After 20 NFL seasons, Drew Brees is retiring from professional football. He broke the news via Instagram with a video featuring his children making the announcement on his behalf. The Falcons official Twitter account also made a video, but in more of a comical ode to Brees.
We thank you, @drewbrees.
But, we won't miss you. pic.twitter.com/MkA0W9ak9o
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) March 14, 2021
I’ll be the first to say that there are no “thank yous” coming from anyone here at SportsTalkATL. Brees is despised around these parts, and there’s no reason to pretend to be friendly because an NFL great is retiring. Congratulations are in order because anyone playing 20 NFL seasons is an impressive feat, but I will not “thank” Drew Brees, nor should anyone from the fanbase.
Giving credit where credit is due is something some fans might not be able to muster, but Brees is one of the all-time greats and will surely be rewarded with an enshrinement in Canton. He’s incredibly impactful in the New Orleans community, and nobody can argue the fact that he and his wife have done more for that city than anyone before them. It truly is commendable, but he’s still the general of the loathing Aints.
Brees was arguably one of the best faces of a franchise any organization in the league could ask for, and maybe that is what’s so frustrating about him. Cam Jordan is just a goofy dude and loves to stir the pot, so it’s easy for fans to despise him. Sean Payton is a notorious cheater and an incredibly pompous individual, so it’s easy for fans to loathe him. Saints fans love to compare Michael Thomas to the best receivers in the game, which isn’t entirely egregious but mentioning him in the same conversation as Julio Jones is blasphemous, and his pre-pubescent voice makes him one of the most hatable Aints of all-time. But Drew Brees is quiet, respectful, always modest, and even has a little whit to him. What is there to hate? The elite quarterback play for over a decade is a good starting point.
Falcons fans know better than anyone what he’s capable of. Brees retires after throwing for 8,695 career passing yards against Atlanta, which is the most against any individual opponent, and 54 touchdowns passes. The former Purdue Boilermaker played in 29 games versus the Falcons, winning 15 of them and throwing 27 interceptions in those 29 matchups — tied for the most he threw against any team.
It is always the fun rivalry that fuels the disdain for Brees, and as he withers away in some NBC booth while New Orleans scrambles around for a quarterback, I’ll be smiling. The highest-paid gadget player in Taysom Hill or Jameis “30 TDs & 30 INTs” Winston will likely duke it out to succeed Brees, which has to make you smile as a Falcons fan. Congratulations are in order, but I’m only happy because of the struggle that will surely ensue in New Orleans as they search for their next franchise quarterback.
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