The ‘NFL Legends‘ sections of each team on this website are usually reserved for players of by-gone years. Drew Brees, however, is such a good QB that he deserves a mention right now.
Early Days in the League
He entered the NFL via the 2001 NFL draft as the very first pick in the second round by the San Diego Chargers. He would have gone in the first round but some were concerned about his height and the system he’d played in whilst at Purdue University. During his time at university, Brees held many records and still does, for pass completions, yards and TD’s.
Brees won the starting job for the Chargers from Doug Flutie in 2002 and played well enough to be selected to the NFL Pro Bowl after the 2004 season. After this great start for the Chargers he suffered a bad shoulder injury, after being hit on the ground whilst trying to pick up a fumble, and found himself as a free agent after the team had allocated a lot of money to their, then backup, QB Philip Rivers.
As a free agent, he still attracted suitors in the form of the Miami Dolphins and the New Orleans Saints. The Dolphins eventually backed away from a potential deal with concerns over his right shoulder injury as this was his throwing arm. The Saints offered him a good deal which he agreed, (after the Chargers had offered him a heavily incentive based contract due to his shoulder injury) signed and never looked back.
Moving on with the Saints
A consistent Pro Bowl player and one-time Super Bowl winner, to go with his many NFL records and awards, Drew Brees is a surefire Hall of Famer.
During his and head coach Sean Payton’s first year with the New Orleans Saints in 2006, Drew Brees helped the team rebound from a 3-13 record in 2005 to a 10-6 record and the NFC South division title. Brees also led the league with 4,418 yards that year and started his run as a Pro Bowl regular. By this stage, I guess his shoulder had healed pretty well.
During their victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV Brees tied a Super Bowl record with 32 pass completions and ended up winning the games MVP award.
Statistics-wise 2011 was a monster year for Drew Brees. He set 6 NFL records in this year including completions, yards and yards per game average. He seems to be an NFL record making and breaking machine as he has or still does hold many QB records for touchdowns, yards and streaks. He has consistently performed in the NFL throughout his career despite many ‘experts’ initial concerns about his size and arm strength.
Keeps on Getting Better
Drew Brees just keeps on getting better. During the 2016 NFL season, he equalled and then passed all other players on the ‘Most 400-yard passing games’ list. He equalled it in week 1 against the Oakland Raiders then surpassed all others in week 6 in a win against the Carolina Panthers. The person he pushed down to second place on the list was his Super Bowl XLIV opponent, the legendary Peyton Manning. This would be the 15th time in his career he’d thrown for more than 400-yards in a game. During this season he also managed to equal the record for most seasons passing for 35 touchdowns, which he shares with Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
To prove that the Miami Dolphins were wrong to pass on him back in the day and to carry on proving that his shoulder injury hasn’t affected him throughout his career, Brees again led the league in passing yards in 2016 with 5,208. This was the 5th time he’d passed the 5,000-yard mark and means that he’s achieved the feat more times on his own than all other quarterbacks combined in NFL history.
There’s no telling exactly how long Drew Brees will continue to play but we should count ourselves lucky that we get to see such a star of the league play in the NFL London games series.