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Friday, June 21, 2013

The Saints' Drew Brees: Solidifying His Resume for Canton

After a severe shoulder injury in 2005, Drew Brees was heading into free agency with questions surrounding his effectiveness.  However, since signing with the Saints and joining coach Sean Payton, Drew Brees has put up some of the best statistical season for a quarterback in NFL history.  Barring some serious injury, Brees is signed with the Saints for another four years, which would make him 38 by the time that his contract has ended.  With Brees playing his best football the past two years, it is possible that if Brees can continue his play, he can challenge every record that Brett Favre has.

Since Drew Brees arrived in New Orleans, he has been the face of the franchise, helping the city and trying to heal the city ravaged by Hurricane Katrina with their play.  In his first year with the Saints he threw for 4,418 yards and 26 touchdowns.  In 2008, Brees became the second quarterback to throw for over 5,000 yards, finishing with 5,069 yards, which was 15 less than Marino’s record (at the time).  In 2009, Brees delivered a Super Bowl to New Orleans, and was named the game’s MVP.  However, he has been at his best the last two years. In 2011, Brees became the first person in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards twice in a career. Brees broke Dan Marino’s single season passing record when he threw for 5,476 yards, surpassing the previous record by 392 yards. He also threw for 46 touchdowns that season with only 14 interceptions.  He followed it up last year throwing for 5,177 yards and 43 touchdowns, giving him consecutive 5,000-yard seasons, and totaling three for his career.  More impressive than Brees’s statistics is the fact that he has been able to do this with a supporting cast that isn’t supremely talented.  Marques Colston, the team’s best receiver, is a former 7thround pick from Hofstra, who has turned into a star in Sean Payton’s offense.  Lance Moore, the team’s #2 receiver is from Toledo, and the rest of the receiving corps has been constantly changing.  Brees has also turned his accessory weapons into stars, with Jimmy Graham becoming one of the league’s premier tight ends, and Darren Sproles , who can turn any play into a touchdown if he gets his hands on the ball.  The Saints have also had a rather unique running game, using up to five running backs in a single game.  Brees is the constant in the New Orleans offense and continues to perform at the highest levels, which makes the Saints Super Bowl contenders every year.

If you consider Brees’s achievements, to date, I think he is already a first-ballot Hall of Famer.  In 12 seasons,Brees has thrown for 45,919 yards, which places him eighth on the all-time list, and with a 4,000-yard passing season this year, Brees would be fifth.  He is also sixth all-time in passing touchdowns with 324, and should become at least fifth this year.  Another statistic that can’t be overlooked is the fact that Drew Brees is the third most accurate quarterback all-time, with a 65.6 completion percentage.  Brees currently holds 65 individual passing records, including most consecutive games with a passing touchdown, which Brees extended to 54 games.  He has also led the NFL in passing yards and passing touchdowns four times, and completions and completion percentage three times.  Brees is also a four-time All Pro selection as well as a seven-time Pro Bowl selection.  He has been named Offensive Player of the Year twice (2009, 2011), won the Super Bowl in 2009, and was the MVP of the game.  Brees also has had impressive stats in the postseason, throwing for 2,980 yards and 22 touchdowns in 9 career games, giving him a passer rating of 103.9.  However, Brees isn’t done playing and has the ability to not only break Brett Favre’s records, but cement himself as a Top-5 quarterback in NFL history.

It is inevitable that Drew Brees will make the Hall of Fame, it is just a question of will he make it first ballot or not.  If Brees can win a second Super Bowl, he would no doubt make it on the first ballot.  He will also be chasing Brett Favre’s records; 71,838 passing yards in a career, and 508 career-passing touchdowns.  If Brees has an “average” year, he will be fifth all-time in both passing yards and passing touchdowns.  If Brees can stay healthy, he will finish his contract at least third all-time in passing yards and touchdowns, and would be more accurate than any quarterback in the Hall of Fame.  If he wants to play after that contract, however; he could easily break Favre’s records, and make the case as the greatest quarterback of all-time.

Bryan Ridall

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