Following Drew Brees’ announcement of his NFL retirement, we take a look back at the elite QB’s career.
Drew Brees was a pioneer for eliminating the ‘short QB’ stigma, leading the way to show that size is not what makes a great quarterback.
Now 42 years old, Drew Brees felt it was time to call his playing career, but has left a legacy that will be here forever.
Despite his retirement announcement last weekend, this is not the last we will see or hear from the Saints legend, as he has now started a broadcasting role for the league.
2001 NFL Draft
In the 2001 NFL Draft, Brees was selected 32nd overall – the first pick of the second round of the draft. The San Diego Chargers used their second-rounder to pick Drew Brees, after using their only first-round pick to select running back, and now NFL Hall of Famer, LaDainian Tramayne Tomlinson.
At the time, Brees was projected to be a mid-late first round pick, but there were concerns about the QB’s physical status, at only 6-feet tall and a perceived lack of arm strength – how daft does that sound?
However, Brees was the second quarterback in the draft class to be selected – with Michael Vick being the first overall pick of the draft. The left-handed QB was snapped up by the Atlanta Falcons – the franchise who acquired the number 1 overall pick, 24 hours before the draft started, from the Chargers.
San Diego Chargers
Between 2001 and 2006, Drew Brees was part of the franchise that drafted him, and became the Chargers’ starting QB in his second season. Brees was drafted to replace veteran QB, 41-year-old Doug Flutie.
After a shaky start to his NFL career, and with the Chargers drafting a QB in Philip Rivers, Brees’ Chargers career was in jeopardy. However, with an impressive 2004 NFL campaign, Brees took the Chargers to an AFC West division champion.
This was the first time in 10 years that the Chargers won their division, and Brees was selected to play in the Pro Bowl. On top of that, the QB received the 2004 NFL Comeback Player of the Year award.
New Orleans Saints
After the Chargers refused to increase their contract offer for the QB, Brees met with other franchises – the Saints and the Miami Dolphins were the frontrunners for his signature. New Orleans were the ones to put pen to paper, as the Dolphins were reluctant to sign the QB due to his shoulder injuries.
Brees spent 15 years with the Saints, as we all know, and the rest as they say, is history.
Brees’ Super Bowl Glory
In the 2009 NFL season, Drew Brees led the New Orleans Saints to their first Super Bowl win in league history.
The Saints meant business from the very start, with a dominant 45-27 win against the Detroit Lions. Brees set a career-high and franchise-tied record with six touchdown passes, with 358 yards to his name. The Saints QB completed 26 passes out of 34.
The Saints 13-3 record in the regular season resulted in a #1 seed in the NFC. In the playoffs, a 45-14 victory against the Arizona Cardinals, and an overtime 31-28 win against the Minnesota Vikings gave the Saints the opportunity to win their first ever Lombardi Trophy.
In the Super Bowl, the Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17, with Brees throwing for 288 yards and two touchdowns. The Saints’ QB also tied a Super Bowl record with 32 pass completions, and obviously won the Super Bowl MVP award as a result.
The Most Prolific Passer in NFL History
Drew Brees holds the league record for most passing yards in history of the NFL. With 80,358 yards in his 20 seasons, Brees is no doubt a legendary QB who will be talked about forever. Those yards came from Brees making 7,142 completions.
Brees also has 571 career touchdowns to his name, which is second in NFL history. Of course, you can probably guess who is 1st – Tom Brady.
The Saints QB is also the only player in NFL history to throw for 5,000+ passing yards in multiple seasons – something he’s done five times in his illustrious career.
In his retirement announcement, Drew Brees said: “I am only retiring from playing football, I am not retiring from New Orleans. This is not goodbye, rather a new beginning”.
The veteran QB will also be joining the NBC Sports broadcasting team, in a football analyst role. In an interview, Brees added: “I’m part of a new team now. I’m excited about the journey. I’m excited to stay very closely connected with the game of football”.
Michael McKean is an experienced writer with a portfolio that includes work on the subjects of sport, gambling, travel and finance. With a background rooted in journalism, Michael first ventured into the professional writing world based in Switzerland, where he wrote for a number of language and travel sites and magazines before moving into the world of sports writing and gambling sites.
As an avid soccer fan, who follows everything from the Scottish lower leagues to the European elites, he has earned himself a solid reputation as a reliable football betting tipster and predictor. Outside of work, Michael has always gotten involved with grassroutes football everywhere he has worked and lived – UK, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Brazil – and still isn’t shy when it comes to pulling the boots on himself. As well as soccer, he has also developed a love of North American sports, particularly ice hockey – a love which began in Switzerland and saw him venture across the pond to follow the NHL. Moving away from dry land, he’s also a keen longboard surfer and is happiest when writing with a view of the ocean.