So a few weeks ago on your casual Monday Night Football Drew Brees launched a 62-yard touchdown to Tre'Quan Smith, to surpass Peyton Manning as the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards. The story behind Brees record-setting game sort of crept up on fans and analysts of the league. It didn't snowball into a major story until the day after he did it. Was that because of the other more meaningful games that weekend? Was it playoff baseball? Or was it the people have been doing the same thing they've done for the past 18 years. Not acknowledging Brees as one of the best to ever spin the laces.
When asked, who are the best quarterbacks to ever play the game of football most lists would say, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and several other quarterbacks who played way back when people thought "The Wizard of Oz" was cutting edge.
But when taking a closer look, Brees has quietly put together a resume that not only matches up to Mannings but also knocks him out of the number two spot. I know for a fact that all of the Peyton people are either really salty, but before you click away just hear me out for a sec.
Brees has now played longer and has sustained a higher level of play than Manning. Mannings 17 season was incredibly hard to watch, he threw 17 interceptions to just nine touchdowns. Sure, he won a Super Bowl, but he didn't light the world on fire throughout any of the playoff games. On the other hand, during Brees' 17 seasons he completed 72 percent of his passes, threw 23 touchdowns to eight interceptions and was one knuckleheaded play away by then-rookie safety Marcus Williams, the Saints would have been in the NFC championship. But it's not all about what the two have done recently. Per Pro Football Reference, Brees has a career completion percentage of 67 percent along with a career quarterback rate of 97.3, both of which are better than Mannings.
What can also factor into how good a quarterback performs is the team that is put around him, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Throughout Mannings career, he has had the luxury of throwing the ball to two future halls of farmers in Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, along with super talented guys like Demaryius Thomas, Dallas Clark, Wes Welker, and Emmanuel Sanders. Surely if Brees has surpassed Mannings record he had the same riches of receivers that Manning did right? Well, he did have Antonio Gates in his first three seasons and he turned Jimmy Graham into an elite tight end. But after those two guys, you run into names like Lance Moore, Devery Henderson, and Marques Colston. All of them were pretty decent players, but none were ever on the level of at least a Demaryius Thomas.
One of the big arguments against Brees not being involved in the conversation with the greats is that he isn't as talented as guys like Manning and Rodgers and that he only has one Super Bowl.
"How many rings? How many championships do you have? Drew Brees only has one, he only went to one," said ESPN analyst Ryan Clark during a Tuesday episode of the first take. "The other thing is talent. The reason we talk about Aaron Rodgers the way we do is not that he's won a ton of Super Bowls or his team has a ton of super bowl rings. It's the way it looks it's the way it comes out of his hand it's the feeling he gives us when we watch him play (and) Drew Brees doesn't do that."
First, if we're talking championships Brees has only won once but it came at the defeat of which quarterback? Peyton Manning.
Super Bowl XLIV Recap: Saints vs. Colts | NFL YouTube
Championships should also never be brought up when comparing Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees because they both only have one. But the biggest point Clark made that I take most issue with is how he inferred that Brees isn't as talented as some of the other greats or he doesn't give you that "special feeling" when he plays. In my opinion when using phrases like "he doesn't give you that feeling" or "he isn't as talented" are both empty statements. Neither can be backed up with many facts. But what can be backed up is Drew Brees is one of the most efficient players to ever play the game. And if I'm being completely honest the fact that a guy that essentially plays catch for a living gives you a "special feeling," that makes me a bit uncomfortable.
It is still mind-boggling to me how people don't see Brees as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. All he's done is overcome a horrific shoulder injury, lead his team to a super bowl after a horrible hurricane and continue to pass everyone in the record books who most would say have more talent. Maybe when Brees enters his age 40 seasons, the non-believers will realize that maybe they were wrong counting this guy out. Or maybe they will continue to make up excuses to knock Brees further back on the last. Either way, Brees has accomplished a remarkable feat and shows no signs of slowing down.