Before Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady left the Superdome on Sunday, he went to say goodbye to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who is expected to retire after this season.
Brady visited with Brees and played some football with his children before departing after the Bucs’ 30-20 Divisional Round win over the Saints per NFL Network’s James Palmer. The video went viral on Twitter with more than a million views.
Brady also told Brees’ son, Callen, to “be nice to your sister” as he left according to ESPN’s Jenna Laine.
Brady talked about his friendship with Brees in a Jan. 14 press conference before the Divisional Round showdown. The 40-something quarterbacks began competing against each other in 1999.
“I always just kept up with him and have gotten to know him somewhat well over the years,” Brady said. “I just think so much of him as a person and as a player.”
The Bucs quarterback didn’t say if he thought Brees would retire when asked by FOX Sports’ Erin Andrews at the end of the game broadcast. Brees didn’t confirm retirement plans either.
“I’m gonna give myself an opportunity to think about the season, think about a lot of things, just like I did last year, and make a decision,” Brees said according to ESPN’s Mike Triplett.
Brady and Brees first met on the field in college during the 1999 season when Brady quarterbacked Michigan and Brees led Purdue. Michigan won that day when Brady threw for two touchdowns while Brees finished with a touchdown pass.
“I’ve always had a great amount of respect for him going all the way back to his Purdue days,” Brady said in the Jan. 14 press conference. “My roommate when I first got to the Patriots was from Purdue and was really good friends with Drew.”
The future Hall-of-Famers met for the first time as pros when the then Brees-led San Diego Chargers downed Brady’s New England Patriots 21-14 according to NBC Sports’ Mary Ormatiga. Brady threw two touchdown passes versus Brees’ lone touchdown, but the Chargers picked off Brady twice.
Brees and Brady met another four times before 2020, largely because Brees switched conferences going from the Chargers to the Saints as a free agent in 2006. The quarterbacks met three times this season.
They’ve chased records along the way. Brees leads in all-time passing yards with 80,358 while Brady ranks second at 79,204. Brady leads in all-time touchdown passes with 581 while Brees trails in second at 571. Brady, of course, leads in Super Bowl rings by a mile with six compared to Brees’ lone ring.
“I know what it takes to do what he’s doing (and) he knows what it takes to do what I’m doing,” Brady said on Jan. 14. “I think there’s just a lot of mutual respect.”
Competitive “Old” Men
Both Brady, 43, and Brees, 42, took their best shots at beating time in recent years and took in jest the humor regarding playing into their 40s among players half their ages.
“He’s a lot younger than me — he’s 18 months younger than me,” Brady quipped on Jan. 14. “Eighteen months ago, I felt pretty good, so I’ve got a little advanced age on him — and experience. I’m hanging in there. He’s had a terrific year.”
Social media humor abounds regarding their ages, but Brady particularly joined in the fun leading up to the Divisional Round showdown with the Saints. After Olympian David Valencia quipped on Twitter that Brady’s games belong on the History Channel, Brady went to town with a meme depicting himself and Brees as old men. It only grew as Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski suggested narration for the meme, which actor and comedian Frank Caliendo took care of.
Caliendo guessed correctly at the next opponent being “that nice young man, Aaron Rodgers” in the narration. The 36-year-old MVP candidate led the Green Bay Packers to the NFC Championship game with a 32-18 victory on Jan. 16.
Brady will look to make history in the NFC title game and help the Bucs become the first team to play in its home stadium for the Super Bowl. The Bucs defense will need to contain “that nice young man” in the process.