Drew Brees: The Marino of His Generation

Boris GodzinevskiCorrespondent IIFebruary 10, 2009

You could call this label after Tarkenton or Tittle if you want. Every generation has the same: a QB, or a RB, etc. who was elite and statistically a God in the regular season, but come playoff time, whether by team or by choking effort, just wasn't able to get it done.

Now, yes, Brees does not have the TD factor yet, and some may say a better comparison would be to Fouts, a QB who never even made a Super Bowl (two Conference Championship games is what he got).

Here's the problem with that: On top of the Hall of Famers on Fouts' teams, Dan WAS a choke artist in the playoffs, not by lack of team work, he just plain sucked. I suggest you watch all his playoff games: He played in seven and threw five picks in two of them. Seriously, watch the games, not at all a big time QB.

But this just adds to the split between the regular season and the postseason; they really are two different seasons (hence, why there should be a playoff MVP ).

I will compare Marino and Brees to the present day, not saying Brees can't win a Super Bowl, but right now it doesn't look great.

One of the hallmarks of the regular season stats is league leader in passing yards, Marino led the league five times his first 10 seasons. Brees has led the league twice his first eight seasons. Upon closer look, one should be asked, how many QBs have thrown for 4,300+ yards in three seasons? The feat alone has only been done 34 times, guess the number? It's four—Marino, Manning, Warner and Brees.

Now, let's make it even more a select list, QBs with 4,400+ yards in three seasons? Two—Marino and Brees, although honorable mention for Manning for having a season coming three yards short of 4,400. Dan " The Man " actually did it in four seasons, one of only two guys, the other being Fouts, to have two 4,700+ yard seasons, but Fouts never had a 5,000 yard season, Brees has.

So that's yards, what about Completions? Brees has yet to surpass Marino's six-time league leads, but Brees does hold the single season record, and recently became not only the first QB to have two 400+ completion seasons, but consecutively no less.

So what does that bring us to? Well I'll stop chipping away at the tree. Both Brees and Marino have lacked consistent defense for most of their careers. How have the Saints won games? Shootouts. How did the Dolphins of the 80's and early 90's win? Shootouts. Don Shula may hold the all time career record for wins, but he never did build a solid defense around Marino that stood for more than a couple seasons. Both teams have relied on their passing game, and both Brees and Marino delivered. Plus, even with those monster TD seasons, Marino and Brees have the close averages in most categories:

TD's per start


Brees- 1.58

Completions per start

Marino- 20.69

Brees- 22.01

Yards a start

Marino- 255.67

Brees- 247.71


Keeping in mind Brees has played less than half the starts Marino had, and though he is significantly behind in TDs, Brees is more consistent in his yearly output and will probably in the long run even out if he starts 200 games.

Now, here's a tip, remember how I pointed out Fouts playing with Hall of Famers? They were on offense. Brees, like Marino, holds no promising Hall of Famers on his team.

Reggie Bush? He has no chance, and he's more a special teams/WR than he is a RB. Again, he isn't making the Hall. Sorry, too many injuries and nowhere near as productive as say, Faulk?

It certainly seems difficult for Brees to surpass Peyton Manning, but remember Manning has played four more full seasons than Brees, and Brees has already in terms of yardage put up better statistical single seasons.

Another thing to notice is the INTs, Brees seems to have the same pattern as Marino in INTs. Certainly not a small amount, but not league leading. Favre-like, but Brees, like Marino, will probably lead the league in INTs one down year.

Now certainly Peyton Manning only has one Super Bowl, but that's why he's the Steve Young of his generation. Both Young and Manning had great O-Lines and great receivers with a fair running game. Ah, notice THAT comparison?

The current prospects of the Saints winning a Super Bowl are the same as the Cardinals at the beginning of the season, unless something comes straight out the woodwork. The Saints don't look ready to make a drive, maybe ONE?

That would certainly be enough to wipe Brees from this labeling I've given him here, but here he stands.

Remember, there is a fine line between the likes of Marino and the likes of Fouts and Moon, Fouts and Moon were playoff chokers, plain and simple, with good offenses.

Marino, and him definably, had little defense to rely on, decent offense with no standout stars, and had to carry his team and did.

Welcome Brees, and like Marino, you'll probably end with a .500 playoff record, not of your own fault, but because you just can't do it all by yourself.