ESPN’s Monday night Drew Brees love-fest contained a subtle but unmistakable caveat. Booger McFarland suggested that Brees could finish among the best 10 quarterbacks of all time.
Booger, Brees already is there.
The real question is whether he’ll finish among the top five of all time, thanks to the confluence of winning a championship (maybe two) and statistical achievement that will see Brees retire as the holder of every all-time record, with the exception of interceptions.
Brees already has the most passing yards, most career completions, most seasons leading the league in passing yards, most consecutive 4,000-yard seasons, most consecutive games with a passing touchdown, and most career 400-yard passing games.
He also has five 5,000-yard passing seasons. The rest of all past and current NFL quarterbacks has four.
The top five quarterbacks of all time should include (in no particular order for these purposes) Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, and John Elway. Brees has as much of a claim to the fifth spot as anyone else, from Brett Favre to Dan Marino to Aaron Rodgers to Warren Moon to anyone else.
And Brees still has more work to do. Another Super Bowl appearance or win could cement his credentials, as would two or three more seasons of big passing numbers.
So, yes, he’s already an all-time top-10 quarterback. He’s on the fringes of the top five, and he’ll likely get there before he’s done.