As Saints celebrated Drew Brees' record-setting throw, refs threw a flag for taunting

Only the NFL and its overzealous officials could manage to hang a cloud over one of the game’s greatest records being broken on a storybook play.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees broke one of the league’s great individual career marks on Monday night, and he did it with a great play. Brees hit rookie Tre’Quan Smith for a 62-yard touchdown, passing Peyton Manning for the most passing yards in NFL history. Brees’ teammates came out to celebrate the moment with their leader.

And, of course, the NFL’s officials couldn’t just let the moment happen. There was a 15-yard penalty thrown on the play. ESPN’s Kevin Seifert said it was for taunting in the end zone. The NFL’s play-by-play account said the unsportsmanlike conduct foul was on receiver Michael Thomas.

A flag for taunting after Drew Brees’ record pass

Nobody could have possibly been upset at the scene in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, not even the Washington Redskins defenders who gave up the record pass.

Brees is universally respected around the league. He is a great competitor and has done remarkable charity work in New Orleans. He also came from a humble background, at least for a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback. He overcame a lot of odds to become the NFL’s all-time leading passer.

Throwing a penalty flag for taunting on Brees’ big touchdown is like giving a speeding ticket to someone driving 36 miles per hour in a 35-mph zone. You have to let some things slide in certain moments. The penalty was assessed on the following kickoff.

See more from the historic moment: 

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Drew Brees becomes NFL's all-time passing leader
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Drew Brees becomes NFL's all-time passing leader
Oct 8, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates after a touchdown during the second quarter against the Washington Redskins at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Oct 8, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates with teammates after setting the NFL record for passing yardage during the second quarter against the Washington Redskins at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 08: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates with his family after throwing a 62 yard pass to take the all time NFL passing yards record during the game against the Washington Redskins at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 8, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 08: Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker holds the ball thrown by Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints to take the all time yardage record at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 8, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Oct 8, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) acknowledges the crowd after setting the all-time NFL passing yardage mark against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 08: Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker holds the ball thrown by Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints to take the all time yardage record at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 8, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 08: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints is introduced prior to playing the Washington Redskins at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 8, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Oct 8, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) looks to throw in the second quarter against the Washington Redskins at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) signs a jersey for a fan before a game against the Washington Redskins at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) reacts after a touchdown during the first quarter against the Washington Redskins at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 08: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints reacts during the second half against the Washington Redskins at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 8, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 08: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints throws the ball during the first half against the Washington Redskins at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 8, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 08: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after throwing a 62 yard pass to take the all time yardage record against the Washington Redskins at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 8, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 08: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after throwing a 62 yard pass to take the all time yardage record against the Washington Redskins at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 8, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 08: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints reacts with Terron Armstead #72 of the New Orleans Saints after breaking Peyton Manning's record for All-Time Passing Yards during a game against the Washington Redskins at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 8, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo By Sean Gardner)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 08: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates with his family after throwing a 62 yard pass to take the all time NFL passing yards record during the game against the Washington Redskins at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 8, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 08: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints receives the ball from Referee Charl Cheffers after throwing a 62 yard pass to take the all time passing yards record against the Washington Redskins at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 8, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 08: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after throwing a 62 yard pass to take the all time yardage record against the Washington Redskins at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 8, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 08: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after throwing a 62 yard pass to take the all time yardage record against the Washington Redskins at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 8, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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New Orleans loved the moment

In reality, the flag was an annoyance to a great moment. Saints fans soaked in the moment, as they should. Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker got on some white gloves to take the record ball, which he’ll bring to Canton. Brees hugged his family and, thanks to him being mic’ed up for the game, we heard him give a pep talk to his young sons about being able to accomplish anything if they worked for it.

Still, the NFL didn’t really have to throw the flag. But, the NFL usually finds a reason to throw too many penalty flags, even during a great moment.

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Frank Schwabis a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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