Brian Allee-Walsh

If oldies but goodies Manning, Brady and Palmer can make post-season runs, why not Brees?

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) gets set to run a play against the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) gets set to run a play against the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski) AP

I have a bit of "old" news to discuss today.

Old as in 39-year-old Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, 38-year-old New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and 36-year-old Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer.

These oldies but goodies will be competing on Championship Sunday -- the NFL's version of the "Final Four" -- for the right to advance to Super Bowl 50.

New England vs. Denver for the AFC title at Sports Authority Field at Mile High (CBS, 3:05 p.m.). Brady is 11-5 against Manning all-time, but 1-2 in three previous AFC championship games.

Arizona vs. Carolina (quarterback Cam Newton) for the NFC title at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. (FOX, 5:40 p.m.). By the way, Kid Newton is the baby in the bunch, an immensely talented, charismatic 26-year-old and likely winner of the league's MVP award.

If Manning wins Sunday and starts in Super Bowl 50, he would become the oldest starting quarterback in roman-numeral history, older than Broncos executive vice-president of football operations John Elway when he started at quarterback for Denver in Super Bowl XXXIII at the age of 38 years, 217 days.

If Brady wins Sunday and starts in Super Bowl 50, he would become the second oldest quarterback in roman-numeral history at age 38 years, 188 days.

So why all the "old" references?

Because if Old (Palmer), Older (Brady) and Oldest (Manning) can lead their respective teams to the precipice of a Super Bowl, then why can't quarterback Drew Brees get the New Orleans Saints back knocking on heaven's door at age 37?

It's true, the four aforementioned teams vying for conference titles employ championship-caliber defenses, and the Saints' defense is simply awful. That said, Brees is still playing at an elite level. He's young at heart, takes care of himself and remains fearless and fiercely competitive.

Knowing Brees the warrior, just seeing his contemporaries playing for conference championships in the twilight of their careers will get his competitive juices flowing going into the offseason.

If Manning, Brady and Palmer can do it, why not Brees?

If the Broncos, Patriots and Cardinals can do it with aging wonders under center, why not the Saints?

Brees can start the anti-aging process by restructuring the final year of his contract which now counts $30 million against the team's salary cap in 2016. A more palatable, cap-friendly number can be reached through a contract extension, perhaps two or three years. Saints general manager Mickey Loomis and Brees' super agent, Tom Condon, can work out the details.

Remember, Brees isn't getting any younger.

Then again, that's old news.

Brian Allee-Walsh, a long-time Saints reporter based in New Orleans, can be reached at sports@sunherald.com.

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