Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Saints WR Michael Thomas thanks God for blessing him with single-season reception record

In Week 15, it was New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees breaking a hallowed NFL record — the all-time touchdown passes mark. In Week 16, it was one of the recipients of so many Brees passes that broke a different NFL record set 17 years ago — most catches in a season.

>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<

With 12 receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s 38-28 win over Tennessee, three-time Pro-Bowl receiver Michael Thomas pushed his season total to 145. In 2002, Colts wideout Marvin Harrison hauled in 143 in 16 games; Thomas still has one regular-season contest to go (Sunday at Carolina).

That marked Thomas’ ninth game this season with double-digit catches. It sure helps that the QB throwing him passes is a future Hall of Famer in Brees, but his production maintained even when Brees missed Weeks 3-7 this year and Teddy Bridgewater was the team’s QB.

After the game, Thomas received much praise from Brees for his work ethic, and Thomas said “the Lord blessed me to break the record.” He later tweeted, “God is great!”

All of those passes Sunday, and surely many more, were caught with Thomas sporting an “I Am Second” bracelet on his right wrist. I Am Second is a media organization whose vision is to “seek a world where people become second, serving and loving each other as they put Jesus first.”

Thomas exhibited his heart to serve and love others last week, when he gifted Air Jordan 11’s to his Saints teammates.

His faith in Christ has long been a part of his life, as his grandmother encouraged him to read the Bible and pray on a daily basis. As he did that, the verse Matthew 22:14 stood out to him: “For many are called, but few are chosen” (KJV). He lists that verse in his bio on social media.

“I know this,” he told the Bleacher Report in 2018, pointing to his chest, “is not me. I’m here for a reason. I consider myself chosen.”

At 12-3, the Saints are tied for the best record in the NFC, but currently hold the No. 2 seed for the playoffs behind San Francisco due to tiebreakers. Their quest to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2009 continues in Week 17 — and that’s where Thomas’ main focus is as it pertains to football. All the catches and records are just a byproduct.

“To be honest, it doesn’t really mean nothing,” Thomas said Sunday about his record. “I don’t take it for granted. But the fact that we still have more goals as a team — as far as not the individual stuff that comes along with it — I would be selfish to be like, ‘Oh, I just caught all these passes and did all this.’ Ultimately I was catching the passes to win the game, to help my team be in the position we’re in now.”

All the big numbers also have Thomas in the NFL MVP discussion, quite a feat considering no receiver has garnered votes for that award since Randy Moss in 1998. And no receiver has won the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year award since Jerry Rice in 1987 and 1993. Thomas could very well win both of those awards, but his focus remains on the Super Bowl.

“It’s cool. I mean, it’s a blessing, I guess, to be in that category,” Thomas said of the MVP talk. “But the individual awards don’t last as much as a championship and being able to celebrate with your team.”

RELATED STORIES:
Saints QB Drew Brees enjoys ‘incredible’ night claiming NFL’s all-time passing TD record
NEW PODCAST: Demario Davis – New Orleans Saints Linebacker
New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees: ‘I live by two very simple Christian fundamentals’