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Drew Brees has everything but a Super Bowl ring

Posted on Feb 3, 2010 in Local Issues, Sports

By Nakia Hogan, The Times-Picayune February 03, 2010, 6:00AM MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. ­- On the surface, it appears New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has it all -- a multi-million-dollar contract, a stately Uptown home, a beautiful wife, a 1-year-old son -- and the national spotlight. drew_brees90.jpgTed Jackson/The Times-PicayuneNew Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was the man of the hour at Super Bowl XLIV media day Tuesday in Miami.But some guys never have enough. There's still that one thing that keeps Brees from feeling complete and keeps him throwing passes long after practice is over. "For me as a quarterback and as a guy who is very competitive, I'm in this league to win championships, " Brees said Tuesday at Super Bowl media day. "I don't see any other reason why you would want to play this game. You play this game to be the best. You play this game to win championships, especially at the quarterback position you are measured by wins and losses, you are measured by championships. And we have no greater opportunity than this week to have that chance." Brees, a veteran of nine NFL seasons, finally gets his shot at fulfillment, as he has led the Saints to Super Bowl XLIV, the first title game appearance for both him and the Saints' franchise. Already an accomplished quarterback with four Pro Bowl selections, two NFL records and an NFL Comeback Player of the Year award, Brees is on the cusp of pushing himself into the next stratosphere of quarterbacks. But it likely will take a Super Bowl ring to get him there. "I think it is fair to say that, " said Saints reserve quarterback Mark Brunell, a 17-year veteran who has played in three Pro Bowls. "For his legacy to play at the level that he has played and to get a Super Bowl (win) would be huge. It would take him into that upper echelon as far as coverage in the media is concerned and how people view him. So this game is big." At the moment, Brees is widely viewed by the national media as the NFL's third-best quarterback. He's typically placed on the list behind the Colts' Peyton Manning and the New England Patriots' Tom Brady, both of whom have Super Bowl titles. Brees has often outplayed both, though, at least in a statistical sense. Click to launch the graphic. Since signing with the Saints in 2006, Brees has thrown for more yards than Manning, the gold standard of NFL quarterbacks, and Brady. In that span, Brees has passed for 18,298 yards, followed by Manning's 16,939 and Brady's 12,807. Brees and Manning also have the same number of touchdowns passes (122) during that span, and Brady, who played in just one game in 2008, has 98. Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino said Brees has a chance to cement his place in history Sunday. Marino should know. He continues to be haunted by never winning a Super Bowl in his remarkable career. Marino did get to one, guiding the Dolphins to Super Bowl XIX, a 38-16 loss to the 49ers in his second season. But he never returned to the title game. "What (Brees) has shown the last four years and the way that he has been able to come back from injury, yeah, you have to consider Drew Brees a great quarterback, " Marino said. "Sometimes he has been going under the radar, but this is the biggest stage. This is one of those things that if you get the opportunity you have to take advantage of it, because you never know when you'll get back. "And that's what happened to me. I thought I'd be in a lot of Super Bowls, but I only went to one. But he has really played at a high level the last four years. It's been fun to watch." Indeed, Brees' passing heroics have caught the nation's eye. While Brees continues to chase his championship dreams, he's become a TV/media darling, gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated last week, appearing on The Ellen Degeneres Show on Monday, The Jay Leno Show earlier this season and has an interview with CBS anchor Katie Couric slated to air Friday. He's also been an ambassador of the city, spreading the word and lending a helping hand in the Katrina recovery process. "You just kind of take it in stride, " Brees said. "The fact is I am the quarterback of this team, and that's a tremendous responsibility. I do whatever I can to help us win not only in my preparation and performance but what I try to do as a leader, and the responsibility that I have and the platform. I have to really make a difference in the community and just to be a good person. I take all those things very seriously." He's certainly made a difference with the Saints. "Just hearing his words inspire you to go out there and do the best that you can, " running back Pierre Thomas said. "You can see the passion. You can hear the passion in his voice when he speaks to you or just a one-on-one conversation. His passion is so heart-warming. It makes you want to go out there and do the best that you can and play all out for this guy. "He really wants to be perfect. Nobody's perfect but he really strives to be perfect. For a guy like that you really want to play hard for him." For a guy like Brees, the Saints want to help the quarterback, who seemingly has it all, get the one thing left in life he still desires. They want to help get him that coveted Super Bowl ring. "We win this football game and his star is only going to get bigger and bigger, " Brunell said. "That's what we are hoping for. He's a hard worker and a great guy. And I hope we win this football game, not only for the Saints but for Drew Brees because he deserves it." Nakia Hogan can be reached at nhogan@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3405.

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