“Let’s blow the top off this dome.”
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Former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees finally got the send-off he deserves.

Brees, who was at the Caesars Superdome for the NBC broadcast of the Saints' Thanksgiving game against the Buffalo Bills, was honored with an emotional halftime tribute Thursday.  

With Brees back in the stadium for the first time since he announced his retirement at the end of the 2020 season, the Saints pulled out all the stops as they bid farewell to the icon. Southern University marching band spelled out "Brees #9'' on the field while a star-studded video montage played.  

Drew Brees Buffalo Bills v New Orleans Saints
Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

"Drew Brees will always be considered one of the greatest Saints in the history of the organization," owner Gayle Benson told the crowd. "While we look forward to one day welcoming Drew back as a Hall of Famer and a member of our Ring of Honor, Thanksgiving night is the perfect opportunity for us to say thank you to Drew and his family the right way—on the field and in front of 70,000 of the best fans in football. We were blessed to have Drew as a member of our team for 15 years. The record-breaking impact he had on the field is legendary, as is the impact he, Brittany and the Brees family continue to have on our community."

Brees walked onto the turf to thundering applause.

"We have experienced so many unbelievable moments on this field and in this city. Thank you so much for loving us. Thank you for embracing me and my family," Brees said as cameras moved to his family in the stands. "We will always love you and we will always work to make you proud."

The Super Bowl champ ended his speech with a request for Saints fans: to lead them in one final "Who Dat" chant.

"So, one last time. Let's make 'em hear it," Brees said. "The greatest fans in the world, the Who Dat Nation. Let's blow the top off this dome and make the world hear it and feel it!"

The Dallas native, who played 15 seasons in New Orleans, retired last off-season as the NFL's all-time leader in yards passing. He ranks second in career touchdown passes behind Tom Brady.

Brees shares four children with his college sweetheart Brittany. In addition to various philanthropic efforts, he currently works as an analyst for NBC Sunday Night Football.

"I'm excited about that journey, I'm excited to stay very closely connected to the game of football," Brees told Today back in March. "It's been such an important part of my life, and I continue to be able to talk about it, show passion for it and bring my kids around for that ride there as well and let them be part of some of those special moments."