The New Orleans Saints did the unthinkable last Sunday as they took down arguably the best quarterback ever and gave a city was starving for a Super Bowl an early start to Mardi Gras.
The first player to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the Saints was their quarterback and the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player Drew Brees.
Brees has been a leader on and off the field for “Who Dat” nation ever since he arrived in New Orleans four years ago and this game was no different. The Saints emotional leader completed 32 of his 39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns.
His partnership with the New Orleans Saints seems to be pure destiny, but how close was this dream scenario from never happening at all?
It all began on Dec. 31, 2005 when the San Diego Chargers faced off against the Denver Broncos. Brees — who started for the Chargers at the time — attempted to jump on a fumble when a Bronco defensive lineman landed on him and tore his labrum.
The injury brought Brees to Dr. James Andrews who had to use 12 dissolvable staples, the most he has ever used in surgery, to repair Brees’s shoulder.
After the injury the Chargers decided they would move forward with Philip Rivers and Brees was left to look for a new home.
The only two teams that were willing to take a chance on Brees were the Saints and the Miami Dolphins. Brees’s first choice was the Dolphins, but Nick Saban, then head coach of the Dolphins, was not optimistic about the surgery and opted instead to trade for Daunte Culpepper.
Culpepper flopped in Miami during the 2006 season and with Culpepper went Saban. Saban left the NFL and returned to the college game after that season to become the head coach at the University of Alabama, who just won the 2009 National Championship.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins, who haven’t had a great quarterback since Dan Marino, have gone through eight starters since Brees signed with the Saints.
Their lack of an elite quarterback led the Dolphins to introduce the Wildcat craze that is spreading through the league. If the Dolphins had a 4,000-yard passer on their squad it would have been less likely for the Ronnie Brown to touch the ball as much and the Wildcat may still be a college thing.
The irony of the whole situation is that as good as the Saints look for making arguably the greatest free agency signing of all-time, Brees wasn’t even their first choice.
Sean Payton had just been announced head coach of the New Orleans Saints in 2006 as Brees sat out there in the free agent pool.
Payton, who previously was the assistant head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, tried to acquire a former undrafted free agent quarterback out of Eastern Illinois University from his old boss Jerry Jones.
Payton’s request was denied by Jones and the Cowboys kept that quarterback — you may know him as Tony Romo. Romo went on to supplant Drew Bledsoe as the starter of the Cowboys and has been scrutinized every since by the fans in Big D for not being able to perform in the playoffs.
After all of that drama and both sides being stood up, Drew Bress ended up in the Big Easy, either by fate or by voodoo magic, and the organization put the S back in Saints, which also allowed Saint fans to take their heads out of those hideous paper bags.
It all could have never happened — thank Brees that it did.