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How Saints rank in quarterback play in Super Bowl era

A study from ESPN has the Saints in the upper echelon of QB play

NFL: Pro Bowl-NFC Practice Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s well-established by now that the New Orleans Saints don’t have the best franchise history. It took over 40 years to win a Super Bowl, and a lot of suffering and mediocrity led up to that zenith. That’s due in no small part to some brutal quarterback play over the franchise’s history.

According to rankings from ESPN’s Doug Clawson, however, the Saints’ quarterback history in the Super Bowl era isn’t all that bad. As it turns out, having one of the best quarterbacks ever for over a decade in Drew Brees can really boost your standing, even with a history riddled with poor play.

The Saints, according to Clawson’s criteria which features overall performance, peak performance and continuity, are actually the seventh BEST team in terms of quarterback play in the Super Bowl era, which began conveniently in 1966 (a year before the Saints were established in ‘67).

Brees’ inclusion was a godsend. Clawson said that before Brees was signed in 2006, the Saints would have ranked 24th. However, the criteria were perfectly laid out for him. Brees has been the Saints’ QB for 13 years (going on 14), he led the team to a Super Bowl, has broken nearly every passing record in existence and he’s still going. That’s a pretty solid run for one guy.

The Saints’ past QB history otherwise is a graveyard, with some of the highlights being Archie Manning, Bobby Hebert and Aaron Brooks. Lowlights include Richard Todd, Heath Shuler and the season where two different Billie Joes — Hobert and Tolliver — started multiple games.

While Saints fans are spoiled by their quarterback situation now, it doesn’t take much digging to think of when things were much, much worse in New Orleans. As Brees continues to play the twilight of his career, it’s hard not to think of what comes next. Will the Saints bridge the gap from Brees to the next generation behind the brilliance of Sean Payton? Or will they fall back into the basement of the league in quarterback play by waiting too long to find Brees’ heir apparent?

Only time will tell, but for the time being, the Saints have their eyes firmly focused on the 2020 season, which could prove to be Brees’ last shot.