Commentary: Brees proves himself as upper echelon QB

Sunday, February 7, 2010 at 10:45pm

One of the big questions entering Super Bowl XLIV was where Peyton Manning ranked among the greatest quarterbacks of all-time.

Certainly had he led the Indianapolis Colts to victory on Sunday night, his place as a multiple Super Bowl winner and pro football legend would have been cemented.

But after Sunday night’s 31-17 Super Bowl victory by the New Orleans Saints, the new question should be: Where does Drew Brees rank among the greatest quarterbacks currently playing in the NFL?

Brees might have played second fiddle to Manning in terms of the regular-season MVP voting and attention leading up to the game, but on Sunday night, it was Manning who blinked first, as Tracy Porter’s pick-six interception sealed the victory, and Brees wound up holding the trophy that really counted.

After a Super Bowl record-tying 32 completions in 39 attempts for 288 yards, Brees proved he deserves to be mentioned with the likes of Manning, Tom Brady, Brett Favre and the recently retired Kurt Warner.

This much at least could be hard to argue. Brees might be the single greatest free-agent signing in the history of the league. Consider his numbers just this year; he completed 363 of 514 attempts for 4,388 yards with 34 touchdown passes to just 11 interceptions.

Those numbers aren’t just eye-popping for fantasy leaguers, but those are the stats that propelled the once-hapless Saints to their first championship ever. Brees completed an amazing 70.6 percent of his passes this season with a passer rating of 109.6 and averaged 8.54 yards per attempt.

Brees’ story is almost as remarkable as the Saints’ own trials and tribulations. He had been the starter in San Diego, but the Chargers elected to let him walk away as a free agent after the 2005 season, turning the reins over to first-round pick Philip Rivers instead. The Chargers have only playoff collapses to show for it.

Brees was available to any team for the taking, with the one caveat that an injured throwing shoulder needed surgery and time to heal. Some teams didn’t want to take the risk. For the record, the Tennessee Titans, in the middle of rebuilding at the time, never seriously entertained the thought of Brees as their quarterback.

But the Saints were already at rock bottom. They were trying to re-establish their roots in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which left them displaced in San Antonio for a season. So they took the chance on Brees. Just as he took the chance on ransacked New Orleans, which was trying to rebuild a city, and new coach Sean Payton, who was charged with rebuilding the team.

On Sunday night, it all paid off for Brees, Payton, the Saints and the city of New Orleans.

Despite the loss and another postseason failure for Manning, there is no doubt he will be a first ballot Hall of Famer once his career is over.

But on Sunday night, given his poise under pressure and his overall performance since joining the Saints, perhaps Brees is beginning to establish a resume worthy of Canton as well. 

6 Comments on this post:

By: eastnashville37207 on 2/8/10 at 2:41

Great game....Go Saints!

By: house_of_pain on 2/8/10 at 5:20

Hahahahahahahaha! Peyton Manning? Who dat?

By: dargent7 on 2/8/10 at 6:11

Brees was 24 of 26 in the 3rd/4th qtr. Amazing. Manning and his team fell apart in the 4th. It looked like K. Collins and his lame recievers with balls ricocheting off their chests and face masks.
Maybe there is something to this voodoo thing.

By: bfra on 2/8/10 at 6:23

It was obvious the Colts didn't get to import their "own" officials they had for the Jets game. Now if some of the sports writers in this town can get past their Manning hoopla and give the Saints the respect & glory they earned, good.

IMO, the halftime show was a bust and most of the $$$$ commercials fell below what they have had in the past.

Great game Saints!

By: jwk6179 on 2/8/10 at 8:40

Actually, I think the halftime performance by the Who was much better than I expected it to be. At least their performance seem much more inspired than some of the other halftime performance over the last several years, other than maybe Springsteen last year.

I'll agree with you on the Commercials. Saw the Tebow commercial and just can't understand why NOW, Planned Parenthood and other organizations were so up in the air about it.

By: bfra on 2/8/10 at 3:20

Just saw the news: Manning left the field without congratulating the Saints. The report said: It didn't show unsportsmanslike conduct, it showed how much he wanted to win the game. I think this reporter is misguided in the way he thinks. M is a big long faced crybaby. He has exhibited that in more ways than one.