Tom Brady's unique record: TD passes to 71 players

Assessing Brady's greatness after 500 TD passes (1:32)

After Tom Brady throws his 500th career touchdown pass, the NFL Live crew reflects on his career accomplishments and discusses what makes him so great. (1:32)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Of all the records that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has set, his touchdown pass to wide receiver Josh Gordon on Thursday was perhaps the most unique.

Gordon was the 71st player to catch a regular-season touchdown pass from Brady, which broke a tie with Vinny Testaverde for the most ever.

There is one notable difference between how Brady and Testaverde reached those marks: Brady (2000-present) has played for just one team; Testaverde (1987-2007) played for seven clubs, which includes two tenures with the New York Jets.

As for one of the notable links between them, it’s wide receiver Troy Brown.

When Testaverde was a backup with the Patriots in the 2006 season, he capped the regular-season finale in Tennessee with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Brown. With the play, Testaverde, then 43, set the NFL record for throwing at least one touchdown pass in 20 straight NFL seasons.

“I wanted to give it to him,” coach Bill Belichick said at the time. “I think he deserves that.”

Brady, of course, threw 15 regular-season touchdown passes to Brown. That total ranks 11th on the list of Brady’s most frequent touchdown targets.

Belichick noted Brady’s record on Thursday when he said, “Tremendous. It’s a lot of touchdown passes to a lot of different guys. ... There’s no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady.”

In his Monday interview on sports radio WEEI, Brady said of the 71 different players: "To recount them all would be tough, but I remember all the guys I played with and threw touchdown passes to. We've had a lot of guys contribute over the years. I think these things are all great team awards. I know a lot gets focused on the quarterback, but you're one of many. When you're the quarterback, you're the one who gets the ball. It's great, from my view, to distribute it to all these different playmakers that are just incredible athletes."

Using that background as a springboard, here are some fun facts from Brady’s unique record:

Most touchdown receptions: Rob Gronkowski (76).

Top five TD targets: Gronkowski, Randy Moss (39), Wes Welker (34), Deion Branch (24), Julian Edelman (24). There are 20 players who have caught just one touchdown pass from Brady.

First touchdown reception: Terry Glenn (Oct. 14, 2001)

Who he passed: Brady (71) left Testaverde (70) in the rearview mirror, with Steve DeBerg (62, with five teams) and Brett Favre (61, with three teams) in the third and fourth spots.

Head coaches on the list: One -- the Titans’ Mike Vrabel, who caught eight regular-season touchdown passes from Brady.

Most surprising name: Offensive tackle Tom Ashworth, who lined up as a fullback in a Week 15 victory over the Buccaneers in the 2005 season and caught a 1-yard scoring pass. The first player there to congratulate him as he reached the end zone? Vrabel.

Longest last name: Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (1)

Shortest last name: Running back Patrick Pass (1) and wide receivers Brandon Tate (4), Brian Tyms (1) and Dedric Ward (1)

Playoff TD receptions but not regular season: Fullback James Develin (1) and offensive tackle Nate Solder (1), whose scoring receptions came in the postseason and thus don’t count toward the record 71.

Players currently on an NFL roster: Gronkowski, Edelman, Benjamin Watson (17), James White (16), Danny Amendola (10), Chris Hogan (10), Brandin Cooks (7), Brandon LaFell (7), Dion Lewis (5), Rex Burkhead (3), Brandon Bolden (2), Phillip Dorsett (2), Cordarrelle Patterson (2), Dwayne Allen (1), LeGarrette Blount (1), Michael Floyd (1), Matt Lengel (1), Hoomanawanui (1), Gordon (1).

Brady, on WEEI, summed it up this way: "All the way from Mike Vrabel, who caught a bunch of touchdown passes from me; all the receivers I've played with; Gronk who has caught the most; Terry Glenn who caught the first and Josh who caught the last one -- and everyone in between, it's fun for me to share that with everybody.

"That's what it's all about for me. I love football because I think it's a great team sport. Everyone plays a hugely important role and unless everyone else is doing their job, it's impossible for me to do mine. You're able to celebrate these victories and accomplishments with a lot of people and hopefully everyone who participated is as proud of it as I am, because I think it's just a really cool thing to be a part of."