One of the best marriages in NFL history is heading into its ninth year. New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees have now been together since they both arrived in New Orleans in 2006, rewriting several league records along the way.
When asked about that partnership, Payton said he and Brees were just reflecting the other night on how quickly the time has passed.
“The continuity of having someone like Drew, having him as our quarterback, has been significant, not just as a player but as a leader. Someone that each week is ready to go,” Payton said. “And you know, just last night we were sitting at the rookie show just talking about the various years and where we’re at now. And it kind of goes by pretty quick. It doesn’t seem like nine, I know that.
“But I don’t think in our game as coaches and players you take any season for granted, or any practice. Because I don’t want to use the word fragile, but it’s a profession that’s fleeting. And he’s been a huge part of us building the success we’ve been able to enjoy and hopefully look forward to.”
Among many other accomplishments during their time together, Brees has thrown for 5,000 yards four times -- including a NFL-record 5,476 in 2011. No other quarterback in league history has reached 5,000 more than once. The entire offense set the record for yards in a season that year (7,474). And Brees also holds the NFL record for completion percentage in a season (71.2 in 2011) and consecutive games with a TD pass (54).
Since 2006, Brees leads all NFL passers with 38,733 passing yards and 283 passing touchdowns.
And, oh by the way, they won a Super Bowl together after the 2009 season -- a feat they’d love to recapture.
Payton’s reflection Wednesday brought to mind the image of coach and player sitting next to each other on the back of a golf cart, cradling the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl XLIV and talking about trying to soak in the moment as much as possible.