The NFL MVP Chronicles, Part I: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints QB
Brees came to the Saints in 2006 after a successful return to glory for the San Diego Chargers in 2004 and 2005. After suffering a shoulder injury in the final game of the 2005 season with San Diego, Brees signed a six-year contract with New Orleans to resurrect a franchise that had gone through nothing but losing and hard times.
On top of that, the city of New Orleans was still coping with the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina and needed a beacon of hope.
The signing of Brees was a major step in building a powerful, dangerous offense and changing the culture of an organization. Brees was the key component of a total makeover as the Saints had named former Cowboys offensive coordinator Sean Payton its head coach a few months earlier.
In the April draft, New Orleans drafted USC superstar running back Reggie Bush along with seventh round wide receiver Marques Colston out of Hofstra, who turned out to be a true diamond in the rough.
With the pieces in place Brees and the Saints embarked on a remarkable turnaround, highlighted by the reopening of the Superdome (Saints sold out every home game in 2006) for a magical Monday Night Football performance against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Saints finished 10-6, winning their first division title since 2000 and reached their first ever NFC Championship Game in franchise history. Though they lost, Brees broke every Saints single-season passing record (4,418 yards, 26 TDs, 96.2 rating) and finished in the top three in MVP voting behind former Charger teammate LaDanian Tomlinson, who would go on to win the award.
Following another explosive passing season in 2007, yet missing the playoffs, Brees has come back with a vengeance in 2008 and even though his team's chances of making the playoffs are extremely slim he is putting up numbers not seen since Dan Marino in 1984.
If he continues on his current pace, he will come very close to breaking Marino's single-season passing yardage record of 5084. Currently he is at 4,332 yards and 28 touchdowns, with two games to play against Detroit and Carolina.
Though some of his most prolific efforts have come in losses, Brees has proven to be one of the NFL's premier quarterbacks and has the body of work to be named this season's MVP.
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