Like his new NFC South adversary, Drew Brees does not have much time left in his NFL career. The 41-year-old quarterback for the New Orleans Saints has led his team to three straight playoff berths, with each of them ending in painstaking defeat. Entering what’s expected to be the final year of his Hall of Fame career, Brees just sent a terrifying message to the rest of the NFL. And if the Saints live up to their potential, the 13-time Pro Bowler may just retire with a second Super Bowl ring.
Drew Brees is still searching for a second Super Bowl ring
For all of his prolific regular-season accomplishments, Drew Brees has failed to lead the Saints back to the Super Bowl. After winning a title in 2009, New Orleans has made the playoffs six times and has only advanced to one conference title game.
Perhaps no team has had such unfortunate luck in the postseason as the Saints. In 2017, their season ended on the Minneapolis Miracle play in which Stefon Diggs scored a 61-yard touchdown with no time remaining.
In 2018, the Saints came agonizingly close to earning a Super Bowl berth. However, the LA Rams kicked a field goal with 15 seconds remaining to force overtime. Greg Zuerlein then hit a 57-yarder to send New Orleans home.
Last year, a loaded Saints team that went 13-3 in the regular season once again lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Vikings. After staging a 10-point comeback to force overtime, New Orleans lost on a 4-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph that could have been flagged for offensive pass interference.
Brees sends a terrifying message to the rest of the NFL
Coming off three straight playoff defeats, Drew Brees had a chance to finish his career elsewhere. However, he signed a two-year, $50 million deal to remain in New Orleans. Ultimately, though, most expect the former Super Bowl MVP to retire after the 2020 NFL season.
In fact, Brees himself characterized this year as a “Super Bowl or bust” season while speaking with the media this week. He then sent a terrifying message to the rest of the NFL about his mindset heading into his 20th year in the league.
“I’m on borrowed time,” Brees said. “I’ve got nothing to lose. So I’m turning it loose and letting the chips fall where they may.”
Brees also touched upon the Saints’ three playoff losses that came down to the wire. In a demonstration of his leadership and maturity, he explained how defeat has taught the team an important lesson.
“I know that everything happens for a reason, and in most cases, failure is your best teacher,” Brees said. “That’s the approach I’ve always taken, and that’s the approach this team has taken. And I feel like we’ve found a way to garner strength from each one of these moments over these last few years, and it’s only made us better.”
Will the Saints finally live up to their Super Bowl potential?
The Saints may have watched their last three seasons end in disappointing fashion, but they still rank as one of the top Super Bowl contenders in the NFL. New Orleans boasts a wealth of talent on both sides of the ball that should position the team for a deep playoff run.
Drew Brees headlines an offense full of premier weapons. Michael Thomas just set the NFL reception record and should continue to put up monster numbers. Alvin Kamara has plenty to prove after signing a lucrative contract extension on Saturday. Plus, Brees has two reliable veteran targets in tight end Jared Cook and free-agent addition Emmanuel Sanders.
The key for New Orleans will be how the defense plays. Up front, the Saints have one of the NFL’s premier defensive lineman in Cameron Jordan. Fellow former first-round picks Sheldon Rankins, Malcom Brown, and Marcus Davenport have to step up to put heat on Tom Brady, Teddy Bridgewater, and Matt Ryan.
An improved pass rush will only help a secondary that should be one of the league’s best. Malcolm Jenkins returned to the team that drafted him more than a decade ago. He solidifies a unit that also includes Marshon Lattimore, Janoris Jenkins, and Marcus Williams.
Of course, the Saints will have to contend with Brady and a loaded Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense if they want to make a Super Bowl run. Let’s see if Drew Brees and his teammates finally live up to their potential in 2020. If not, the Hall of Famer will retire without a second Super Bowl ring.