ZINIO logo

Sports Illustrated Commemorative for Drew Brees' Retirement

Sports Illustrated Commemorative for Drew Brees' Retirement

SI celebrates the retirement of Drew Brees and highlights his career accomplishments.

United States
Maven Coalition Inc.

in this issue

5 min
a regular legend

DREW BREES’S transcendent pro football career will be defined by numbers, so many numbers, because the digits he collected are way too staggering to ignore: 80,358 passing yards, 571 touchdown throws, 67.7% completion rate, 20 seasons spent dissecting NFL defenses as the premier surgical QB, not just of an era but of all time. He’ll be tagged, too, for winning only one Super Bowl, as if historically great quarterbacks can just snap their fingers and collect rings. I’ll remember Brees, though, not just for the records he collected with an assassin’s ruthlessness, but also for how damn grounded he was in the most abnormal of ecosystems, the alternate universe of NFL stardom. When I interviewed him for a 2018 Sports Illustrated cover story, he invited me to his son’s bounce-house birthday…

3 min
parting words

Matt Ryan Quarterback, Falcons Twice a year, for 13 years, I knew I was going against one of the best to ever do it. Drew not only raised the play of his teammates, but his rivals as well. Congrats on a hell of a career and best of luck in retirement. Rod Woodson Hall of Fame cornerback Congratulations Drew on a great career and on your new journey! From one Boilermaker to another, Boiler Up! See you in Canton. Michael Thomas Wide receiver, Saints You make the game fun. You make the game real. You set the standard every day no matter if it was my rookie year or just this past season. You always showed up and I witnessed it every day. It encouraged me and made me want to catch every pass you…

14 min
mark of distinction

THE FUZZY brown birthmark on quarterback Drew Brees’s right cheek approximates the size, shape and texture of a small woolly-bear caterpillar. For the first 19 years of Brees’s life, the birthmark invited occasional wide-eyed shock, a lot of harmless derision and more than a little humor, but nothing beyond that. It was there on Jan. 15, 1979, when Chip and Mina Brees named their newborn son after Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson. On first viewing his son, Chip recoiled at the sight of the brown patch, and Mina wondered if she had caused it when she fell on her right side while running on an icy footpath not long before delivering Drew. “That’s where an angel kissed you,” Mina would tell him as he and the birthmark grew up together,…

15 min
who will take drew?

THERE IS no sound quite like the trilling of a telephone on draft day, a beautiful noise with the power to transform anxiety into fulfillment. When the call came for Drew Brees at 3:30 that Saturday afternoon, the former Purdue quarterback was washing dishes in his kitchen, trying to distract himself from the torture of waiting. The cordless handset chirped twice before Brees’s girlfriend, Brittany Dudchenko, snatched it off the living-room floor and shouted, “Drew, the phone’s ringing!” On the television screen disembodied voices informed viewers that the Chargers were next on the draft clock, with the first pick of the second round, the 32nd overall. The room became a still life. This is how the waiting ends. Nearly 16 weeks after playing his final college game, Brees would at last…

5 min
charged up

HE’S THE guy who goes on flipping through his magazine when the airplane hits heavy turbulence, the dude who casually takes cover in a doorway when the earthquake strikes. For nearly a year we’ve been hearing that Drew Brees, the Chargers’ 23-year-old quarterback, is preternaturally calm in times of crisis, and the theory was put to its sternest test in his Week 6 game against the Chiefs. With 2:24 left in the game, San Diego trailed Kansas City by six points. Brees entered the huddle with no timeouts remaining and 71 yards standing between him and NFL adulthood. “Let’s get it done,” he told his teammates, flashing a sly grin. “You know we’re going to win this game.” Never mind that Brees had already thrown two ugly interceptions, part of a giveaway-fest…

8 min
unwanted, and on fire

HOURS AFTER a 42–14 rout of visiting Oakland on Halloween, Chargers quarterback Drew Brees sat in a private dining room of a restaurant, surrounded by family and friends chattering over platters of chicken wings and crab cakes, burgers and fries. As they talked, Brees watched a nearby television screen, on which Chicago rookie QB Craig Krenzel was leading the Bears to victory over San Francisco. Brees turned to his father, Chip, and asked, “Did you ever think the Bears believed that Craig Krenzel would be their quarterback right now?” Chip just smiled, leaving his son’s question, so loaded with irony, unanswered. Did you ever think… Is there a better motto for this unpredictable NFL season? No team exemplifies that more than San Diego. Because really, did you ever think that arguably…