NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 26: Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after throwing a nine-yard touchdown pass to running back Darren Sproles #43 and breaks the single-season passing record in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Let me get this straight...
We just watched Drew Brees break Dan Marino's 27-year-old single-season passing yardage record on Monday night then had to deal with a few morons who incredulously tried to stain that meaningful moment, yet there's the possibility Brees may not even hold the new record when the season is actually over? You're telling me all that celebrating in New Orleans Monday night might have been meaningless and the incredibly historic season we've just watched Drew put together may only go down as the second best single-season passing performance by a quarterback?
Apparently, that's a possibility. Because Sean Payton might be doing some scoreboard watching this Sunday during the Saints game vs. Carolina. And if the Niners happen to build a healthy lead in their simultaneous game against the Rams, Payton's not afraid to pull Brees in favor of a little rest and relaxation before the playoffs. From his press conference yesterday:
...what we have to do is keep playing. The playoffs are close. How do we put ourselves in the best position to play well and put ourselves in an opportunity to win a championship. That's not always what is popular. Two years ago in 2009, a lot of people in this room criticized us for resting players at Carolina. It was what we needed to do as a team. You make decisions. They are not always right. You try to make them with the right things to help your team. Last night was one of those situations. This upcoming game will be one of those situations.
Meanwhile, up in New England, the Patriots are still fighting to lock up home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Which means that Tom Brady, who is only 190 yards behind Brees currently, is probably going to play and could potentially "pass" him up and become the new all-time single-season passing yards leader should Drew play only an unproductive half or so. Would you be okay with that? Because I certainly wouldn't. No sir, I don't like it.
There's no need to explain why resting starters is a good idea. I get it. I want to see the Saints win another Super Bowl just like everyone else and if this were any other year I would be all about the resting of starters. Of course that's only if San Francisco were really whooping the Rams and any chance of a comeback were near impossible because that second overall seed is still up for grabs and you simply never know what can happen.
But this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I highly doubt Drew is ever going to be in this position again. He's already got the NFL record, now he's got 60 more minutes to buy some time as king of the hill and, as it stands, defend himself. I know we'd never hear Drew lobby for something like this or put himself before his team, so I'm taking it upon myself to speak on his behalf. He's come so far and we've all been right there with him; I think we all want to see this to it's ultimate completion. So keep Drew out there this weekend, max protect his ass and let him finish strong.