Skip to main content

Saints News | New Orleans Saints |

NFC South boasts one of the best ever collection of QBs in 2020

Super Bowl champs, Super Bowl MVPs, regular-season MVPs in the group

Before a single play has been called, snap has been taken, pass has been thrown or game has been won in the NFL in 2020, know this:

This season will be known as the one in which the NFC South Division arguably boasted the best ever collection of quarterbacks.

Best. Ever.

There never has been a more accomplished group of quarterbacks – New Orleans' Drew Brees, Tampa Bay's Tom Brady, Atlanta's Matt Ryan and Carolina's Teddy Bridgewater – to open a season in the same division, largely made so because of the addition of Brady.

Sure, Bridgewater's resume by far is the lightest in the quartet, partly because his career was derailed by a devastating knee injury that essentially sidelined him for two seasons, and then helped lead to two seasons as a backup. His career passing yards (7,652) amount to a good season-and-a-half of Brees or Brady in their primes.

But the U-hauls of accolades that follow the top three more than compensate for any production that Bridgewater lacks at present.

There's Brees, entering his 20th season as the winningest quarterback (132-84) in franchise history for the Saints (he has 163 victories overall, fourth-most in NFL history), a five-time All-Pro and 12-time Pro Bowler who led the team to victory as the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLIV.

Brees owns more than a handful of NFL records, including passing yards (77,416), passing touchdowns (547), completion percentage (67.6), 5,000-yard seasons (five), 30-plus passing touchdown seasons (10) and games with five-plus passing touchdowns (10).

Having helped guide the Saints to 37 victories and three consecutive division titles the last three years, Brees only seems to have gotten more efficient over time: 82 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions from 2017-19, while completing 1,031 of 1,403 passes (73.5 percent).

And now, he's the second-most acclaimed quarterback in the division.

Brady ascends to the top rung when it comes to skins on the wall. And, in truth, he actually has enough skins to cover the walls of a museum.

When it comes to raw passing numbers, he's second all-time to Brees in yards (74,571) and touchdown passes (541). But the NFL never has seen a bigger, better winner than Brady, the king of Roman numerals.

In his 20 seasons with the Patriots, New England won six Super Bowls (LIII, LI, XLIX, XXXIX, XXXVIII, and XXXVI), Brady was Super Bowl MVP four times, and the Patriots advanced to the Super Bowl three other times.

And the three-time regular-season MVP has 219 regular-season wins, topping the all-time list in that category, too.

In most other divisions, Ryan's accomplishments would top the charts. Atlanta's first-round draft pick (No. 3 overall, in 2008) is a former NFL MVP (2016) and four-time Pro Bowler who led the Falcons to a Super Bowl (LI, a loss to Brady and New England).

He's Atlanta's all-time leader in passing yards (51,186, 10th in NFL history and 290 short of passing John Elway for ninth), touchdown passes (321, 11th in league history and 22 shy of overtaking Fran Tarkenton in 10th place), passer rating (94.6, 11th all-time) and wins (109, 14th overall).

To that mix, Bridgewater has been added. After winning all five of his starts with the Saints last season when Brees was injured, Bridgewater has appeared in 44 NFL games (34 starts), and has 38 touchdowns to go along with 25 interceptions.

But last season, in his first meaningful playing time since his second season in 2015 – after missing all of 2016 and all but the regular-season finale of 2017 because of his knee injury – the 2015 Pro Bowler threw for 1,384 yards and nine touchdowns, with two interceptions, and started five games with New Orleans.

"This may be one of the best divisions in NFL history right now," Saints defensive back Justin Hardee Sr. said. "It's crazy. It's really loaded and it'll be exciting.

"We've been the champs three years in a row. I know we're going to work even harder to remain that, because that's what those guys are aiming for. But, best believe, that's what we're aiming for. It's going to be so much more exciting because I know we're going to work just that much harder because everybody's coming for that, everybody wants to be that division leader to get into the playoffs. (And) everybody wants to be the No. 1 seed."

Everyone wants the No. 1 seed, and everyone believes they have the quarterback to help them achieve that goal.

There's legitimate reason to feel that way in a division that, possibly, comprises the most accomplished group of quarterbacks ever assembled.

Related Content