Take a look at Drew Brees' resume even before Super Bowl XLIV, and you can't help but come away impressed.
AP Offensive Player of the Year Award?
NFL single-season records for completions and completion percentage?
Brees owns a 5,000-yard season and has passed for more than 4,300 yards in each of his four seasons in New Orleans. He has led the NFL in passing touchdowns in each of the past two years and has ranked in the top two in passing yards per game in each of the past four seasons.
The only things left to validate all of these tremendous achievements are a Super Bowl ring and a possible Super Bowl MVP.
Check and double check.
Even as the Saints marched to a 13-0 start, Drew Brees was still considered by many to be in a class just a step below elite. It was Peyton Manning and Tom Brady at the top, and then Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Donovan McNabb, and others just below them.
What Super Bowl XLIV did for Brees was push him to the very top of today's NFL quarterbacks.
Brees has as many rings as Manning; and Brady, like Manning, lost his last Super Bowl.
Having turned 31 last month, Brees likely has six or seven more seasons to catapult himself into more exclusive company, going from one of the best quarterbacks today to one of the best all time.
Take a look at the statistics.
He currently ranks 33rd on the all-time passing yardage list with 30,646. He needs roughly 10,000 yards to pass Joe Montana for 10th place.
Of the quarterbacks ranked in the top 11 in all-time yardage, seven are already in the Hall of Fame, and Brett Favre and Manning will be there five years from the day they retire.
If you conservatively project Brees' numbers during the next six years at 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns per season, Brees will end up with 54,646 yards and 352 touchdowns and rank fourth all time in each category.
He will be better than John Elway, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly in terms of pure passing numbers, and he already has more rings than the latter two.
Brees can add his name to a short list of quarterbacks if he earns a second ring.
Ten quarterbacks have started and won at least two Super Bowls. Eight of them are eligible for the Hall of Fame, and only Jim Plunkett has yet to be elected.
While we can't put him in Canton just yet, his win in Super Bowl XLIV went a long way in making his case.