Updated: Jul 24
Brees announced his retirement on Instagram with help from his four children on March 14.
When teams walked into the Superdome, they always felt a chill. For the first time in 15 years, teams will no longer experience that Brees.
On March 14, 2006, free-agent quarterback Drew Brees signed a six-year, $60 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Fifteen years later, Brees announced his retirement from pro football on Instagram.
In his retirement post, Brees said, “I am only retiring from playing football, I am not retiring from New Orleans.”
In his illustrious career, Brees is ranked first in career passing yards (80,358), career completions (7,142), career completion percentage (67.7%) and ranked second in career passing touchdowns (571). His defining moment as a pro was when he led the Saints to victory in the Super Bowl against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. This etched Brees into Saints lore.
Brees was cemented into New Orleans royalty when he made his greatest achievement as a human. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and left hundreds of thousands in ruins. After signing with the Saints, he immediately became involved in Hurricane Katrina recovery through the Brees Dream Foundation.
Brees partnered with Operation Kids to rebuild and recreate academic facilities, parks, playgrounds, athletic centers and mentoring programs. This initiative and his continued philanthropy, such as COVID-19 relief, positively impacts the city. He embraced New Orleans, and the city embraced him back.
Brees said the following to media members about the city of New Orleans in October 2018: “I love this city. I love this fanbase. I love the Superdome. I love the environment that our fans create on a weekly basis when we play here. There's really no fanbase like it.”
While Brees’ career is one of the greatest ever, it is no secret that he struggled late in the season and postseason in the last four years of his career. As seasons progressed, injuries piled up, and his arm strength began to dwindle, which allowed opposing teams to game plan against it.
“The guys that are capable and able to play for a long time in this league – and this happens at every position,” Brees’ former teammate Zach Strief said to JR SportBrief. “Your body changes and morphs, and your skillset changes. Your strengths and weaknesses alter over time.”
“It’s been interesting to watch and to listen to people talk about Drew’s arm strength and this reduction in arm strength. And there’s no question Drew Brees doesn’t drive the football like he did 10 years ago.”
In Brees’ last four playoff losses against the Minnesota Vikings (2017, 2019) Los Angeles Rams (2018) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2020), he threw a total of seven touchdowns and seven interceptions and completed 65% of his passes for 885 yards. His average quarterback rating was 76.5, which is below his career playoff quarterback rating of 97.1.
Although Brees provided fans around the world memorable moments through his actions on and off the field, it was time for Brees to retire. In five years, he will be enshrined in Canton at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Derrian Carter is a senior, who was enrolled in Sports Reporting at Morehouse College. He is a mass media arts major with a concentration in journalism. Email Derrian at: firstname.lastname@example.org.