A friend of mine told me that on the Dan Patrick Show the other day, the subject of great NFL quarterbacks came up and every other sentence out of Patrick's mouth was, "Peyton Manning and Tom Brady....Manning and Brady."
Turn on any national sports broadcast these days and you will find a similar refrain. All those ESPN commentators rarely mention the name Drew Brees when discussing the game's elite signal-callers.
The national media has largely ignored Brees, with ESPN's Mike Greenberg being one of the sports media's most egregious offenders. Greenberg, the poor man's Bob Costas, blurted out the other day, "Tom Brady is no doubt one of the two best QB's in football."
It's just a hunch on my part, but you can bet he doesn't consider Drew Brees the other best QB.
More evidence of the media's disregard for Brees: In the Aug. 2, 2010, issue of Sporting News, a special issue on quarterbacks, SN's Steve Greenberg did not mince any words.
Wrote Steve Greenberg, "Cowboys Pro Bowler Tony Romo makes the case that there are more "second-tier" quarterbacks, guys who might not define an era like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Brett Favre, but nevertheless play at a star level, than there used to be."
While Greeberg goes on to point out that he holds Brees in very high regard, he does not place him in the Brady/Manning category.
Is Brees in the Manning/Brady category?
"There's a list of mighty impressive (and fairly iconic) names to consider for that so called second tier: Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, Matt Hasselbeck, Carson Palmer. And, of course, Romo himself. All have multiple Pro Bowl selections and/or Super Bowl experience."
Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm not sure how anyone of sane mind can place any of the aforementioned quarterbacks in the same category as Super Bowl MVP Brees.
"He's (Brees) way up at the top," said former Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden on WWL Radio. "I don't want to make anybody mad because I'm an analyst [Monday Night Football.] I've got to do this full-time, but last I'd checked, he [Brees] beat Eli Manning. He beat Peyton Manning when all the chips were on the table. He beat Tom Brady."
"What do you want the guy to do?" asks Gruden, expressing the same frustration that Saints fans feel for the lack of national respect their QB gets.
Adds Gruden: "Two years ago, he threw for 5,000 yards. He doesn't have the prototypical size but I guarantee you this: when you can complete 70 percent of your passes in this league and get the kind of results that he's sustained in the last three or four years, he's amazing! I'd love to coach this guy."
In the recent Sporting News feature on Tony Romo, former Dallas Cowboys legendary QB Roger Staubach said, "I look at Tony (Romo) the same way I look at Peyton Manning: you just know, when he's on the field, there's a chance your team is going to win."
Added Staubach, "I think there are four or five (quarterbacks) I wouldn't go wrong with. Peyton Manning's great. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Tony Romo. He's (Romo) right up there with the best."
Romo is right up there with Brees? Oh really, Roger the Dodger?
Staubach is nearing his eighth decade on the planet and maybe his mind isn't working as well as it used to. We'll attribute that remark to the fact that Romo was sitting right next to him when he said it.
Romo never mentioned Brees once during the eight-page feature.
Now you can say that I'm just picking nits if you like, but ask most who consume a steady diet of sports journalism and they will tell you the same thing: rarely, if ever, is Brees mentioned in the same breath as Manning and Brady, or even Brett Favre.
And that's a damned shame considering that Brees has won the exact same number of Super Bowls as Manning and Favre: one each.
Well, who the hell knows, time will tell... but when the dust settles and the smoke of battle clears as those New Orleans preachers are fond of saying, we'll see who has more Super Bowl rings between Manning, Favre, Romo, and Brees.
I'll take my chances on Mr. Brees.
How 'bout you?