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Why doesn't Drew Brees get the credit he deserves?

Seth Dunlap
October 10, 2018 - 2:29 am

I’m not sure when it became en vogue to criticize great athletes in the wake of their more significant accomplishments, but here we are after, one of the great quarterbacks, and great men, in NFL history set the NFL’s career passing yardage record sifting through a barrage of trash talk from national talking heads.

The sideswipes began, just moments after the Saints had completed their Monday Night Football beat down of Washington which included Brees’ record setting moment.  A roundtable of former players on the NFL Network, the broadcasting arm of Brees’ employer, consisting of back Maurice Jones-Drew, James Jones, and others laid into Brees with some of the most bizarre, and infuriating, commentary Saints fans have ever witnessed directed at their star quarterback. 

“Drew Brees sits back in the pocket and throws throws that people think they can make at home,” Jones said to laughter across the panel.

“He don’t really make no throws outside the pocket,” Jones added, while making a bizarre comment about Brees’ “little shoulder pads” that seemed imbued with some unresolved vitriol he has towards the Saints signal caller.

Apparently, Jones doesn’t believe NFL pocket passers are worthy of being included in conversations about the great quarterbacks in league history.  He suggested as much by saying that Brees is, “doing nothing spectacular.”  One must wonder what he thinks of Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Troy Aikman or nearly every great quarterback in NFL history considered a pocket-passer. 

Jones-Drew then chimed in with his agreement, going on tangent about Brees not being worthy of recognition because he’s never won multiple Super Bowls infused with from-the-hip shots that Brees, “doesn’t have the ‘wow’ factor,” whatever that means.

While it’s perhaps appropriate not to take the bait from Jones-Drew, we’ll bite.  Let’s look at how a few of Drew Brees’ more prominent playoff runs ended.

  • 2011, Wild-Card Playoffs @ Seattle:  Brees throws for 404 yards on the road in what’s notoriously known as the league’s toughest venue to win in for opposing teams.  The Saints defense implodes in the second half while allowing the coup-de-grace #BeastQuake run from Marshawn Lynch.  Saints lose 41-36.
  • 2012, Divisional Playoffs @ San Francisco:  Brees throws for 462 yards against the league’s best defense, on the road.  The Saints defense couldn’t stop Alex Smith and Vernon Davis, giving up two late touchdowns.  Saints lose 36-32.
  • 2018, Divisional Playoffs @ Minnesota:  Brees throws for three touchdowns and 294 yards against the conference’s best defenses, while leading a brilliant second half comeback to give the Saints a lead with 25 second left.   Then, Marcus Williams and Stephon Diggs happened.  Saints lose 29-24. 

Some people will never acknowledge this, but football is the ultimate team sport.   Brees has been brilliant in the playoffs for the Saints, and the team’s failure to win a second championship are far from his fault.

While the fiasco at the NFL Network roundtable was absurd enough, the criticism of Brees didn’t stop there.  Today other national talking heads jumped on the hate train.

ESPN’s Max Kellerman used his morning platform on First-Take not to pay tribute to Brees’ exceptional career and new record, but to bash Brees and spend a segment telling you why Brees isn’t really an all-time great.  

Former NFL safety Ryan Clark first apologized, then spent a few minutes chastising Brees while explaining why he doesn’t consider Brees one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game. 

Watch that video below:

It’s unnecessary to run through the litany of Brees’ accomplishments, statistics, and records.  Those speak for themselves.   Yet it’s also unnecessary to continue to give major platforms to hot-take, no, nuclear-take artists who eschew the objectivity and nuance in their analysis for flame throwing, click-bait type nonsense like this.

Brees is one of the three greatest passers to ever play this sport.  Today should have been a day we celebrated his incredible career, along with his awesome contributions to the New Orleans community off the football field.  Instead, these people decided the best way to use their platform was for this idiocy.  Shame on them. 

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