Evans Clinchy
Thursday January 26th, 2012

After a record-setting season under center for the New Orleans Saints, Drew Brees earned the No. 1 spot in the BusinessWeek Power 100, a list of the world's most "powerful" athletes.

CSE, an integrated sports and marketing firm in Atlanta, evaluated about 600 athletes based on "statistics, the popularity and viewing audience of their sports, endorsement earnings, and their reach on social media." Brees earned the top spot on this year's list, followed by Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, LeBron James and Rafael Nadal.

Brees had the best season of his career statistically, passing for an all-time record 5,476 yards. He surpassed 300 in 13 of his 16 games, also a record, and completed 71.2 percent of his passes. Last year's No. 1 pick, Peyton Manning, fell to No. 51 on this year's list. Other notable drop-offs included that of Phil Mickelson, who fell from No. 4 to No. 18, and Lance Armstrong, who went from No. 8 to off the list entirely.

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