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Joe Burrow 12 pass attempts away from dethroning childhood idol Drew Brees in NFL record books

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is poised to become the NFL’s all-time leader in completion percentage, as long as he makes at least 12 pass attempts on Monday against the Buffalo Bills.

Once Burrow attempts 12 more passes — no matter if they're all incomplete — he'll officially pass his childhood idol Drew Brees for the best completion percentage in NFL history.

Only three years into his career, Burrow is stacking up the accolades. He’s completed 69% of his passes going into Monday and already has the highest completion percentage in NFL history for any player after his first two seasons. But to be officially recognized in NFL records as the most accurate passer in league history, Burrow needs at least 1,500 attempts. He has 1,488 through Week 16 of the 2022 season.

Brees’ career mark of 67.7% was briefly dethroned as the most accurate passer ever by Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. But after returning from a league-mandated suspension for alleged sexual misconduct, Watson has completed 57.7% of his passes over his four games in 2022. That has dropped Watson’s career number from 67.8% down to 67.2%.

Now, Jimmy Garoppolo holds the second-place spot behind Brees with 67.6%. The other completion percentage leaders are also active quarterbacks — Dak Prescott, Justin Herbert, Kyler Murray, Kirk Cousins, Teddy Bridgewater and Patrick Mahomes, respectively.

On Monday night, 12 incomplete passes from Burrow would bring him down to 67.9%, still enough to surpass Brees.

Brees and Burrow's common ground

Brees and Burrow have connected over more than exceptional completion percentages over the years.

Their commonalities took center stage in the days leading up to Burrow's Heisman win in December 2019, when he told the media that he grew up idolizing Brees and supporting the Saints despite growing up in Ohio.

“You want to root for guys like that, that have to travel that tough road, face some adversity and overcome it, and come out better on the other side. He’s been fun to watch," Brees said from the Saints locker room.

The two met a month later and posed for a picture as they exchanged No. 9s. Burrow went on and lead LSU to the national title.

After retiring, Brees joined NBC Sports as a football analyst and the pair found themselves together again ahead of Super Bowl LVI. They met for an interview about how Burrow lead the Bengals there in just his second year in the NFL.

“Have you always had this confidence about you?” Brees asked.

“Yeah, I would say so,” Burrow said.

Dec 18, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) drops back to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is set to make NFL history on Monday night. (Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports)