Drew Brees retirement: What will his NFL legacy be?

Drew Brees and Tom Brady post game
Drew Brees is set to retire after a Hall of Fame career. Photo from USA Today.
  • Drew Brees is set to retire after the Saints’ loss to Tampa Bay
  • A Hall of Fame career is coming to an end 
  • How will Brees’ career be remembered beyond the statistics and awards?

With all the noise surrounding Drew Brees and his potential retirement, it has given us a chance to truly appreciate just what a supremely gifted quarterback he was.

Drafted at pick 32 by the San Diego Chargers way back in 2001, Brees spent several years as the franchise quarterback until Philip Rivers arrived. In 2006, Brees signed with the New Orleans Saints and as they say, the rest is history.

He is without a doubt a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. What will be his legacy?

He has all the records, has a Super Bowl ring, and will go down as possibly one of the greatest to ever do it.

During his 20-year career, Brees has an overall record of 172-114 as a starter and his stats are just as impressive. Over 80,000 pass yards, 571 touchdowns, and an overall rating of 98.7 points to a true great of the game.

However, despite that, the playoffs was where Bress was seen to struggle. Having made the playoffs ten times during his career, Brees was 9-9 in his 18 matches. With his only decent return in the postseason coming in the year they won the Super Bowl in 2009.

Playoff struggles

Brees played three matches, threw for 732 yards with eight touchdowns and no picks on his way to lifting the Lombardi Trophy.

Other than the Super Bowl win, Brees in the playoffs left a lot to be desired, not to mention his performance against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was not pretty as he threw three interceptions and only 134 yards. It was clear that Father Time had caught up with him.


So despite all the records, there is a sense of unfulfillment when it comes to the post-season with Drew Brees and for some people his career as a whole. A record of 9-9 does not paint him in the best light but there can be no doubting just how good he was. His struggles against Tom Brady were there for all to see and if it was in fact his last ever game then it was a terribly disappointing way to go out.

Now, not every player gets the dream Peyton Manning send-off, a Super Bowl winner who can then ride off into the sunset and in Brees’ case, there were always questions surrounding him this year. He could not win without Michael Thomas and he looked off so many times this season along with his inability to throw the deep ball and that was highlighted with many of his passes not going more than five or six yards in the loss to Brady.

For a future Hall of Famer to have that as his last game is just not a good look, however one match does not define Drew Brees. A player of his calibre should have had more than one Super Bowl win but that is sports.

Awards

Anyone who is in the league for 20 years will have some awards and Brees is no different.

A Super Bowl XLIV MVP, a 13 time Pro Bowler, four of which were consecutive selections between 2016-19, Comeback Player of the Year in 2004, and a Two-time Offensive Player of the Year paint an impressive picture for the kid from Purdue.

Records

However it is when you look at the records which have tumbled when you really get a sense for just what an incredible player Brees was.

He currently has seven records to himself. They include most career passing yards (80,358), longest consecutive games throwing a touchdown pass (54), most completions in a single season, and highest ever completion percentage.

His legacy in the NFL is not solely down to his stats or records, rather his ability to uplift the entire city of New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Super Bowl win in 2006 was more than just a win for the franchise, it was a win for the city, and it was a win for the people everywhere who had been impacted by the disaster and that is what people will remember the most.

In some ways, Drew Brees will be remembered more for what he did for New Orleans than what records he holds and that tells you all you need to know about who the man is.

A true champion of the game, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and a remarkable athlete. He has accomplished so much over his career and deserves to be up there with the very best to ever play.

Thanks for everything you have done for the game Drew, you were a joy to watch and a master of your position.

If Sunday night was your last game, then we should feel privileged to be able to watch one of the greatest to ever do it one last time.

Not a bad career for a player deemed by many scouts “too short” to play quarterback.

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About Adam Schultz 9 Articles
Hi my name is Adam. I am a sports writer for various football sites and love sports. I am lucky enough to be able to do what I love as a job.

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