proud and very grateful.”
As the Mercedes-Benz Superdome showed its support to the record-breaker, a host of stars were busy sending their own congratulations.
Denver Broncos posted a video of Manning sending a tongue-in-cheek message to the man who broke his record.
“Drew, for 1,000 days, I’ve held the record for all-time passing yards in the NFL, and I’ve got to tell you, it’s been the greatest 1,000 days of my life,” Manning said.
“And thanks to you, that’s over now, and you’ve ruined that for me, so thank you very much.”
With 499 career touchdown passes, Brees is also well on track to break Manning’s NFL record of 539.
“Let this serve as the congratulations for the touchdown record, because as you can see, I’m very busy, I don’t have time to keep making all of these videos congratulating you,” Manning joked.
Before breaking Manning’s yardage record, Brees surpassed former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre’s career total with his first pass of the match. Favre said he was “proud to be passed by a guy like you.”
At just six feet tall, Brees is considered small for a player of his position. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson pointed out he was an inspiration for all the “short guys” in the sport.
Brees was joined by his family on the field as he celebrated his success. In emotional scenes, the quarterback embraced his four children and delivered an inspirational message.
“You can accomplish anything in life if you’re willing to work for it,” he said.
Minnesota Vikings star Kirk Cousins was one of many viewers to be touched by the moment.
Brees is just one touchdown pass away from a career total of 500, a milestone reached by Tom Brady last week, and should be considered one of the best ever.
According to his former teammate Reggie Bush, Brees is the greatest quarterback he ever played with.
It wasn’t just NFL stars who acknowledged Brees’ magical achievement. NBA star LeBron James saluted the quarterback for reaching the milestone.
Brees is in his 18th NFL season and previously led the Saints to Super Bowl victory in 2009. He was also named MVP of the final.
Former US President Barack Obama, who was sworn in the same year as Brees’ Superbowl success, tweeted his pleasure at the landmark.
“Congratulations to Drew Brees on the all time passing record. Always a class act,” he wrote.