NFL Legacies: Drew Brees

By  //  January 18, 2022

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The life and career of Super Bowl Champion Drew Brees 

Over the last decade, the NFL has been graced with a series of spectacular quarterbacks – Eli and Payton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and of course, Drew Brees. 

Don’t let the fact that Brees only won the Super Bowl once fool you, he was one of the all-time greats, and he has set many NFL records that we may never see broken. Particularly, when it came to passing, Brees was a cut above the rest. 

Today, we are going to look at Brees’ career and the records that he broke. 

Career Stats 

Brees was drafted in 2001 by the San Diego Chargers – he was the second quarterback to be picked and he was picked 32nd overall. That year he was one of only six quarterbacks in the Draft. 

Throughout his career Brees played for two teams – he played for the San Diego Chargers (2001–2005) and the New Orleans Saints (2006–2020). He retired in 2020. 

He played 287 games throughout his career during the season and started all but one of them (286). He ended his career with a 172−114 season game win record. 

He played 18 postseason games and started in all of them. He won exactly half of the postseason games he played in. 

He attempted 10,551 passes and completed 7,142. He passed for 80,358 yards in his career – he was the second-highest passer in the NFL, behind Tom Brady. 

NFL Records And Awards 

Most of Brees’ records are passing-related. 

As well as being second on the all-time passing yards list, Brees led the league in passing yards in 7 different seasons. This is an NFL record. 

He led in passing attempts for 4 seasons, and he led the league in passing completion for 5 seasons. 

Brees holds the record for highest passing completion percentage in a season – 74.4%. He led the league in that stat 6 times. He led the league in passing touchdowns for 4 seasons. 

Brees was called up to the Pro-Bowl 13 times. He was named Defensive Player of the Year twice and was named Comeback Player of the Year in 2004. 

Brees also holds NFL records from the most consecutive games with a touchdown pass, the 

highest completion percentage in a game, and the most touchdown passes in a game (tied). 

In 2009, Brees won the Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints and he was named Super Bowl MVP that year. 

2009 – The Super Bowl Year 

It was clear that Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints meant business from their first match in 2009. 

They were playing against the Detroit Lions and Brees set a career-high and franchise-tying record with six touchdown passes. That week he was named the NFC player of the week. Check out Fanduel’s NFL odds if you think someone can beat Brees’ record. 

In the match the week after, Brees threw for 311 yards and scored 3 more touchdown passes. With this match, Brees set the record for most touchdown passes scored by Week 2 at 9. 

The Saints ended the season on 13-3 and went into the NFC Playoffs as #1 seed. They beat the Cardinals and the Vikings to get to the Super Bowl. 

In the Super Bowl, threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns. He racked up 32 pass completions – a Super Bowl record. This was the first Super Bowl victory of the Saints franchise. 

2020 – The Final Season 

Brees retired in 2020 after playing 287 games in the NFL. 

During this season, Brees scored 24 touchdown passes and passed for 2,942 yards. When he retired he was second in career passing yards, still behind Tom Brady. 

He ended his final season with a passing percentage of 70.5%. His final season helped Brees to set the NFL record for career highest passing percentage – 67.7%. This record was set over 19 seasons. 

One of the most notable things that Brees did in his final season was to take a pay cut. As the pay cap was being introduced to the NFL, Brees took a pay cut so that the Saints could continue to pay their other players at the same rate.

This made Brees even more popular (if that was possible) with the fans and staff at the club. 

Brees retired on March 14, 2021, which was exactly 15 years since he had signed his contract with the Saints. 

In his final match, Brees threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns.

The College Years 

Brees debuted for Purdue University in 1997. And played with them for four years before graduating in 2001. Brees was offered the chance to enter the Draft in 2000, but he was intent on finishing his studies. 

Brees played a total of 45 matches at college. He finished with a 61.1% passing completion – after completing 1,026 of 1,678 attempted passes. He passed for a total of 11,792 yards. 

He scored 90 touchdown passes over his 4 years. He scored 0 in his first year and 39 in his second. 

Personal Life 

Brees married his college sweetheart, Brittany Dudchenko, and they have 4 children together. 

Brees is perhaps most famous for the charity work he did in New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Like many other NFL players, Brees helped with clean-up and gave a lot of money to the repair and reconstruction of the city. 

In 2010, Brees published his book Coming Back Stronger: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity and it became a New York Times bestseller. Brees is very religious and claims that his religion helped him through his shoulder injury in 2009. 

Drew Brees played 19 seasons in the NFL, during which he averaged a passing completion rate of 67.7%. This is an NFL record. He also holds the record for most touchdown passes in one match. Brees is a Super Bowl Champion and a Super Bowl MVP. He retired in 2020.