The “Does He Belong” debate has grown over the years about Drew Brees. The debate intensified after the NFL 100 All-Time Quarterbacks were announced without Drew Brees being on the list.
The discussions about the future NFL Hall of Famer have not always been fair to Brees. The chatter on talk shows, social media, and barber shops on Drew would be, “He’s great, but not great enough.”
This sentiment has been echoed about Brees since his Texas State Championship playing days in the Austin area. He was too short and lacked arm strength, yet he won a Rose Bowl and Big Ten Championship at Purdue. He does not measure well at an NFL QB, so he was selected at the top of the 2001 NFL Draft in the second-round, but not the first-round. Brees’ challenge to prove NFL executives wrong again began in San Diego.
Brees’ early days in the they have overlooked talent and ability to lead in the NFL were lingering on the sidelines playing second fiddle to for Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie. He took over the team after subpar performances by Flutie and captured the starting job. The San Diego Chargers organization never truly committed to a future with Brees. In the 2003 draft, they selected QB Eli Manning and traded him to the New York Giants for current QB Phillip Rivers in the first-round. Brees never relinquished the starting role to Rivers. His shoulder injury was his finale in San Diego, Drew became a free agent, spurned by the Dolphins, but New Orleans welcomed him as their leader in 2006.
They have overlooked Brees’ talent and ability to lead in the NFL. No matter how many records his will break in the NFL, when the “Greatest Quarterback” conversations occur, mentioned are Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. However, this latest snub by the NFL 100 All-Time panel is inexplicable. Brees has lived and thrived in the shadows of Brady and Manning. Brees has enlightened his critics by shattering most of Manning’s records and surpassed Brady in many statistical areas as a quarterback. With all of his accomplishments and records, experts still did not select him as one of the 10 All-Time great quarterbacks in league history.
Drew Brees by his performance and character time and time again have made the professional decision makers regret their choices. NFL’s 100 All-Time Team’s quarterbacks announcement on Friday night had few to believe Brees’ name would not be on the list. It wasn’t. Quarterbacks to whom records he has broken heard the call. Brees has beaten a few of the their choices in the playoffs and Manning in Super Bowl 44. His career highlights have eclipsed many former and current quarterbacks; but still Brees was not on the list. It begs to wonder what exactly were the criteria for the selection committee members?
The National Football League allotted 10 spots for past and current NFL quarterbacks for inclusion on the NFL 100 All-Time Team’s greatest players. 26 selection panelists ranged from past NFL executives, former players, coaches, and media professionals. They convened last year by conference call and on-site meetings to complete their selections in August 2019. The NFL gave them the inevitable task to select not only 10 quarterbacks, but the top 100 All-Time players from the thousands that put on an NFL uniform over the last 100 years.
The NFL.com website lists the criteria followed by the committee:
The selection criteria for the NFL All-Time Team followed the by-laws outlined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection process: The only criteria for election of the Hall of Fame are a nominee’s achievements and contributions as a player, coach, or a contributor in professional football in the United States of America. Additionally, a player must have participated in at least five seasons in the NFL, AFL (American Football League), the AAFC (All-American Football Conference), or some combination thereof. (SOURCE: NFL)
The quarterback is the most important position on an NFL team. A quarterback’s performance influences a team’s success and ultimately its failure. The panel chose only 10 quarterbacks to the list of 100, but yielded 12 slots to running backs and linebackers, respectively. A case against the limited amount of players to select at the position. Perhaps a better argument would be against the lack of consistent adherence to the Hall of Fame criteria.
The 10 quarterbacks selected to the NFL 100 All-Time Team are:
Sammy Baugh, Otto Graham, Johnny Unitas, Roger Staubach, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, John Elway, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady.
Based upon the “nominee’s achievements and contributions as a player,” Brees should have been an overwhelming choice. Brees owned the all-time yardage, passing completion percentage, and even touchdowns at the time of the voting. Two weeks ago, he broke Peyton Manning’s all-time passing touchdown record and broke single-season completion percentage record against the Indianapolis Colts. Brees’ NFL records and wins are far above Roger Staubach, Dan Marino, Brett Favre, and Sammy Baugh. The panel could have been justified in replacing either of those former players with Brees.
Significant records broken by Brees compared to the list of finalists:
Brees holds the NFL records for Trophy pass completions, career completion percentage, career passing yards, career touchdown passes, is 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. (Source: Wikipedia)
The New Orleans Saints organization, NFL lovers, Saints and Drew Brees fans are not complimentary of the final 10 quarterbacks listed on the NFL 100 All-Time Team. The Brees debate will continue for years. NFL fans, naysayers, and fence sitters will never come to an overwhelming consensus on Drew Brees.
Forget the statistics, data analytics, and records broken, his passion and competitive nature will take over and be on display in the 2020 Playoffs. Drew Brees’ desire for another Lombardi Trophy will be on full display in another week or two. His focus is to lead the New Orleans Saints back to the Super Bowl. The only way to prove pundits wrong is by showing them the results of your efforts. In the next generations, Drew Brees will be at the top of the list for Best Quarterbacks in the National Football League history. For now, Brees has to battle towards the Super Bowl 54 Championship on February 2, 2020 in Miami, FL. Another Super Bowl ring will leave no doubt to his claim at NFL greatness.
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