Drew Brees doesn't think it's a coincidence: Sunday night, he has a chance to break Johnny Unitas' 52-year-old record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass, and look who's on the schedule -- the San Diego Chargers.
Also known as the team that dumped Brees for Philip Rivers.
Brees said the first time someone mentioned the conspiracy theory, he thought, "There's no doubt. That's not a coincidence. The NFL are not dummies. They know what they're doing."
What the league did not know was that the Saints, ravaged by Commissioner Roger Goodell's Bountygate suspensions, would be 0-4 and Brees probably would be focused on getting a desperately needed victory as much as a touchdown pass in a 48th consecutive game.
"I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a little bit extra, but maybe not for the reason you think," Brees said Wednesday. "I know the type of team they have.
"For us, there's no better time or place to play this than Sunday night, in the Superdome, with the crazy crowd, nationally televised game. It doesn't get any bigger or better."
He added, "We've got to find a way to win. We're going to get on a roll. Once we do, look out."
One distraction Brees won't have: revenge against his former team -- which dumped him after a shoulder injury in the final game of the 2005 season. He already beat the Chargers in London in 2008. And don't look for animosity between Brees and Rivers.
"You know what's funny? I like Philip a lot as a person, as a quarterback, as a family guy, off the field, everything," Brees said. "When he got drafted to the Chargers with the fourth pick of the 2004 draft, really it was, 'Hey, they're drafting him to be the quarterback of the future to take my job.' I think people wanted us to be at odds. They wanted this to be a contentious relationship, and it wasn't.
"But you can't just say it's any other game. That's the team I was with for five years. I think another thing is that you know you're going up against another top-tier quarterback. You just have to bring your absolute best."
And hope that brings with it a TD pass. And a win.
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