Tonight, New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees tries to lead his team one step closer to an undefeated season as they take on the Dallas Cowboys.
It is unfortunate that due to the fact that the game will be televised almost exclusively on the NFL Network that much of the country won’t be able to watch. But for those that are watching who do not already have a rooting interest may turn to Brees and the Saints after considering his story.
While the Tiger Woods saga has captured the lurid imagination of the country in the late fall of 2009, Drew Brees’ reputation is growing. He is one of the good guys not just in the National Football League, but in the professional sports world at large. In addition, Brees has had to deal with a personal tragedy this season and has done so, at least publicly, with poise and class.
Brees and his wife Brittany are tirelessly involved with the Drew Brees Foundation, which the couple founded in 2004. The Drew Brees Foundation has raised $4.5 million to help fight cancer as well as invest in recreational facilities in the New Orleans and San Diego areas (Brees once played for the San Diego Chargers and continues to support his former adopted community).
Brees has also sponsored the Drew Brees Gridiron Classic, which allows New Orleans’ area youth to play a game on the Superdome field during halftime of a Saints game. In addition, Brees hosts an annual golf tournament in the San Diego area to raise money for the San Diego Children’s Hospital and Cancer Research.
In 2006, Brees was recognized for his efforts by being the co-recipient (along with Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson) of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which is awarded annually by the NFL based on off the field volunteer efforts and outstanding on field performance.
As Brees is now widely considered as one of the elite quarterbacks in football, and as his Saints are enjoying an undefeated season, Brees has had to cope with off the field tragedy shortly before the season began. Brees mother, Mina Brees, died August 7, 2009. In November, her death was ruled a suicide. Brees has not spoken much publicly, though he has said for years that he and his mother had a ‘non-existent’ relationship.
So as you sit and enjoy the New Orleans and Dallas Cowboys game tonight, if you are looking for somebody to root for, Drew Brees is as good a reason to scream “Who-Dat” as anything else.
Source: Richard Fausset, “No Longer the Aint’s”, latimes.com
Source: Associated Press, “Mina Brees Died of Drug Overdose”, espn.com