Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints’ quarterback, won’t win the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award. That will be handed out, again, to Peyton Manning, the Indianapolis Colts’ signal-caller, who is richly deserving.
In any other season, the one-time Purdue star would be a cinch to nail down the hardware because he’s directing the game’s most prolific offense, even after a 24-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys last Saturday.
With the 30-year-old Brees throwing 33 touchdowns and just over 4,100 yards, New Orleans (13-1) has already qualified for the playoffs and is a strong candidate to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
It’s hard to imagine the Saints doing as well without Brees, who has thrown for 300 yards seven times this season.
This should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched Brees. In his four seasons with the Saints, Brees, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, has passed for 4,000 yards every time, including a personal-best 5,069 yards with 34 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 2008. He has thrown 26, 28, 34 and 33 scoring passes during this span, with only 37 interceptions.
Brees got off to a fast start, throwing six touchdowns in the season-opening 45-27 shellacking of the Detroit Lions, and then launched four more strikes in a 48-27 victory over the New York Giants on Oct. 18.
During Week 12 against the New England Patriots, Brees added five scoring passes during a 21-point win at home.
Brees looks more like a second baseman than a professional quarterback, standing 6-feet and weighing 205 pounds.
It’s been said Brees has all the intangibles—he knows where his receivers are and can detect when the defense is about to close in. The proof: he’s only been sacked 19 times.
If you’re in the secondary or a linebacker, Brees is tough to read, having been intercepted only 11 times. Only twice, in wins at Buffalo (27-7) and at home against the New York Jets (24-10), did Brees fail to throw a touchdown.
Brees is completing an amazing 69.3 percent of his passes (331 of 477) and has a 109.4 passer rating. These numbers are off the charts, and simply more evidence of just how polished this one-time San Diego Chargers’ second-round pick in 2001 has become.
In his first full season with the Chargers, Brees played in all 16 regular-season games, while throwing for 3,284 yards with 17 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
His second year with San Diego saw the Texas-native toss 15 interceptions with just 11 scores and barely over 2,100 yards in 11 games.
Rebounding and feeling in the groove, Brees set out and had back-to-back stellar seasons, throwing for 3,159 yards with 27 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
In 2005, Brees injured his right shoulder in the season finale against the Denver Broncos, which is his throwing arm, and when the Chargers acquired Philip Rivers in a trade with the Giants, Brees, who placed third in the 2000 Heisman Trophy voting, was eventually sent packing to the Bayou.
San Diego has fared well with Rivers, whose team sits atop the AFC West, but Brees has been his equal.
Wouldn’t it be funny if the Chargers and Saints meet in the Super Bowl for all the marbles? It could happen.
Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com and is a contributor to trufanboxing.com. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.