Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Drew Brees’ legacy is secure, but what is it exactly?

Where does Drew Brees rank among the best of all time?
Where does Drew Brees rank among the best of all time?
Image: Getty Images

Tampa Bay announced Brees’s retirement before he ever did. While someone with the career of Brees wouldn’t want to go out on his back like he did in the Divisional Round this past January, it was clear that he was past it that afternoon. Brees hadn’t been particularly good, or up to his usual standards, all season and it was even clearer in the playoffs. Thankfully, Brees will not put his fans and Saints fans through a true Mays-as-a-Met denouement.

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He’ll retire with several records, except no one really cares about NFL records. They’ve been skewed by the rapid changes the game has gone through just in the past decade, and how much offense has been boosted. Only ESPN cares about them when they’re going to be broken on Monday Night Football and then beat us over the head with them while they try and manufacture McGwire’s 62nd homer again. But no matter how hard they try, those records will never mean the same as 61 homers did, or 73 does now (if it does), or 92 goals.

Brees will retire with one Super Bowl appearance and one Super Bowl win. Which seemingly isn’t enough for Aaron Rodgers to not have his career considered a disappointment by that measure. And yet Brees’s career isn’t labeled a “waste” as Rodgers has had to hear in recent years from some circles.

Dan Marino couldn’t shake that label either, and he’s part of Brees’s echelon. In reality, Brees’s accomplishments, championship-wise, are only marginally better than Marino’s. Marino got to one, and lost it, and Brees got to one and won it. It’s fractional. Brees didn’t face one of the best teams of all-time either.

In fact, since that Super Bowl, Brees’ and the Saints’ record is a little dubious. They’re the only team to lose to Kirk Cousins in the playoffs. They were on the donkey end of the Miracle in Minneapolis. They’re the only team to lose to a 7-9 team in the playoffs. There were five non-playoff seasons. Since that Super Bowl, the Saints’ playoff record is something of a pedestrian 5-7.

Which only means it’s stupid to judge a quarterback purely on championships. Tom Brady has skewed that for everybody, but all that means is we should just marvel at the uniqueness of what he’s done, instead of using it as a cudgel to beat everyone else.

Still, it’s strange that Brees doesn’t hear the same things that Rodgers or Marino do, or Peyton Manning would have if he had not been a passenger for Von Miller’s fist in the face of God campaign of the 2016 playoffs.

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It’s football. It’s one game at a time, where just about anything can happen in one game. Brees certainly wasn’t a disaster in all of those losses. Sometimes even good. And yet every time except one, it wasn’t enough.

Perhaps it’s what happened with New Orleans, and Brees’s work and efforts to bring the city back after Katrina. Which should be lauded, but also makes for awkward viewing with the “KEEP POLITICS OUT OF SPORTS” crowd. Seems only certain types of work outside of sports shines up what you do in sports?

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Brees was a great quarterback, but also a product of the time in the sport. And there may come a time when Saints fans wonder if it all shouldn’t have been more. But then, just about every fan other than Pats fans spend their days doing that, don’t they?


A truly scary story out of Paris, where PSG forward Angel Di Maria had to be subbed out of his team’s game with Nantes in the second half as the news of his house being robbed with his family inside had filtered to the team. Some reports had his family being kidnapped, though other reports said they were not targeted by the burglars. Teammate Marquinhos also had his parents’ house robbed while they were home during the match as well.

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This is not a rarity, as a number of soccer players over the years have been robbed while playing a game, and Di Maria was the target of a burglary while playing for Manchester United in 2015. Hope that everyone is ok after all this.

We can't be too careful. Two guys in an airport...talking? It's a little fishy.