NFL fans will be in for quite the treat this weekend — for the first time in their impressive careers, quarterbacks Drew Brees and Tom Brady will face each other in a playoff game.
Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers will visit Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday to decide who will move on to Jan. 24's NFC Championship Game (which will decide who goes to the Super Bowl).
Brady and Brees — two of the most iconic quarterbacks in league history — have already faced each other twice this season, with the Saints winning both games. But Brees, who turns 42 on Friday, knows full well the playoffs are a completely different animal compared to the regular season, especially when facing a six-time Super Bowl champion in Brady.
"Don't take it for granted," Brees said of the matchup against Brady, according to the Washington Post. "I'm very appreciative of the opportunity."
Brady, 43, is in his first season with the Buccaneers after leaving his longtime team, the New England Patriots, in the offseason. He led them to a 11-5 record this season, just a game behind the Saints' 12-4 record.
"Listen, the minute that he signed with the Bucs and came to the division, you felt like that was going to be a team to contend with, that was going to be a team that had playoff aspirations and beyond, just like us," Brees continued of the matchup. "So I guess it was inevitable."
While this matchup will be the first time the two meet in the playoffs, it may also be the last. That's because Brees' potential retirement has been the subject of speculation all season.
"I have yet to talk to one person who believes that Drew Brees will play in 2021," NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport said on Sunday. "He has not made clear his decision, he has not announced definitively that he is retiring after the playoffs, but certainly that seems to be the way this is headed.
If Brees were to retire, he leaves the field a one-time Super Bowl champion and the holder of a number of records, including the most career passing yards and most career pass completions in NFL history, the outlet noted.
The likelihood of a Brees retirement was echoed by ESPN's Adam Schefter earlier this month.
"As for Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, everybody expects, that after the season, Drew Brees will retire," Schefter said, according to 247 Sports. "They thought that last year and he surprised them in March by deciding to come back."
"This time, he's played through the 11 fractured ribs and a punctured lung," he continued, in part. "A difficult physical season and I think most people still believe that this will be the final season for Drew Brees in New Orleans and in the NFL before he turns to the broadcasting."
Brees — in what could be the final game of his career — will take on Brady and the Buccaneers Sunday at 6:40 p.m. ET on FOX.
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