Thinking back upon the holidays of my youth, I recall sports almost always being involved, especially in the form of presents.


Of course, there were the Thunder Cats and Voltron but almost every year I got a new jersey from some college or NFL?team.


Thinking back upon the holidays of my youth, I recall sports almost always being involved, especially in the form of presents.

Of course, there were the Thunder Cats and Voltron but almost every year I got a new jersey from some college or NFL?team.

Although way too small to wear now, those Notre?Dame, Penn State and Oklahoma mesh jerseys are tucked away somewhere, along with Dan Marino’s No. 13.

I remember Marino’s jersey as the first of my youth. I?guess it must of been the Christmas of 1985 when our parents got me and my brother  the whole uniform.

I was five years old and am sure was interested in sports by then. Dan Marino was the best thing to happen to the NFL?since sliced bread during that time period. It didn’t hurt any that my godmother was a fan of the 70’s Dolphins and Larry Csonka. My mom was a Cowboys’ fan of Tom Landry through and through and still is, so my brother got to portray the role of Danny White, Dallas’ least remembered legendary quarterback.

Marino entered the league out of Pittsburgh, where he led  the Panthers to the Sugar and Cotton Bowls. He was the first draft pick of the United States Football League by the Los Angeles Express but decided to go to the NFL, where he was picked by the defending AFC?Champions Miami Dolphins.

Marino worked his way into the starting lineup as a rookie but it is his sophomore year in which he broke six NFL?season passing records that is considered one of the greatest in history.
The Dolphins would advance to Marino’s only Super Bowl that year where they fell to fellow Western Pennsylvania - bred quarterback Joe Montana’s San Francisco 49ers’ 38-16.
Marino’s 48 touchdown passes that season stood for 20 years before Peyton Manning broke it in 2004 with 49. The record stands at 50 today after Tom Brady’s 2007 season.

However, Marino’s 5,084 passing yards that season is still a record he holds.

Maybe not for long. Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees has been in pursuit of Marino’s mark all season and after throwing for 351 yards and two touchdowns Sunday to force the Detroit Lions to become the NFL’s first 0-15 team, he only needs 402 yards at home against Carolina Sunday to break Marino’s mark.

''I think we're going do what it takes to win, first and foremost,'' Brees said. ''I'm trying not to think about it as much as possible. It's hard to do because everybody wants to talk about it.''

I have been giving hints since the Saints’ run to the NFC?Championship two years ago and despite two consecutive seasons without making the playoffs, I sure wouldn’t mind  Brees’ No. 9 black jersey for Christmas.

My brother and I got Bobby Hebert and Morton Anderson jerseys the Christmas after the Saints won their first division title. Brees’ jersey is one no Louisianian should be without. Here’s hoping he breaks Marino’s record.