Buccaneer fans remember the 2006 season well.
On second thought. Maybe not so much.
But New Orleans Saints fans sure do. That was the year they picked up the best quarterback in team history. And the Buccaneers -as well as the the rest of the NFC South- have been paying for it ever since.
GOAT Part Duex
One of the best NFL 2020 season narratives was Tom Brady and Drew Brees going head to head in the South. The Saints would find much success in both regular season matchups. The Buccaneers would find it when it mattered most, in the postseason. The mutual respect Brady and Brees had for each other was inspiring.
When the earlier season game in NOLA ended, Buccaneers and Saints fans were given a gift. A behind the scenes, moment of excellence. Drew and his beautiful wife, Brittany, were seen speaking with Tom Brady on the field in the Mercedes Benz Dome. Brady was throwing post patterns to Braylen Brees. Then, departing to catch the team charter, Brady tells the three boys to “have fun”, and “be nice to their sister”. A warm, human moment between two of the best to ever strap them on.
A Thorn In The Side
When the Saints signed Brees back in 2006, nobody could have foreseen what would unfold.
Especially the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay finished 11-5 in 2005, things seemed straight. The NFL world knew that Drew Brees could ball after throwing the fourth-most touchdowns in a two-year span. But with the QB shuffling in San Diego and then the return from the shoulder injury, there were a lot questions for Drew Brees. The Saints one-upped the Miami Dolphins and signed the talented sixth-year veteran. What seemed like passing news to Buccaneers fans at the time, would be anything but for the next 15 years.
From 2005 til 2020, the Buccaneers went from quarterback to quarterback. Brian Griese, Chris Simms, Bruce Gradkowski, Tim Rattay, Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown, Byron Leftwich, Josh Freeman, Josh Johnson, Mike Glennon, Jameis Winston, and finally Ryan Fitzpatrick. All the while Drew Brees was leading the Saints to 13 Pro Bowls. He led the league in completion percentage six times and won the Offensive Player of the Year Award twice.
And let us not forget when he earned a Super Bowl MVP nod by beating Peyton Manning and the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
His Walter Payton Man of the Year Award tells you the character of the man, as well. The accomplishments on the field, the skill – it’s all there.
Buccaneers fans have respect for the things Drew Brees accomplished over his career. As he exits the field and steps to the booth, we take a moment to admire his body of work. What he meant to the community of New Orleans, post-Katrina. The family man he has become.
I’m certainly looking forward to his next endeavor. In the booth and off the field. We know one thing: Like everything else Drew has done his professional career, he will make it look like a “Brees”.