After I opened the Amazon package it came in just weeks before Christmas, I stared long and hard at Jeff Duncan’s new book about Sean Payton and Drew Brees.
I didn’t catch myself staring at the photos of either man on the cover, though. I wasn’t even looking at bold font of the names of either New Orleans legend.
It was the subtitle that got me.
“The Men Who Built the Greatest Offense in NFL History.”
Seems a little embellished, no? I mean, really, I sat there and ran through the offenses in my head over the years. This has the smell of all the flavors involved with home-cooking, I thought.
Off the top of my head I’m thinking about the greatest show on turf (early 2000s Rams), or Peyton Manning’s offenses in both Indianapolis and Denver. What about that 2007 New England offense? That offense was (nearly) perfect.
But as great as those offenses were, have any lasted for a decade and a half? Many of those offenses you can narrow it down to one specific year.
For Payton and Brees, you could bring up the 2006 season when New Orleans led the league in yards per game. Or what about the the 2009 team that led the NFL in points per game? Heck, two years later the 2011 team averaged a mesmerizing 467.1 yards per game. And the 2018 team matched the 2009 Super Bowl team’s points per game mark just under a decade later. That kind of sustained success on one side of the football is uncommon.
The same man who wrote the book took a victory lap of sorts on Twitter on Christmas. This was the tweet from Duncan, “So five years after Drew Brees tied the NFL record for most TD passes in a game (7), Alvin Kamara ties the NFL record for TD runs in a game (6). I’d say the subtitle is accurate.”
Go on and strut, Jeff.
Kamara, by the way, now has 59 career touchdowns in his career, which puts him past both Mark Ingram and Deuce McAllister in that category.
It’s only fitting Kamara accomplished that feat in the same game Brees became the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for 80,000 yards in his career.
That’s why it continues to amaze me some will question the genius of Sean Payton. Is he stubborn? Sure. Is he even a troll at times? Giving the ball to Taysom Hill at the goal line instead of Kamara was hilarious for a multitude of reasons.
But there will be some who continue to take shots at Payton. That comes along with the territory, of course.
But after video emerged of Payton doing a celebratory dance in the locker room after the Saints produced 52 points and compiled 583 yards of offense, critics took to social media bringing up the Saints’ shortcomings in the postseason.
And I guess critics have a point. If you can light up the scoreboard in the regular season and fail to live up to that same standard in the playoffs, what’s the point, right? Well, the point is Payton has proved he has an offensive mind that could rival the greatest minds in football, and Brees has played at a legendary level for nearly two decades. That still means something even if luck hasn’t exactly been on the Saints’ side.
The clock is ticking on Brees’ one-of-a-kind career. We all know this, so the Saints have to make it count in this year’s postseason. But even if the Saints fall short of the ultimate prize with another Minneapolis Miracle or another blown pass interference, Duncan was still right.
Brees and Payton have built the greatest offense in NFL history.