The quarterback announced his retirement on Sunday with a message on his Instagram page:
"After 20 years as a player in the NFL and 15 years as a Saint, it is time I retire from the game of football. Each day, I poured my heart & soul into being your Quarterback. Til the very end, I exhausted myself to give everything I had to the Saints organization, my team, and the great city of New Orleans. We shared some amazing moments together, many of which are emblazoned in our hearts and minds and will forever be a part of us. You have molded me, strengthened me, inspired me, and given me a lifetime of memories. My goal for the last 15 years was striving to give to you everything you had given to me and more.
"I am only retiring from playing football, I am not retiring from New Orleans. This is not goodbye, rather a new beginning. Now my real life's work begins!"
Brees has become synonymous with the city of New Orleans during his illustrious career and will go into the Hall of Fame as one of the best players in NFL history. He is a Super Bowl champion who won two Offensive Player of the Year awards and was selected to 13 Pro Bowls while throwing for 80,358 yards, 571 touchdowns and 243 interceptions from 2001 through 2020.
The Purdue product played for the San Diego Chargers for the first five years of his career before signing with the Saints and becoming a franchise icon.
The question now is where he ranks among the best quarterbacks in NFL history.
He belongs in the discussion among the best-ever based on the numbers alone. He is first on the league's all-time list in completions and passing yards while checking in at second for passing touchdowns behind only Tom Brady.
Being second to Brady will be a common theme for Brees soon, though, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signal-caller is only 1,154 passing yards and 364 completions behind him. Considering Brady just led the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl title and doesn't look to be slowing down any time soon, he will likely end his career first on those lists.
That, along with Brady's seven Super Bowl rings, makes him the unquestioned GOAT.
Unfortunately for Brees, the fact that he has just one Super Bowl title and never won a league MVP puts him behind more than just Brady. Peyton Manning won two Lombardi Trophies and five MVPs, while Joe Montana won four Super Bowls and two MVPs.
Both rank ahead of Brees in the all-time quarterback discussions, putting the Saints signal-caller in fourth at best.
And he may be keeping that spot warm for Aaron Rodgers, who has a Super Bowl title and three MVPs while playing during the same era as Brees. Rodgers is also still playing and very well could add another Lombardi Trophy with a Packers team that made the NFC Championship Game last season.
Still, Brees ends his career as one of the five best quarterbacks in NFL history.