What “Brees vs Brady” means for Drew Brees’ legacy

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) - Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) - Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

This Sunday will mark the third time that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tom Brady and the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees will face off this season.

The duo set the record for the highest combined age of two starting quarterbacks with 84, and with Drew Brees turning 42 on Friday the record will be set again during the divisional matchup.

While it’s always great to see two future Hall of Famers do battle, this game has some added significance with it likely being the last time these two will face off.

If Sunday is Brees’ last game in the NFL, his resume will already speak for itself.

Being atop the list of the best passers in the history of the game in terms of passing yards, completion percentage and most seasons with 5,000 yards as well as his victory in Super Bowl XLIV defined his career as a winner.

However, he has never been considered in the same echelon as Brady and Peyton Manning. Could a win over Brady cement Brees as an equal to the winningest postseason quarterback ever?

Brees is already one of the few quarterbacks that have consistently found success against Brady in their previous seven regular-season meetings. With the two wins this season, Brees’ record against Brady stands at 5-2.

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Brees has consistently been the better performer of the two over the course of these games, as well.

Brees has averaged nearly 249 yards per game and has a Quarterback Rating of 108.6. Comparatively, Brady’s QBR has been 82.5 and a turnover to touchdown ratio of 1 with 11 touchdowns and 11 picks.

Some credit for Brees’ victories in these matchups should be given to his defenses considering Brady has the seventh-highest all-time quarterback rating for his career at 97.3.

However, Brees’ 10.5 TD:INT ratio is nothing to scoff at either. When is comes to minimizing mistakes, Brees has been the better of the two rivals.

If Brees manages to lead his team to a three-game sweep against the Bucs, Brees will etch his name in the company of Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks with six wins against Brady.

In retrospect, a 6-3 record for Brees is much more impressive than the 6-11 record that Manning finished with.

An opportunity to topple Tom’s new empire in Tampa and chase a second ring in his final season could prove to be a storybook ending for the career of Drew Brees.

Hoisting the Lombardi one more time after overcoming another Hall of Famer and a host of young talent from the AFC would elevate Brees’ lore to the league. It’s reminiscent of Ray Lewis’ last ride with the Ravens in their 2013 Super Bowl victory.

Should Brees beat Brady and secure his long-awaited second ring, there is no question that the perceived gap between his legacy and that of Manning’s will close drastically.

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Making a statement in his final opportunity to play Brady this season will also create plenty of speculation about whether Brady would still have six rings if he had had to play Brees more often.