Buy or Sell: Drew Brees, A.D., the Oilers
Welcome back to another round of Buy or Sell. This week, RahimAli, Mickayeen and I are taking a look at whether the greatest quarterback of all-time plays for the New Orleans Saints, whether a different New Orleans-based athlete can step up his game enough to challenge for the NBA’s MVP, and whether the young phenom Connor McDavid can turn around his team’s fortune in the 2018-19 NHL season.
RahimAli: Drew Brees* is the Greatest Quarterback of All-Time.
*Brees is only 201 passing yards away from overtaking Peyton Manning from the top of the list of career passing yards.
Cullen: That’s a hard sell. As great as Brees has been since he arrived in New Orleans, including winning the Super Bowl and breaking (or about to break) numerous passing records, he doesn’t have the number of Super Bowl rings to be in the discussion of greatest of all-time. He’s definitely great, a surefire Hall of Famer when the time comes, but he doesn’t compare to guys like Joe Montana, Manning or Tom Brady.
Passing records aren’t what they used to be. The NFL is now an offense-driven league where the referee’s main mandate is to protect the quarterback, the star of the franchise, the face of the team. Brees, while he suffered a horrific injury on his last play during his time with the San Diego Chargers, has greatly benefited from that. And so his numbers are inflated. It used to mean something to throw for 400 yards in a game; 3,000 yards in a season; 50,000 yards in a career. No longer.
While Brees is a lock to break Manning’s all-time passing yards record on Monday night, it’s not a lock that he won’t be passed by a quarterback playing today. As much as I’m keen on Patrick Mahomes II, I’m not thinking about him. I’m thinking about Detroit’s Matthew Stafford. And Stafford, currently without a playoff win and only 61-68 in his career, most assuredly does not belong anywhere close to the “Greatest QB of All-Time Conversation” and most certainly does not belong in the Hall of Fame.
Mickayeen: So I’m gonna have to sell on Drew Brees being the greatest QB of all time. This question is obviously very subjective to bias and what people perceive as being most important, whether what matters most is stats or rings or the “eye test” or whatever else.
For me, I’ll take a combination of those things. Rings matter because it shows that you can lead your team to the promised land and deliver (rare exceptions are guys like Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer, who had legendary defenses). Rings, however important, are and will always be a team accomplishment, so I don’t weigh rings that heavily. Stats can be deceiving, but they obviously count when comparing two players in the same era. When I think of greatest of all time, I think about who I would draft if all things were equal and every single player was just starting their career.
With that in mind, Brees might crack the top ten, but he certainly doesn’t belong even in the top five. In my book, the top five are: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, John Elway, Joe Montana, and Dan Marino. I would even put Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers before Brees for sure. So the highest Brees could make it for me is eighth, and I don’t see him moving ahead of anyone I have on the list. Don’t get me wrong, I am taking nothing away from Brees. He’s amazing and is one of the greatest of all time, just will never be THE greatest.
Cullen: Anthony Davis Will Finish in the Top 3 for the 2018-19 MVP
RahimAli: I’m buying that Davis will be Top 3. With the way the NBA runs nowadays, it’s mostly a focus on “what have you done for me.” With all the team’s looking to be super teams, it leaves the door open for those guys who aren’t on a super team, but still manages to lead his team into the playoffs. Last year, Davis led the Pelicans to the 6th seed and a sweep over the 3rd-seeded Portland Trail Blazers. He will once again be looking to lead his team into the playoffs. Let’s not forget, he doesn’t have any superstar players alongside him and he still puts up the numbers we’re used to seeing.
Mickayeen: [This question] is a tough one for me. I’ll hedge a bit and say that barring injury, he will finish top three in MVP voting. I think LeBron James, by virtue of being in LA, will not have the “voter fatigue” he experienced the last five seasons or so and will join Davis in the top three.
I think the voter fatigue will probably fall to whoever on the Warriors has the best year, so I don’t think any of them get there. James Harden finally got his MVP, so voting will cool down for him.
I’m thinking the other joining LeBron and Davis will be Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis, rightly so, has garnered a lot of attention as the next big superstar of the league, and he will have a tremendous year and get a lot of attention as well. As for Davis, he has always put up monster numbers when healthy, but his team hasn’t really been there around him. I think the Pelicans will make it back to the playoffs, which will be the deciding factor of him getting enough votes to end up in the top three.
Mickayeen: Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers Will Bounce Back from a Disappointing 2017-18 Season and Return to the Playoffs
Cullen: I’m going to buy the Oilers bouncing back from their underwhelming 2017-18 season, but sell them making it back to the playoffs.
Look, Connor McDavid is incredible. He’s one of the best players in the NHL, a superstar at only age 21. For the past two seasons he’s led the league in points. In 2016-17, that equated a playoff appearance.
Last year? Not so much, as the Oilers finished sixth in Pacific with a mere 78 points. More worrisome: despite McDavid’s 108 points (8 more than he had the year before, mind you), the team still finished with a -29 in goal differential. Ownership, though, decided to keep around both coach Todd McLellan (with some new assistants) and general manager Peter Chiarelli. That’s rare in the NHL, a league that likes to churn out head coaches and executives like it’s going out of style. In response, Chiarelli managed a pretty decent offseason for the cap-strapped (his fault, of course) squad. There wasn’t a star acquired, but the moves were solid–solid enough to get the Oilers and McDavid back into contention, but not solid enough to get them back to the playoffs.
RahimAli: I buy the Oilers bouncing back. Although I think that McDavid will continue to be the great player he is at just 21, the Oilers are in arguably the hardest division. Though they may bounce back and have a better record then last year, they could very well be on the outside looking in. We do expect to see the Pacific division have at least four to five teams make the playoffs, but the Oilers won’t be one. I believe they do finish with a record of more than 40 wins and be close to the playoffs, but fall short on points.
What do you guys think? Does Brees deserve G.O.A.T. status? Will the ‘Brow take home the Association’s top individual prize? Will the Oilers get back to the playoffs, or will the slide continue? Let us know in the comments!