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Drew Brees

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Drew Brees
refer to caption
Brees at the Saints' Super Bowl XLIV
victory parade in February 2010
No. 9 – New Orleans Saints
Position:Quarterback
Personal information
Born: (1979-01-15) January 15, 1979 (age 39)
Austin, Texas[1][2]
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:209 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school:Westlake (Austin, Texas)
College:Purdue
NFL Draft:2001 / Round: 2 / Pick: 32
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 10, 2018
Passing attempts:9,598
Passing completions:6,457
Completion percentage:67.3
Passing yards:73,046
TDINT:509–229
Passer rating:97.6
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Drew Christopher Brees (/brz/;[3] born January 15, 1979) is an American football quarterback for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL). After a successful college football career at Purdue University, he was chosen by the San Diego Chargers with the first pick in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He left college as one of the most decorated players in Purdue and Big Ten Conference history, establishing two NCAA records, 13 Big Ten Conference records, and 19 Purdue University records. As of 2018, he remains the Big Ten record-holder in several passing categories, including completions (1,026), attempts (1,678), and yards (11,792). For his many career accomplishments and records, Brees has been hailed as one of the greatest passers of all time.[4]

Brees earned the starting job with the Chargers in 2002 and made the Pro Bowl in 2004. Nine months after suffering a dislocation in his right shoulder joint and a tear of the labrum and rotator cuff, Brees signed with the Saints as a free agent in 2006. He had immediate success in New Orleans, eventually leading the Saints to their first-ever Super Bowl in Super Bowl XLIV, resulting in a 31–17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Since joining the Saints, he has led all NFL quarterbacks in touchdowns, passing yards, and 300-yard games. Brees holds the NFL records for career pass completions, career completion percentage, career passing yards, is second in career touchdown passes, third in regular season career passer rating, and fourth in postseason career passer rating. In 2012, he broke Johnny Unitas' long-standing record of consecutive games with a touchdown pass. He has passed for over 5,000 yards in a season five times—no other NFL quarterback has done so more than once. He has led the NFL in passing yards a record seven times and in passing touchdowns a record-tying four times. He was the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year in 2004, the Offensive Player of the Year in 2008 and 2011, and the MVP of Super Bowl XLIV. Sports Illustrated named Brees its 2010 Sportsman of the Year.

Early life and high school

Brees was born in Austin, Texas, to Eugene Wilson "Chip" Brees II, a prominent trial lawyer, and Mina Ruth (née Akins; died 2009), an attorney. A Sports Illustrated article stated he was named for Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson[5] but in a 2014 interview Brees said this story was "just legend".[6] He has a younger brother, Reid (born 1981). When Brees was seven, his parents divorced and shared custody of the boys, who split their time between both parents' homes. Today, Brees admits that it was a very tough and challenging life after the divorce; however, Brees and his younger brother, Reid, supported each other and became very close.[7] They have a younger half-sister, Audrey, from their father's remarriage to Amy Hightower, daughter of the late U.S. Representative (D-TX) Jack English Hightower.[8][9]

Both of Brees' parents had athletic backgrounds. His father played basketball for the Texas A&M Aggies men's basketball team, and his mother was a former all-state in three sports in high school.[10] His maternal uncle, Marty Akins, was an All-American starting quarterback for the Texas Longhorns college football team from 1975 to 1977[9][11] and his maternal grandfather, Ray Akins, had the third-most victories as a Texas high school football coach in his three decades at Gregory-Portland High School.[12][13][14] His younger brother, Reid, was an outfielder for the Baylor Bears baseball team, which made the 2005 College World Series and now resides in Colorado, where he works in sales.[11][15]

Brees did not play tackle football until high school and was on the flag football team at St. Andrew's Episcopal School, where his teammates included actor Benjamin McKenzie, who was in the same year. In high school, he was a varsity letterman in baseball, basketball and football[16] and was considering playing college baseball rather than football.[17] College recruiters quickly ran after Brees blew out his knee in the 11th grade.[7] After overcoming an ACL tear during his junior year he was selected as Texas High School 5A Most Valuable Offensive Player in 1996 and led the Westlake High School football team to 16–0 record and state championship.[9][18] As a high school football player, Brees completed 314 of 490 passes (64.1 percent) for 5,461 yards with 50 touchdowns including, in his senior season, 211 of 333 passes (63.4 percent) for 3,528 yards with 31 touchdowns.[19] Westlake went 28–0–1 when Brees started for two seasons and beat a Dominic Rhodes-led Abilene Cooper 55–15 in the 1996 title game.[12][19][20] Brees was given honorable mention in the state high school all-star football team and the USA Today All-USA high school football team[21] alongside former San Diego Chargers teammate and long-time friend LaDainian Tomlinson.[8][22][23] Brees had hoped to follow his father and uncle's footsteps and play for the Texas Longhorns or Texas A&M Aggies but was not heavily recruited despite his stellar record.[9][24]

College career

Brees received offers from only two colleges, Purdue and Kentucky, choosing Purdue for its highly rated academics.[10] He graduated in 2001 with a degree in industrial management,[25] and is a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.[26]

After a relatively uneventful freshman season, Brees was given his first start during his sophomore year by Boilermakers head coach Joe Tiller and became an integral part of Tiller and Jim Chaney's unorthodox "basketball on grass" spread offense, serving as offensive captain during his junior and senior years.[27][28] He had the option to make himself available for the 2000 NFL Draft but chose to return for his senior year to complete his studies. In 2000, he led the Boilermakers to memorable last-minute upsets against top-ranked Ohio State[29] and Michigan en route to the Boilermakers' first Big Ten championship (shared with Michigan and Northwestern) in over three decades. The Ohio State game was replayed on ESPN Classic and is widely remembered for Brees' four interceptions and 64-yard touchdown pass to Seth Morales with 1:55 remaining to seal a vital 31–27 win, prompting commentator Brent Musburger to exclaim "Holy Toledo!" and a post-game field rush afterwards.[30][31][32] Due to head-to-head victories over Michigan and Northwestern, Purdue won the invitation to the 2001 Rose Bowl,[33] Purdue's first appearance there since 1967, where Purdue lost by ten points to the Washington Huskies.

Brees was a finalist for the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's best quarterback in 1999. He won the Maxwell Award as the nation's outstanding player of 2000[34] and the NCAA's Today's Top VIII Award as a member of the Class of 2001.[35] Brees was also fourth in Heisman Trophy voting in 1999 and third in 2000. As a senior, Brees became the first Boilermaker since Bruce Brineman in 1989 to earn Academic All-America honors.[36][37][38][39] Additionally, he won Academic All-Big Ten honors a record three times,[40] was initiated into Mortar Board[37] and awarded the Big Ten Medal of Honor[41] and the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award.[42][43] Brees also was awarded Purdue's Leonard Wilson Award for unselfishness and dedication.[44]

External video
Video of Brees' 99-yard touchdown pass to Sutherland on YouTube

In his college career, Brees set two NCAA records, 13 Big Ten Conference records, and 19 Purdue University records.[45] He left Purdue with Big Ten Conference records in passing yards (11,792),[16] touchdown passes (90), total offensive yards (12,693), completions (1,026), and attempts (1,678).[27] He tied an NCAA record with the longest pass ever (99 yards), to receiver Vinny Sutherland against Northwestern on September 25, 1999 and held the NCAA record for pass attempts in a game (83) for fifteen years, until Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday broke it in October 2013.

In 2009, Brees was inducted into Purdue's Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.[46] The Big Ten Conference's Griese–Brees Quarterback of the Year award initiated in 2011 was named in his and Bob Griese's honor. He was named the Big Ten's best quarterback of the 1990s[47] and ranked number 48 on the 2010 documentary Big Ten Icons, featuring the conference's top fifty student-athletes.[48][49][50]

College statistics

Passing
Year Team GP Cmp Att Pct Yards TDs Int
1997 Purdue 8 19 43 44.2 232 0 1
1998 Purdue 13 361 569 63.4 3,983 39 20
1999 Purdue 12 337 554 60.8 3,909 25 12
2000 Purdue 12 309 512 60.4 3,668 26 12
Total 45 1,026 1,678 61.1 11,792 90 45

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad Wonderlic
6 ft 0 14 in
(1.84 m)
213 lb
(97 kg)
31 in
(0.79 m)
10 14 in
(0.26 m)
4.83 s 1.66 s 2.75 s 4.21 s 7.09 s 32 in
(0.81 m)
8 ft 9 in
(2.67 m)
28
All values from NFL Combine[51]

San Diego Chargers (2001–2005)

2001 NFL Draft

Brees' college success led to projections that he would be a mid–late first-round draft pick in the 2001 NFL Draft,[52] but he slipped due to concerns about his relatively short stature for a professional quarterback (6'), a perceived lack of arm strength, and a sense that he had succeeded in college in a spread offense. Brees was the second quarterback, behind Michael Vick of Virginia Tech, selected in the 2001 Draft, chosen by the San Diego Chargers as the first pick of the second round and 32nd overall.[53] San Diego originally had the first pick in that draft, but traded it to Atlanta (which had drafted Vick) in return for the fifth pick of the first round, with which San Diego drafted LaDainian Tomlinson.[53]

Early career

Brees played in his first professional game on November 4, 2001 against the Kansas City Chiefs. He finished with 221 passing yards and his first career passing touchdown, a 20-yard pass to Freddie Jones.[54] On August 19, 2002, he was named the starter for the 2002 season over Doug Flutie.[55] Brees started all 16 games for the Chargers during the 2002 season, leading the team to an 8–8 record. He finished the 2002 season with 3,284 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions.[56] After a disappointing start to the 2003 season, he was replaced by Flutie, though he regained the job by the end of the season. In 11 games, he finished with 2,108 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions.[57][58]

2004 season

Brees' career with the Chargers was in jeopardy after San Diego acquired NC State's Philip Rivers after the 2004 NFL Draft.[59] With a looming quarterback controversy, Brees performed well through training camp and the preseason, while Rivers held out during training camp, essentially guaranteeing him the job to begin the season with Rivers as his backup.

Brees remained the starter throughout the 2004 season, where he started 15 games and led the team to a 12–4 regular season record. In Week 8, against the Oakland Raiders, he was 22 of 25 for 281 yards and five touchdowns in the 42–14 victory to earn his first AFC Offensive Player of the Week honor.[60][61] Brees posted spectacular numbers, completing 65.5% of his passes for 3,159 yards, with 27 touchdowns to only 7 interceptions, giving him a 104.8 passer rating.[62] The Chargers won the AFC West for the first time in 10 seasons and Brees was selected to the 2004 Pro Bowl.[63][64] He was named 2004 NFL Comeback Player of the Year.[65]

2005 season

Brees became a free agent after the season and was not expected to return to San Diego, which had already committed a large sum of money to Rivers. The team eventually designated Brees a franchise player, giving him a one-year contract that quadrupled his pay to $8 million for 2005. Under the terms of the franchise player contract, Brees was eligible to be traded or to sign with another team, but the Chargers would receive two future first round draft choices in return. He was not traded and continued as the starting quarterback for the remainder of the 2005 season.[66]

Brees continued his productive play in 2005. In Week 4, in a 41–17 victory over the New England Patriots, he was 19 of 24 for 248 passing yards and two touchdowns and earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week.[67][68] He posted a career-high in passing yards with 3,576. Brees also posted an 89.2 rating, 10th best in the NFL.[69][70] However, in the last game of the 2005 season against the Denver Broncos, Brees tore his labrum while trying to pick up his own fumble after being hit by Broncos safety John Lynch. Denver tackle Gerard Warren hit Brees while he was on the ground, causing the injury. Brees underwent arthroscopic surgery, performed by Dr. James Andrews, to repair the torn labrum in his right (throwing) shoulder on January 5, 2006. Subsequent reports mentioned additional rotator cuff damage and he also was treated by Dr. Saby Szajowitz to recover and regain muscle movement.

After the season, the Chargers offered Brees a 5-year, $50 million contract that paid $2 million in base salary the first year and the rest heavily based on performance incentives. Brees evaluated the incentive-based offer as a sign of no confidence by the Chargers and promptly demanded the salary a top 5 "franchise" quarterback would receive.[citation needed]

New Orleans Saints (2006–present)

After the Chargers refused to increase their offer, Brees met with other teams. The New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins were interested in Brees. New Orleans made an offer that included $10 million in guaranteed money the first year and a $12 million option the second year. Miami was unsure if Brees' shoulder was completely healed and doctors suggested the team should not sign him because of the injury.[71] The Dolphins ended negotiations and traded for Minnesota Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper instead. Brees signed a 6-year, $60 million deal with the Saints on March 14, 2006.[72]

2006 season

Brees had a productive first year with the Saints. The team, under first-year head coach Sean Payton, rebounded from its disastrous 2005 season (when the team was unable to play in New Orleans due to the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina and struggled to a 3–13 record) to finish with a 10–6 regular season record and won the NFC South division title.[73] On November 5, in the 31–14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he had 314 passing yards and three touchdowns to earn his first NFC Offensive Player of the Week honor.[74][75] On November 19, in a 31–16 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, he threw for a career-high 510 passing yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions.[76] In Week 14, a 42–17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, he had 384 passing yards and five touchdowns to earn his second NFC Offensive Player of the Week award in 2006.[77][78] Brees threw a league-leading and franchise record 4,418 passing yards, finished third in the league with 26 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions, and had a 96.2 passer rating.[79] Brees was named starting quarterback for the NFC in the 2007 Pro Bowl.[80] He was named as a First Team All-Pro.[81] On January 5, 2007, Brees was named first runner-up behind former teammate Tomlinson for league MVP by the Associated Press. Brees and Tomlinson were co-recipients of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.[82][83]

On January 13, 2007, in his first playoff game for New Orleans, Brees was 20–of–32 in passing attempts with one touchdown and no interceptions against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Louisiana Superdome.[84] The Saints held on to win 27–24, and advanced to the franchise's first NFC Championship Game against the Chicago Bears. Though he completed 27-of-49 passes for 354 yards against the Chicago Bears, and two touchdowns, Brees committed three costly turnovers, and was penalized for an intentional grounding in the endzone, resulting in a safety, as the Saints lost 39–14.[85] Brees dislocated his left elbow during the first quarter of the Pro Bowl.[86]

2007 season

Brees's second season with the Saints yielded some positive results statistically. In Week 8, a 31–10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, he had 336 passing yards and four touchdowns to earn NFC Offensive Player of the Week.[87][88] In Week 15, a 31–24 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, he had 315 passing yards and two touchdowns to earn another NFC Offensive Player of the Week nod in 2007.[89][90] Overall, in the 2007 season, Brees passed for 4,423 yards, topped his own record and tied a then franchise record with 28 touchdowns.[91] He also set the NFL record previously held by Rich Gannon for pass completions in a single season with 440.[92] However, the Saints missed the playoffs with a 7–9 record.[93]

2008 season

Brees in 2008

In 2008, the Saints again missed the playoffs but Brees had a strong year statistically, finishing 15 yards short of the NFL record for passing yards thrown in a single season set by Dan Marino in 1984. In Week 6, a 34–3 victory over the Oakland Raiders, he was 26 of 30 for 320 yards and three touchdowns to earn NFC Offensive Player of the Week.[94][95] In Week 8, a 37–32 victory over the San Diego Chargers, he had 339 passing yards and three touchdowns to earn another NFC Offensive Player of the Week nod.[96][97] In Week 12, a 51–29 win over the Green Bay Packers, he had 323 passing yards and four touchdowns to earn his third NFC Offensive Player of the Week honor in 2008.[98][99] He finished the season with 5,069 yards and became the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 5,000 yards in a season.[100][101][102]

He passed for 300 yards ten times during the 2008 season, tying Rich Gannon's 2002 record. He was named FedEx Air Player of the Week for his performances during Weeks 8 and 12 and was named the AP 2008 Offensive Player of the Year.[103] He was named to his third career Pro Bowl for his 2008 season.[104]

2009 season: Super Bowl XLIV

In the first game of the 2009 season against the Detroit Lions, Brees set a career-high and franchise-tying record with six touchdown passes, going 26 out of 34 for 358 yards. He earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Lions.[105][106] The next week, Brees led the Saints to a 48–22 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, throwing for 311 yards and three touchdown passes.[107] Brees also tied the record for most touchdown passes by the end of week 2 with 9. In Week 6 against the 5–0 New York Giants, Brees completed 23 of 30 passes for 369 yards, 4 touchdown passes and a passer rating of 156.8 in a dominant 48–27 victory to his second NFC Offensive Player of the Week nod of the season.[108][109]

In week 7, Brees led a dramatic comeback victory on the road against the Miami Dolphins, 46–34. The Saints quickly faced a 24–3 deficit in the second quarter, trailing for the first time all season at that point, and failing to score on their first possession as they had in all of their previous contests. Brees had a poor outing, but provided two crucial rushing touchdowns, one just before halftime to narrow the deficit to 24–10, and one in the third quarter to give the Saints their first lead of the game, 37–34.[110]

The next week, Brees threw for 308 yards on 25 of 33 passing along with two touchdowns and one interception in leading the Saints to a 35–27 victory and franchise tying best start at 7–0 against the rival Atlanta Falcons.[111] In week 9, Brees helped guide the team to a 30–20 victory over the Carolina Panthers. This would be Drew's first victory over the Carolina Panthers in the Superdome and gave the Saints their best ever start in franchise history at 8–0.[112] In week 12, Brees led the Saints to an 11–0 record, defeating the New England Patriots 38–17 on Monday Night Football. Brees totaled 371 yards passing, posting a perfect passer rating of 158.3, and is the only player to throw for five touchdowns against a team coached by Bill Belichick. He earned his third NFC Offensive Player of the Week nod for the 2009 season.[113][114] After close victories over the Washington Redskins and Falcons in successive weeks to start 13–0, Brees and the Saints lost their first game of the season to the Dallas Cowboys, 24–17, after DeMarcus Ware caused a Brees fumble in the final seconds, ending a fourth quarter rally.[115] The Saints then lost their last two games, with Brees sitting out the week 17 finale against the Carolina Panthers. Their 13–3 record secured the #1 seed in the NFC.[116]

Brees' individual statistics led to numerous accolades,[117] including a Pro Bowl selection, the Maxwell Football Club's Bert Bell Award, and runner-up in voting for the AP MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, and All-Pro awards.[118][119] He finished the season with a completion percentage of 70.62, establishing a new NFL record.[120][121]

In the divisional round of the playoffs, the Saints routed the Arizona Cardinals 45–14 to advance to the NFC Championship, where they defeated the Minnesota Vikings 31–28 in overtime. Brees completed 17 of 31 passes for 197 yards and 3 touchdowns.[122] The Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31–17 in Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010. Brees tied a Super Bowl record with 32 pass completions and won the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award. He threw for 288 yards and 2 touchdowns. It was the first league championship in Saints franchise history.[123] Brees was named the 2010 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, both for his winning the Super Bowl and his charitable work towards the reconstruction of New Orleans.[124] On December 17, 2010, he was named AP Male Athlete of the Year. Within four short years after joining the Saints, Brees was more accurate in his throws than any of the Saints' past quarterbacks.[122] Brees and his teammates were welcomed back to New Orleans with a blues band along with thousands of celebrating fans.[122]

Brees celebrating the Super Bowl win with his son, Baylen

2010 season

In 2010, the Saints qualified for the playoffs as a wild card team with an 11–5 record, but were eliminated in the Wild Card round by the Seattle Seahawks, 41–36.[125] Brees was selected to his fifth Pro Bowl-fourth with the Saints—and was voted the ninth best player in the NFL by his peers in the NFL Network's 2011 ranking. Brees had a less successful season statically, throwing a career-high 22 interceptions, tying the franchise record held by Aaron Brooks, although he managed to throw 33 touchdowns.[126] He was named to his fifth career Pro Bowl for his performance in 2010.[127] He was ranked ninth on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2011 players' list.[128]

2011 season

The 2011 season was a record-breaking season for Brees as he led the NFL in completion percentage, passing yards and passing touchdowns, which is known as the "Triple Crown".[129] He broke Dan Marino's 27-year-old record for most passing yards in one season (5,084) in the 15th game of the season (week 16) against the Atlanta Falcons at home in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with a touchdown pass to Darren Sproles. Brees also set a new Saints franchise record for passing touchdowns in a season with 46.[130]

In Week 2, during the Saints' home-opener, Brees defeated the Chicago Bears for the first time in his career as a starting quarterback, leaving the Baltimore Ravens as the only remaining NFL team which Brees had never beaten to that point.[131] On October 23, in a 62–7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, he was 31 of 35 for 325 passing yards and five touchdowns.[132] He earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Colts.[133] On November 28, a Week 12 49–24 victory over the New York Giants, he had 363 passing yards and four touchdowns to earn NFC Offensive Player of the Week.[134][135] In a home game on December 4 against the Detroit Lions, Brees passed for 342 yards.[136] Brees' performance gave him 4,031 yards on the season, making him the first quarterback in NFL history to eclipse the 4,000-yard mark in the first 12 games of a season, and the first quarterback to reach 4 consecutive seasons with 4,000+ yards and 30+ TD passes. In week 15 against the Minnesota Vikings, Brees threw for 412 yards with 5 passing touchdowns. With that game, Brees became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 5 touchdowns, 400+ yards, while also maintaining a completion percentage of 80%, in a game.[137][138]

In Week 16 against the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Brees broke Dan Marino's long standing record of passing yards in a single season of 5,084 with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Darren Sproles with just under 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter of the game. He needed 305 yards to break the record entering the game and exceeded that mark with 307. He ended the game having thrown for 5,087 total passing yards for the regular season with one regular season game remaining. With his second-quarter, 8-yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston, Brees extended his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass to 42 games. Marino congratulated Brees via Twitter after the game, saying "Congrats to @drewbrees. Great job by such a special player." Brees responded by tweeting, "Thanks to @DanMarino for his class and support during this run. It is an honor to attempt to follow the example he set for us all."[139][140] He earned his third and final NFC Offensive Player of the Week honor for the 2011 season with his performance against the Falcons.[141]

In week 17 against the Carolina Panthers, Brees closed out the season by setting 6 NFL records, finishing the year with 468 completions for 5,476 yards, edging Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, who also surpassed Marino's record with 5,235 yards. Brees averaged 342.25 yards passing per game, which broke Dan Fouts' record of 320.3 in a strike-shortened 1982 season.[142][143] In 2013, Peyton Manning bested Brees' record by 1 yard, and finished the season with an NFL-record 5,477 passing yards, averaging 342.31 yards per game. After defeating the Detroit Lions 45–28 in the NFC Wild Card game, Brees and the Saints lost the NFC Divisional Round Playoff game to the San Francisco 49ers.[144][145] He was named to his sixth career Pro Bowl.[146] He was ranked as the second-best player in the league by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2012.[147]

2012 season

Brees at the 2013 Pro Bowl

On July 13, the Saints and Brees agreed to a 5-year, $100 million contract. The contract had the largest amount of guaranteed money in NFL history, at $60 million. $40 million of the contract was paid the first year.[148]

In Week 5, Brees threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Devery Henderson against his former team, the San Diego Chargers. This was his 48th consecutive game with a touchdown pass. With that touchdown pass, Brees broke Johnny Unitas's consecutive game streak with at least one touchdown pass, and Unitas' son Joe was present at the Superdome to witness his father's 52-year-old record being broken.[149] Sean Payton, Joe Vitt and Mickey Loomis, who were all serving suspensions due to the "Bountygate" scandal, were granted permission to watch the week 5 game against the San Diego Chargers due to Brees potentially breaking Unitas' record.[150] Brees earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his 370-yard, four-touchdown, and one-interception effort against the Chargers.[151][152] Without their head coach, the Saints had lost their first four games but ended the losing streak with a 31–24 win over the Chargers.

In the Week 13 game against the Atlanta Falcons, Brees threw no touchdowns and a career-high 5 interceptions, ending his consecutive game streak with at least 1 touchdown pass at 54.[153] In Week 14, Brees threw for 354 yards, giving him his 7th straight 4,000-yard passing season, surpassing Peyton Manning's record of 6 straight seasons. It was also his 5th straight season with at least 30 touchdown passes and 4,000 yards passing, also an NFL record. Brees managed to finish the 2012 season with 5,177 passing yards and 43 touchdowns despite having the worst defensive support in the NFL, whose over 7,000 yards conceded was an all-time NFL record, and the team finished the season with a 7–9 record and missed the playoffs.[154]

Brees was selected to the 2013 Pro Bowl as an injury replacement for Robert Griffin III. It was the seventh time that he was named to the Pro Bowl.[155][156] He was ranked 11th by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2013.[157]

2013 season

Brees had a solid season in 2013. In Week 4, a 38–17 victory over the Miami Dolphins, he had 413 passing yards and four touchdowns to earn NFC Offensive Player of the Week.[158][159] In Week 10, a 49–17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, he had 392 passing yards and four touchdowns to earn another NFC Offensive Player of the Week honor.[160][161] In Week 12, Brees passed Warren Moon for 5th place on the career passing yards list with 49,566. During Week 14, Brees became the fastest player ever to join the 50,000-yard club and only the fifth player to do so.[162] He did it in 183 games, passing the 50,000 milestone in the fourth quarter of a 31–13 Saints win over the Carolina Panthers on December 8, in which he threw four touchdowns.[163] In Week 17, a 42–17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he had 381 passing yards and four touchdowns to earn his third NFC Offensive Player of the Week nod for the 2013 season.[164][165] Brees also extended his NFL record to a 6th straight season of at least 30 touchdown passes with 4,000 passing yards, his 3rd straight 5,000-yard season, and his 8th straight 4,000-yard season.[166] For his successful performance in 2013, he was named to his eighth career Pro Bowl.[167] The Saints finished with an 11–5 record and narrowly defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild card round, but lost to the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round, who went on to win Super Bowl XLVIII.[168] He finished ranked sixth by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2014.[169]

2014 season

Brees admits that the 2014 season was his "most frustrating".[170] Brees' 2014 season began with a pair of games lost on game-ending field goals by the other team; in Week 1, the Saints lost 37–34 to division rival Atlanta in overtime and in Week 2, in a 26–24 loss against the Cleveland Browns, he moved into fourth place on the career passing yardage list, ahead of John Elway.[171][172][173]

Brees in 2015

On October 19, 2014, Brees became the NFL's all-time leader in completion percentage at 66.21%, surpassing Chad Pennington.[174] On November 30, in a Week 13 35–32 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, he had 257 passing yards and five touchdowns to earn NFC Offensive Player of the Week, which was the 20th time in his career he has earned the award over his career in both the AFC with the Chargers and the NFC with the Saints.[175][176] In a Week 15 game against the Chicago Bears, he extended his streak to an NFL-record 7th straight season with at least 30 touchdown passes and 9 straight seasons of 4,000 passing yards. However his streak of 5,000 passing yard seasons ended at three, as he passed for 4,952 yards. Brees still led the league in passing yards although he was tied with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.[177] He was named to his seventh consecutive and ninth career Pro Bowl.[178] He was ranked 30th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2015.[179]

2015 season

On October 4, 2015, in the fourth week of the season, his 80-yard touchdown pass to C. J. Spiller on the second play of overtime gave the Saints a 26–20 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, and the team's first win of the season. He earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his effort against the Cowboys.[180][181] The touchdown gave Brees 400 for his career, making him the 5th player in NFL history to reach the 400 touchdown milestone. Also, he became the fastest player ever to reach 400 touchdowns, doing so in 205 games. Brees also completed his 5,000th pass with a touchdown to tight end Josh Hill.[182][183] It was the quickest regular season overtime win in the history of the NFL at 13 seconds.[184]

On November 1, 2015, Brees tied the NFL record of touchdown passes in a game with seven during a 52–49 Saints win over the New York Giants.[185] In that game, he completed 39-of-50 passes for 505 yards to record his second career game with at least 500 passing yards.[186] He earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his historic performance against the New York Giants.[187]

In Week 12, his streak of 45 consecutive games with a touchdown pass ended in a 24–6 loss at Houston.[188] Two weeks later, he surpassed Dan Marino for 4th in career touchdown passes as the Saints beat Tampa Bay 24–17. In Week 15, he became the 4th quarterback to reach the 60,000-yard milestone—in 215 games, the fastest ever—and had his 10th straight 4,000-yard season, plus his 94th 300-yard game, but the Detroit Lions won 35–27. This put him first in most 300 yard games as Brees and Manning had been tied at 93 games prior to that game.[189] A week later his streak was extended to an eighth straight season with at least 30 touchdown passes, plus his 95th 300-yarder, all NFL records, against Jacksonville.[190] With a Week 17 win over Atlanta, Brees finished the season with four straight 300-yard games, for a career record total of 96, and a season total 4,870 yards passing, leading the league in passing yards for a record sixth time despite missing one game due to an injury.[191] He was ranked 30th on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016.[192]

2016 season

In the first game of the season, Brees threw a career-high 98-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks in a narrow 35–34 loss the Oakland Raiders.[193] He finished the game 28–of–42 for 423 yards and four touchdown passes.[193] His 400-yard performance tied him with Peyton Manning for most 400-yard games.[193][194] The next week, he passed Dan Marino for third place in career passing yards in a loss to the New York Giants.[195]

On October 16, in Week 6 of the regular season, Brees threw for 465 yards and four touchdown passes with one interception in a 41–38 home win over the Carolina Panthers.[196] With this performance, Brees set an NFL record with the 15th 400-yard passing performance of his career.[197] Entering the game, Brees had been tied with Peyton Manning with 14 career 400-yard passing games.[197] Brees reached another milestone in the game, becoming the sixth player to record 50,000 passing yards with one team. The other five players are Peyton Manning (Colts), Brett Favre (Packers), Dan Marino (Dolphins), Tom Brady (Patriots) and John Elway (Broncos).[194]

In Week 7, Drew Brees became the first player in NFL history with 100 games of 300+ passing yards, in a loss against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 23.[198][199]

During Week 16, Brees and Aaron Rodgers tied the NFL record for most seasons with at least 35 touchdown passes with four—a record shared with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.[200][201]

Brees finished the 2016 season leading the league in passing yards with 5,208, the second most of his career and the fifth 5,000-yard season of his career—more than all other 5,000-yard seasons combined (4).[202] He also threw for 471 completions, breaking his NFL record of 468 set in 2011, and a career-high 673 attempts. Brees finished third in touchdown passes with 37, the fourth most of his career. He also finished second in completion percentage (70.0%),[203] making it the third time he has completed at least 70% of his passes in a season.[a] Despite his performance, for the third straight season, the Saints finished 7–9 and missed the playoffs. He was named to his tenth career Pro Bowl for his 2016 season.[204] He was ranked 16th by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.[205]

2017 season

After starting off the 2017 season with a loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Brees looked to bounce back in Week 2 against the New England Patriots. In the 36–20 loss, he was 27-of-45 for 356 yards and two touchdowns.[206] During Week 10 against the Buffalo Bills, Brees was held to 184 passing yards, but the Saints combined for 298 rushing yards and won 47–10.[207] In Week 13, he passed Peyton Manning for second place in career completions in a 31–21 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

On December 19, 2017, Brees was named to his 11th Pro Bowl.[208]

During Week 16 against the Atlanta Falcons, Brees became the third player to amass over 70,000 passing yards in a career, doing so in an NFL fastest 248 games. In that game he also earned his 12th straight 4,000-yard season and finished the game with 239 passing yards, a touchdown, and an interception as the Saints won 23–13.[209]

Brees finished the 2017 season with an NFL record 72.0 completion percentage.[210] He also led the league in number of completions (386) and yards per pass attempt (8.1), and came in second in passer rating (103.9).[211]

The Saints finished with an 11–5 record, won the NFC South, and made the playoffs.[212] In the Wild Card Round against the Carolina Panthers, he had 376 passing yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in the 31–26 victory.[213] In the Divisional Round against the Minnesota Vikings, he had 294 passing yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions in the 29–24 loss.[214] He was ranked eighth by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018.[215]

2018 season

On March 13, 2018, Brees signed a two-year, $50 million contract extension with the Saints with $27 million guaranteed.[216]

In Week 1, Brees threw for more than 400 yards for a record 16th time in his career, but Tampa Bay won 48–40.[217] In Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons, Brees broke Brett Favre's record for career pass completions in the second quarter with his 6,301st career completion.[218] In that game, a 43-37 overtime Saints victory, Brees threw for 396 yards and three touchdowns, and also ran for two more scores, including the game-winner in overtime, earning him NFC Offensive Player of the Week.[219]

In Week 5 on Monday Night Football against the Washington Redskins, Brees broke Peyton Manning’s all-time passing yardage record with a 62-yard touchdown pass to Tre'Quan Smith late in the second quarter. He went on to complete 26 of 29 passes for 363 yards and three touchdowns, earning him NFC Offensive Player of the Week for the second time in three weeks.[220]

Following a bye week, Brees finally claimed his first career victory against the Baltimore Ravens with a score of 24-23, making him the third quarterback in NFL history to beat all 32 teams, joining Peyton Manning and Brett Favre.[221] During this game, Brees also became the fourth quarterback in NFL history, along with Manning, Favre, and Tom Brady, to reach 500 career touchdown passes when he threw a 1 yard touchdown to Benjamin Watson.[222] After a season-low 120 yards and his first interception of the season in a win over Minnesota,[223] Brees logged 346 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions to hand the Rams their first loss of the season in Week 9.[224]

In a Week 10 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, Drew Brees passed Brett Favre for second in career passing touchdowns with a 17-yard touchdown to Michael Thomas in a 51-14 victory.

NFL career statistics

Legend
Led the league
NFL record
Won the Super Bowl
AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year
Bold Career high

Regular season

Year Team G GS Comp Att Yds Pct Avg TD Int Lng Ypg Sck SckY Rate
2001 SD 1 0 15 27 221 55.6 8.2 1 0 40 221.0 2 12 94.8
2002 SD 16 16 320 526 3,284 60.8 6.2 17 16 52 205.3 24 180 76.9
2003 SD 11 11 205 356 2,108 57.6 5.9 11 15 68 191.6 21 178 67.5
2004 SD 15 15 262 400 3,159 65.5 7.9 27 7 79 210.6 18 131 104.8
2005 SD 16 16 323 500 3,576 64.6 7.2 24 15 54 223.5 27 223 89.2
2006 NO 16 16 356 554 4,418 64.3 8.0 26 11 86 276.1 18 105 96.2
2007 NO 16 16 440 652 4,423 67.5 6.8 28 18 58 276.4 16 109 89.4
2008 NO 16 16 413 635 5,069 65.0 8.0 34 17 84 316.8 13 92 96.2
2009 NO 15 15 363 514 4,388 70.6 8.5 34 11 75 292.5 20 135 109.6
2010 NO 16 16 448 658 4,620 68.1 7.0 33 22 80 288.8 25 185 90.9
2011 NO 16 16 468 657 5,476 71.2 8.3 46 14 79 342.3 24 158 110.6
2012 NO 16 16 422 670 5,177 63.0 7.7 43 19 80 323.6 26 190 96.3
2013 NO 16 16 446 650 5,162 68.6 7.9 39 12 76 322.6 37 244 104.7
2014 NO 16 16 456 659 4,952 69.2 7.5 33 17 69 309.5 29 186 97.0
2015 NO 15 15 428 627 4,870 68.3 7.8 32 11 80 324.7 31 235 101.0
2016 NO 16 16 471 673 5,208 70.0 7.7 37 15 98 325.5 27 184 101.7
2017 NO 16 16 386 536 4,334 72.0 8.1 23 8 54 270.9 20 145 103.9
2018 NO 6 6 170 220 1,870 77.27 8.50 13 0 62 311.67 9 71 121.6
Career 255 254 6,392 9,514 72,315 67.19 7.6 501 228 98 283.59 387 2,763 97.3

Source[211]

Postseason

Year Team G GS Comp Att Yds Pct Avg TD Int Lng Ypg Sck SckY Rate
2004 SD 1 1 31 42 319 73.8 7.6 2 1 44 319.0 2 11 101.2
2006 NO 2 2 47 81 597 58.0 7.4 3 1 88 298.5 6 51 88.3
2009 3 3 72 102 732 70.6 7.2 8 0 44 244.0 2 15 117.0
2010 1 1 39 60 404 65.0 6.7 2 0 40 404.0 1 7 95.4
2011 2 2 73 106 928 68.9 8.8 7 2 66 464.0 5 34  110.1
2013 2 2 44 73 559 60.3 7.7 2 2 52 279.5 3 9 81.9
2017 2 2 48 73 670 65.8 9.2 5 3 80 335.0 3 23 100.8
Career 13 13 354 537 4,209 65.9 7.8 29 9 88 323.77 22 150 100.7

Career awards and records

Brees has earned several awards in both college and the NFL, including:

Major NFL records held by Brees include:

Personal life

Brees married his college sweetheart Brittany Dudchenko in February 2003.[225] They have three sons: Baylen, Bowen, and Callen, and a daughter, Rylen.[226][227][228][229][230][231]

Brees announcing the Saints' draft pick at the 2010 NFL Draft

Brees moved to New Orleans not long after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.[232] Brees admits that it was tough moving to a city that was still in shambles from the hurricane; however, he and Brittany immediately fell in love with the culture and "soul" of the city.[232] They purchased and renovated a home in Uptown New Orleans, where they still live.[233] Brees admits in an interview that he thinks his family is now completed especially because three boys and one girl were always the couple's dream.[229] All four children were born in New Orleans and are being raised there.[229] The four priorities in Brees' life are faith, family, football, and philanthropy; otherwise known as the "four F's" by Brees.[7] Brees maintains his offseason home in San Diego.[234]

Brees was raised a Christian but stated that he only became committed at age 17 when he was at church with a torn ACL and was wondering who he was and what was his purpose in life.[8] Brees later faced other trials such as tearing his shoulder in 2005; however, he maintains that these setbacks only strengthened his relationship with God.[7] Brees spoke about his faith saying, "I live for God, for the faith that I have in Him. Knowing the sacrifices that Jesus Christ made on the cross for me and feeling like it’s in God’s hands, all I have to do is just give my best, commit the rest to Him. Everything else is taken care of. That takes the weight off anybody’s shoulders. It’s to give you confidence to know that you’ve got somebody looking out for you."[235]

On July 6, 2010, Brees released his first book,[11] entitled Coming Back Stronger: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity, co-authored by Chris Fabry.[236] Coming Back Stronger opened at number 3 on the nonfiction bestseller list of The New York Times.[237][238]

Brees' mother, Mina Brees, died on August 7, 2009, aged 59 from a prescription drug overdose.[7] The death was ruled a suicide.[239] Brees was briefly excused from training camp for a "family matter".[240] In 2006, Brees described their relationship as "nonexistent" ever since he refused to hire his mother as his agent when he entered the NFL.[241][242] After her death, Brees stated that this quote was three years old and that his relationship with his mother had been improving.[243] In his autobiography, released almost a year later, he wrote that their relationship was on the mend[244] and that she had been looking forward to her meeting his son; her first grandchild.

Brees is the nephew of former Texas quarterback Marty Akins.

In April 2010, Brees was voted by fans as the cover athlete of EA Sports Madden NFL 11 video game.[245]

Brees wears #9 on his uniform in honor of late baseball player Ted Williams.[246]

Brees is sometimes known by the nicknames "Breesus" by Saints fans[247][248][249] and "Cool Brees", which he acquired during his younger years for his calmness under pressure.[17][250]

From 2008 to 2014 Brees served on the Executive Committee of the National Football League Players Association.[251][252]

On March 30, 2010, Brees became the national spokesperson for AdvoCare International,[253] a multi-level marketing company,[254] which produces weight management, nutritional supplements, and personal care products.

Brees visiting U.S. soldiers in Kuwait, April, 2007

Brees owns a variety of restaurant businesses. In May 2015, he purchased a 25% stake in "Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar", a sports bar that originated in Baton Rouge, LA and is currently expanding their franchising into other Gulf Coast states. During initial talks with Walk-On's, Brees said that he was interested in bringing over some of the lessons that he had learned as a Jimmy John's franchise owner. He currently owns 8 Jimmy John's stores with a ninth under construction as of September 2016.[255] Carl Buergler, Jimmy John's director of operations, played football at Purdue with Brees.[256]

Charity and volunteer activities

In 2010, Sports Illustrated described Brees as "an athlete as adored and appreciated as any in an American city today".[257] When Sports Illustrated selected him for the 2010 Sportsman of the Year award, it said the award was "[f]or not only leading the New Orleans Saints to the first Super Bowl title in the franchise's history, but also for helping lead the city of New Orleans' rebirth after the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina". The fact that he and his family lived in New Orleans proper instead of the suburbs like many players did further endeared him to fans.[124][233]

Brees Dream Foundation

In 2003, Brees and his wife, Brittany, founded the Brees Dream Foundation to support cancer patients and research in memory of Brittany's aunt who died of cancer. Since Brees' move to New Orleans, the foundation has expanded to provide assistance for Hurricane Katrina rebuilding projects. The foundation continues to fund and support various programs in San Diego, California, where Brees usually spends his offseasons, and West Lafayette, Indiana, where the couple's alma mater, Purdue, is located and where Brees returns to visit yearly.[258]

Brees and his foundation have been heavily involved in Hurricane Katrina recovery.[259] Drew and Brittany's Brees Dream Foundation announced a partnership[260][261] in 2007 with international children's charity Operation Kids, to rebuild and restore and recreate academic and athletic facilities, parks, and playgrounds, after-school programs, mentoring programs for the intellectually disabled, neighborhood revitalization projects and child care facilities in New Orleans. Brees also sponsors the Rebuilding thru Brotherhood program to invite fellow Sigma Chi members to the New Orleans community to build homes with the Habitat for Humanity.[citation needed]

Other activities

Drew Brees signs autographs at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base on June 29, 2009, along with fellow NFL players Billy Miller and Donnie Edwards

Brees has been on multiple USO tours throughout his career. In late June 2009 he visited the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Following his return, Brees was quoted as stating that Guantanamo captives were being treated ten times better than convicts in U.S. prisons.[262][263][264][265]

In February 2008, Brees signed a promotional deal with Chili's Grill & Bar to promote the chain's new line of hamburgers. The promotion helped raise money for charity. In June 2008, Brees participated in the Pro Sports Team Challenge, a competition for professional athletes to help raise money for charities. The charity Brees played for was Operation Kids.[266]

On February 18, 2007, Brees was honored by the Krewe of Bacchus, a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade organization, as the 2007 Grand Marshal of the Bacchus parade.[267] Brees presided as Bacchus XLII for the 2010 parade on February 14, 2010, one week after the Super Bowl during Mardi Gras season.[268]

In June 2010, President Obama appointed Brees to be co-chair of the newly renamed President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, along with former Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes.[269][270]

In October 2010, Brees appeared in an It Gets Better video, where he gave an anti-bullying message in the wake of a series of suicides committed by gay teenagers.[271]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The norm for NFL completion percentage is to round to the nearest tenth, but technically speaking, Brees only completed 69.985% of his passes.

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External links

Records
Preceded by
Johnny Unitas
Consecutive games with a touchdown pass
2012
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
Dan Marino
Most passing yards in a season
2011–2013
Succeeded by
Peyton Manning