Drew Brees became the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdown passes with a five-yard pass in the left corner of the endzone to tight end Josh Hill against the Indianapolis Colts on December 16, 2019, giving him 540 in his illustrious career at the time and helping him to pass Peyton Manning for first all-time.
But while Brees has been garnering all of the headlines, not to mention all of the Super Bowl titles (one, to be exact, but still impressive) for the Saints, the franchise’s other historical signal callers have been mostly forgotten.
They’ve been forgotten not just because of Brees’ heroics, but also for more practical reasons: most of their careers simply don’t hold a candle to the former Purdue legend, or most modern day QB’s records and statistics, for that matter.
But all five guys on this list could really play, and some had more success than others.
The following is a list of the all-time Saints leaders in passing yards after Brees…Do you remember any of these guys?
1. Archie Manning-
The father of Peyton and Eli, Archie Manning was an Ole Miss legend and College Football Hall-of-Famer who never quite reached his potential in the NFL.
But he still ranks as the franchise’s second best QB and helped lead them out of the NFL abyss.
Manning’s overall stats were respectable, but he wasn’t the most efficient QB of all-time by a long-shot: he finished with a 55.4 completion percentage, 21,734 yards, and 85 TDs to 75 INTs over 10 years and one final game in 1982 with the Saints, but he remained productive despite being sacked 340 times over the course of his career.
New Orleans’ run of success with Head Coach Sean Payton and Brees has overshadowed the fact that the franchise was once a complete and utter laughingstock.
But Manning helped lay the groundwork for a competitive team, going 7-9 in 1978 and 8-8 in 1979.
2. Aaron Brooks-
Coming in at number two on the list, Brooks had a ton of potential but could never quite get over the hump with New Orleans before being released after a 3-13 season in 2005.
With a rifle arm and plus athleticism, Brooks put up solid numbers with the Saints in his short (2000-2005) stint with the team, amassing 19,156 yards and 120 touchdowns against 84 interceptions on a completion percentage of 56.4%.
He was an explosive player and fun to watch, but never quite lived up to his potential.
3. Bobby Joe Hebert-
Hebert made the Pro Bowl in 1993, but with a career TD/INT ratio of 135–124, he wasn’t exactly the best fit for a team loaded with defensive talent that may have done better with a game manager type.
He led the Saints offense from 1985-1992, but the team lost in the Wild Card round of the playoffs four times during that stretch.
Nicknamed the “Cajun Cannon,” he did manage to make things interesting.
Watch highlights of Hebert and even a couple of star QBs who made their own brief appearances with the franchise in the video below, from the YouTube channel Saints Highlights:
4. Jim Everett-
Another in a long line of Saints QBs with poor TD to INT ratios, Everett went 60 to 48 over his career with New Orleans in three years at QB and managed to impress with a 61% completion percentage.
He had a solid career but considering his overall talent and prototypical size at 6-foot-5, he didn’t quite measure up to expectations.
5. Billy Kilmer-
We hate to beat a dead horse here, but what is it with Saints QBs and their TD/INT ratios?
Kilmer went 152 to 146 over the course of his career, which included four mediocre years with the Saints. His placement on this list just goes to show the dearth of overall QB success for the franchise (but not necessarily talent).
Alcohol problems robbed him of much of his potential, along with an incident prior to joining the Saints during which his leg fell asleep and he drove off the Bayshore Freeway into the San Francisco Bay, fracturing his leg.
Kilmer did manage to get back on track 1972 Pro Bowl year with the Washington Redskins.
Altogether, the above five QBs account for 427 career touchdowns with the Saints, 34 less than Brees as of the writing of this article.
Most NFL franchises are lucky to have even one QB of Brees’s caliber, but even taking that into consideration these statistics are especially eye-opening and illustrate just how valuable and rare true franchise quarterbacks are in the NFL.
Do you have any fond memories of the players above? Any frustrating memories? Let us know in the comments section of our Facebook page here.