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updated: 10/9/2012 3:46 PM

Drew Brees pales compared to Unitas

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  • Baltimore Colts quarterback John Unitas, here talking with coach Don Shula, held the NFL record with 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass until Drew Brees broke it Sunday.

      Baltimore Colts quarterback John Unitas, here talking with coach Don Shula, held the NFL record with 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass until Drew Brees broke it Sunday.
    Associated Press/1965 file

  • New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) reacts after completing a touchdown pass Sunday for his 48th consecutive game, breaking Johnny Unitas' NFL record which stood for over 50 years.

      New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) reacts after completing a touchdown pass Sunday for his 48th consecutive game, breaking Johnny Unitas' NFL record which stood for over 50 years.
    Associated Press

 
By Mike North
The Rebel Insider

I watched New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees break Johnny Unitas' NFL record of consecutive games with a touchdown Sunday night, and while it was nice I wasn't overly impressed.

The record Unitas set of 47 straight games with a touchdown will also be surpassed at the end of the season by New England's Tom Brady. Brees has set the standard with 48 straight games with a touchdown, and he shows no sign of letting up.

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With the new rules, and the advent of such prolific passing, the record could be 80, 90 or even 100 straight games with a touchdown.

What makes the Unitas' record so impressive is he did it in the run-first, pass-second era of the NFL. Unitas averaged only 24 passes a game in his career. After five games, Drew Brees has thrown a mind-boggling 236 times, averaging 47.2 attempts a game.

One touchdown pass a game is a joke, and should be expected when you are playing indoors with ideal conditions a majority of the time, and with the most liberal offensive rules in NFL history.

This stat says it all: in a 1959 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Johnny U went 2-9, but one of the completions was a touchdown to keep the streak going.

Congratulations to Mr. Brees, but what Johnny U did and when he did it is astounding. Johnny's former record of 47 straight games with a touchdown will be broken again and again, but it was a different era and a different game.

No more Big Four

Since I've been in this business, and even before, I've heard the phrase the Big Four or the four major sports.

I believe I'm the first guy who now says the big three when it comes to major sports. Until recently, it has been the NFL, the MLB, the NBA and the NHL.

Well, I'm done with the status quo. The National Hockey League is a fringe sport; it's a struggle to even talk about the game.

The NHL is ruled by greed and expansion. They have the coolest trophy, but that's where it ends. The lockout, the repeated work stoppages, the fact that worldwide leader ESPN hardly acknowledges their existence on its TV broadcasts while soccer is featured prominently is a sign of the times -- and not a good one.

In the sports radio business, it has long been viewed that talking hockey is a ratings killer. It's really a shame, but you can't feel sorry for any of these people.

With the NFL rolling, major league baseball playoffs in full bloom, and the NBA getting ready to roll, it's not a surprise no one really cares about hockey or the strike except the hard-core fan.

I don't know who's right or wrong with the owners and players, but do they understand for the most part no one cares?

Better than the 49ers?

I know the flavor of the year in the National Football League with a lot of people is the San Francisco 49ers.

And I agree that with Jim Harbaugh's leadership, the 49ers have made a great turnaround and are a really good story. But I'm going by the eye test, and the Chicago Bears look every bit as good as San Francisco.

If the Bears stay injury free, I will take my chances with Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Charles Tillman, Brian Urlacher, and Matt Forte against Alex Smith, Frank Gore, and Patrick Willis. It should be fun down the stretch to see who survives.

Program note:

I have added Monday night hosting from 6-9 p.m. on Fox Sports Radio to my usual Saturday (6-9 p.m.) and Sunday (9 p.m. to midnight) shows. Listen on XM169, iHeart radio or foxpsortsradio.com.

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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