Sunsetting Careers – Drew Brees Football Cards – It wasn’t too long ago that Philip Rivers announced his retirement, followed soon after by Tom Brady’s proclamation that his career was going to continue.

Speculation, after these two longstanding QB icons made their decisions known, turned to Drew Brees, still of the New Orleans Saints at the time. Having just turned 42, Brees was certainly at a point in his life where most who came before him had hung up their cleats, but, like Brady, there was something ageless about Brees. Yes, he had 20 years on his career and his production and starts were on the decline, but the NFL without the Dallas, TX native seemed like an impossibility to most.

Then came the official announcement, very heartwarmingly, made by his kids


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For many fans, the news wasn’t a surprise but it was still a bitter pill to swallow. Brees, after all had just assembled an eye-popping 9-3 record and sat just shy of 3,000 yards in the air while becoming the first all-NFL passer to exceed the 80,000 yard milestone. His completion rate sat at 70.5% in 2020, his sixth straight year of 70-or-better and second only to Aaron Rodgers in league play. Yes, he did not manage another successful playoff campaign, but so few QBs in the league today have even one Super Bowl appearance to their credit, let alone a coveted Championship ring.

And yet, while the drive to compete was surely alive and well inside Brees, there is little that he had left to accomplish. Not only did he hold a Super Bowl title, but he was also the final game’s MVP. Other individual accolades you ask? How about a trophy case that includes honors such as two NFL Offensive Player of the Year, one Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, one NFL Comeback Player of the Year awards and 13 Pro Bowl selections. He also leaves the game with, alongside the aforementioned yardage mark, the NFL records for most pass completions, highest single-season completion, most 5,000-yard seasons and several others.

In short, Brees was dominant, particularly once he left San Diego amid free agency to join the Saints in 2006. That first year alone, Brees led the league in passing yards (4,418), increasing his output from the year prior dramatically.

Hobbyists now have a complete “active player” collection to pursue, but it won’t be an easy one to finish. As of today, more than 13,500 cards have been indexed. While the number pales in comparison to that passing yard mark, that’s an enormous amount of safe storage any ambitious collector would need to dedicate to this legend.

Congratulations to Drew Brees on an outstanding football career!

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Jon Waldman
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