The union of Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints is more than a fairy tale. With him being the all time yardage leader, the Saints have the best.
The New Orleans Saints history is not nearly as long and obviously not as storied as many NFL franchises. Born in 1967, the Saints are among the younger NFL teams and cities. Much of the Saints history is bleak. They were longtime loveable losers and introduced a new use for paper grocery bags in the 1980s. This is not a franchise that can look back into it’s past and see a lot of greatness. This fact is only magnified by the devastation of the city by Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath. In the smallest of worries after that tragedy, the Saints were homeless. Enter one Drew Brees.
Cast off from the San Diego Chargers after a tough shoulder injury, Brees had only two real suitors for his services. The Nick Saban-led Miami Dolphins decided to pass on Brees. Daunte Culpepper had more skins on the wall at that point. And it was the second time the Dolphins passed on Brees. They had Josh Heupel rated highly on their board and didn’t believe Brees to be an improvement over their current QB in 2001, Jay Fiedler.
The Saints were the phoenix rising from the ashes of Katrina. Of course, no one knew that at the time, they were just a bad franchise who’d only tasted a modicum of success. They’d just endured a 3-13 season. Roaming like nomads across the NFL in 2005, they played one home game in the Meadowlands to open the season, three in San Antonio and four at LSU. For anyone to say they WANTED to come to play in New Orleans – well, you might have wanted to have their heads examined.
Fate has an interesting way of lining things up. Sean Payton was tapped to be the new head coach. A disciple of Bill Parcells, Payton’s claim to fame was as a replacement player for the Chicago Bears during the 1987 strike. Payton came in with a no nonsense feel that was reminiscent of the Saints’ most successful coach to that point, Jim Mora. He also had a fresh open mind about where he was going. And he had a vast playbook that he needed a really good QB to execute.
With few suitors, Brees likened his comeback from injury to the Saints comeback along with the city of New Orleans. Both were down and counted out by so many around them, given no real chance to succeed.
Placed with Payton, it was as if the two had found their perfect matches. Payton found the QB to live out all his offensive playbook dreams and Brees found a coach who not only would take a shot on a guy with an injury, but also could take his talent and put it to its best use.