Tag Archive | "drew brees"

NFL quarterbacks shattering records

Throughout the history of the National Football League the quarterback position has been one of great importance and in the minds of many NFL fans and the media the quarterback is usually the one to blame when things go awry.

While the game has traditionally focused on an even balanced attack consisting of passing, running and strong defense, recent statistics suggest this trend has shifted.

The passing game has exploded. 

During the 2009 season a total of ten quarterbacks passed for over 4,000 yards.  Matt Schaub of the Houston Texans compiled the most at 4,770 yards and nearly propelled his team into the NFL playoffs for the first time had it not been for several missed kicking opportunities earlier in the season. 

Also included in that elite list was Brett Favre of the Minnesota Vikings.  Though Favre had struggled with his decision on retirement earlier in the year, he led the Vikings to within one game of a Super Bowl appearance – a large part of which hinged on his arm. 

Among the other starters that exceeded 4,000 yards in 2009 are both Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts.  Not surprisingly, the Saints and Colts collided in the Super Bowl with Brees’ performance earning him the Super Bowl MVP. 

Interestingly enough, the leading rusher for the Super Bowl Champion Saints last season was running back Pierre Thomas with a total of only 793 yards.  A year earlier the Pittsburgh Steelers became Super Bowl Champ with another leading rusher with less than 1,000 yards in Willie Parker with only 791. 

The trend of recent NFL drafts supports this change in style of offense on the field.  In the 2009 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions drafted Matthew Stafford No. 1 overall with their first pick of the draft.  Placing the bank on the arm of their new quarterback, the Lions signed Stafford to $78 million, $41.7 million of that guaranteed, an NFL record. 

Later in the same draft, the New York Jets moved up with a trade and selected Mark Sanchez No. 5 overall.  Sanchez later signed a deal worth $50 million.  As the largest contract the Jets had offered in the history of the organization, the deal included $28 million in guarantees.  Sanchez became only the fourth rookie quarterback in NFL history to win his first playoff game. 

In the 2010 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams passed up the opportunity to take college defensive star Ndamukong Suh in favor of selecting Sam Bradford.  Although Bradford has yet to agree to a deal it is expected that the Rams will offer a deal that will likely surpass the record received by Stafford a year earlier.

Although teams are more likely than ever to place a premium on a young quarterback during the draft, it doesn’t always work as expected.  In 2007, the Oakland Raiders selected JaMarcus Russell with the No. 1 overall pick of the draft after Russell had displayed a substantial amount of talent throughout his days at LSU and was highly coveted following the NFL Combine. 

After a long holdout, Russell and the Raiders agreed to a contract worth $61 million with $32 million guaranteed.  As a starter for the Raiders, Russell would finish a dismal 7-18 before being released in May 2010.     

What does this mean in terms of the growing popularity of the sport?  The NFL leads the way among all professional sports organizations in television ratings and will receive a combined total of $20.4 billion from FOX, CBS, NBC and ESPN.  The current terms of the deal are until 2011 for FOX, CBS and NBC with ESPN maintaining rights through 2013.  Between the four, the contract of ESPN is the most valuable at $8.8 billion.  For the first time ever, the 2010 Draft was aired in prime-time and reported a 30 percent hike in ratings.

In 2003, the league launched the NFL Network.  Many argue that the network is among the most successful of the networks devoted to the four major professional sports.  In 2010, the network began airing Canadian Football League games and will air the Grey Cup.  Some criticize that the league is airing CFL games in order to stir further interest in a full-time team in Canada. 

Despite whatever motive may exist, the league has shown an interest in international exposure evidenced by playing a regular season game annually in both Toronto and London.  Closer to home, the league often makes its presence felt in San Antonio. 

While the success of all four sports leagues is apparent, only the NFL could move forward in operations without a marketing department.  When such a successful product explodes on the field boosting television ratings to levels previously not imagined the surge in viewers and in the cash flow destined to come from networks can only be expected to inflate further. 

 As long as the pigskin is being tossed for a record number of yards the NFL can continue to expect the popularity to follow.  And in this economy, it is nice to have advertisers that are looking for you!

 Used with permission of the author.

Cade Caldwell is an Atlanta-based sportswriter and contributor to Sports Climax.

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New Orleans Saints Celebrate in Mardi Gras-Style

NEW ORLEANS – Who Dat Nation celebrated in with their Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in Mardi Gras-Saints Paradestyle during a victory parade on Tuesday where an estimated 800,000 jammed the streets cheering as carnival floats carrying players, coaches and team owner Tom Benson cruised through the downtown area.

The party comes two days after ‘America’s team’ upset the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl to earn its first championship in franchise history. Music and confetti filled the air as quarterback Drew Brees and several other players tossed beads into the crowd.

The Mardi Gras-style spectacle included 10 floats and 12 marching bands, including one display that donned a giant replica of the Super Bowl Lombardi trophy.

The parade ended at the foot of Convention Center Boulevard where the players were greeted by Mayor Ray Na , Gov. Bobby Jindal and Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter. The politicians then toasted the organization with champagne.

The come from behind 31-17 victory Sunday brought the Lombardi Trophy to New Orleans after a 43-year wait.

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Saints’ Defense Batters Favre, Earns Trip to Miami

NEW ORLEANS – Who Dat in the Super Bowl? It’s Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints but it took overtime to get Photo: REUTERS/Sean Gardnerthere.

After being frustrated by a swarming Vikings defense most of the game, Drew Brees lead his offense down the field on his team’s first possession in overtime to set up a 40-yard game-winning kick by New Orleans kicker Garrett Hartley and claim the NFC Championship.

The 31-28 victory didn’t come easy for the Saints. Brees and the Saints offense lead the NFL with over 500 yards per game in the regular season but were swarmed by the Vikings defense from the start, struggling to finish with just 257 yards for the game, including overtime.

Some will say the game was won by a Saints’ blitz-heavy defense who pressured Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre from the start. Favre wasn’t officially sacked in the game but found himself flat on the turf on several occasions, taking several shots throughout the game including a few vicious hits early in the game.

Favre is a warrior and there’s a reason the 40-year-old slinger has a current record starting streak of over 300 games. Battered, he got back on his feet and lead the Vikings to touchdown drives on their first two possessions for a 14-7 lead.

Minnesota finished with 475 total yards but their demise was the turnovers. In all the Vikings fumbled the ball 6 times, losing 3 of them and Favre was intercepted twice including on a drive-ending play with 12 seconds left in regulation that took away an opportunity for Ryan Longwell to ice the win in regulation.

In what was expected to be a battle of the slingers, Favre finished the game 28-of-46 for 310 yards, 1 TD and 2INT while Brees was 17-of-31 for 197 yards, 3 TD and 0 INT. Favre who took a relentless physical beating compliments of  the aggressive Saints defense had to be helped off the field later in the game but returned with a limp after the Vikings’ medical staff evaluated the injury and wrapped his ankle.

Adrian Peterson who has taken the back seat to Favre’s passing game much of the season had a solid game with 25 carries for 122 yards and 3TD’s. He was responsible for 2 of the Vikings fumbles but both of those were recovered by purple jerseys.

The Saints will be making their first trip to the Super Bowl where they will face the Indianapolis Colts in Miami on February 7th.

Can the journey continue for Brees and his Saints? We’ll have to wait and see if the country will be saying “Who Dat with the Super Bowl crown!”

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