Op-Ed: The ‘Surreal’ Mr. Brees

October 10, 2018

IT WAS the briefest of things. The viewer thought about pinching himself to see whether it had been a dream, a particularly sweet one.

The referees had stopped play during the Monday Night game, and it wasn’t to penalize one or another of the teams for a violation of an inscrutable pass-interference rule. Nor was it for one of the commercial breaks that stretches 11 minutes of actual play action into more than three hours of inane pageantry.

It was in recognition, however fleeting, that a quarterback had passed for more yards than anyone in history, all without taking a knee to protest issues about which he hadn’t a clue, or doing a silly dance, or holding up a fist in defiance of everything that had made his bloated salary possible, or even to star in one of those insipid civic-goodness videos for the utterly corrupt National Football League.

Rather, the quarterback, a second-round pick, a short, middle-aged rather slow white guy, had minded his own business for 18  seasons to amass more than 72,000 yards despite the heroic but mostly futile efforts of hordes of monster defensive tackles, superhuman corner backs, draconian officiating, front-office management and hurricane Katrina.

On completing the record-setting pass, and this is the surreal part, the quarterback removed his helmet, pointed a finger in recognition of the hometown fans and went to the sideline to kiss his first and only wife who was his Purdue sweetheart and hug their three smiling children — yes, believe it or not, a nuclear family.

Then the whistle blew and everything returned to normal.

— Craig Ladwig


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