After setting the single-season mark for passing yards, Drew Brees quickly turned attention to his teammates and the city he plays for.
Drew Brees passes Dan Marino benchmark
"This record isn't about one person. There might be just one name that goes in ledger under the record, but it's really about the team," Brees said in the locker room after the Saints routed the Atlanta Falcons 45-16 on Monday night. "I want everyone to feel a huge part of this, that this record would not have been possible without them."
Brees broke the mark that Dan Marino, the former Miami Dolphins quarterback, had held since 1984. Brees threw for 307 yards and four touchdowns, the last a nine-yard strike to Darren Sproles that set the record on his last pass of the game.
"Honestly, I was really trying not to think about the record or anything," Brees said.
"A couple guys mentioned stuff to me on the sideline. I didn't want to hear it. It's like a pitcher with a no-hitter, I guess."
The final pass gave him 5,087 yards passing - with one game still to play. Marino finished with 5,084 yards in 1984.
Minutes after Brees broke the record, Marino, now a broadcaster, offered congratulations on his Twitter account, writing: "Great job by such a special player."
As Sproles spiked the ball, Brees thrust his fist in the air and walked toward midfield while the Superdome crowd went wild and his teammates chased him down.
Offensive guard Carl Nicks was the first one to get there and tried to lift Brees on to his shoulder, but could not do it as teammates swarmed around.
"If I could have put him on my shoulders and paraded him around the whole stadium I would have done that. He deserves it," Nicks said. "It's like a movie, man. Just a movie ending. It's beautiful ... You could tell by everyone's reaction after he did it how much people care about that guy. We all love him."
Brees' four touchdown passes gave him 276 for his career, moving him ahead of Joe Montana (273) and Vinny Testaverde (275) for ninth all-time. He is the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for more than 5,000 yards twice - he had 5,069 in 2008.
"I love the fact that everybody could be part of this on Monday Night Football," Brees said. "It's not about me. It's about this team, it's about this city, it's about these fans. So many people contributed to this, and I'm happy for them."
The Falcons, who won the NFC South last year, have qualified for the play-offs as a wild card.