Aaron Brooks. He is either loved or hated by Saints fans.
But it is undeniable that at one time he was one of the hottest young quarterbacks in the NFL. After playing at Virginia he was originally a 4th round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers before being traded along with tight end Lamont Hall, to New Orleans in 2000. He was suppose to back up newly acquired quarterback Jeff Blake but when Blake suffered a broken foot in week 12 against Oakland, Brooks took over. He managed to pass for 2 scores in a 31-22 loss. The next week he got his first NFL start against the St. Louis Rams. Brooks passed for 1 touchdown and ran for 2 others in a stunning 31-24 upset of the reigning NFL champions. He would go on to led New Orleans to their first ever playoff victory – another upset of the Rams in opening round of the 2000 playoffs. Aaron Brooks appeared to have all the looks of a rising star in professional sports.
But Unfortunately for Saints fans and Brooks, his career took a very unexpectedly inconsistent turn. An amazing run would be followed with fumble. Laser pin-point strikes preceded backward passes. He tied team records for both touchdown passes and interceptions in 2002. From 2001 to 2004 the team just could not seem to put together enough wins to get them into post-season. 4 and 5 game winning streaks along with 4 and 5 game losing streaks doomed the team average regular season records. And while Brooks received much of the blame it can be argued that the Jim Haslett led Saint teams of the time resembled more a dysfunctional family that a football team. Brooks was finally released and played 1 more season in Oakland before leaving football altogether.
The picture above is from happier times. Brooks is shown scoring the winning touchdown against the Rams in his 1st-ever start, that stunning upset of the World Champion Rams in the magical 2000 season.