When an athlete passes a milestone or breaks a record, it's easy to
wax poetic about them and it becomes fashionable to engage in the
"hero worshipping" of them. Lord knows, ESPN has buttered their
bread with it over the years. (Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Brett Favre,
Derek Jeter, you get the picture)
Media outlets around the country are doing the same with Drew
Brees today. Last night, he broke Dan Marino's single-season
record for passing yards in a season, a mark that stood since
1984. There are few records that really mean anything in football,
that was one of them. In the coming week, we'll see Brees on
SportsCenter, "PTI", "Good Morning America, and even the
Ellen DeGeneres show where he has made several appearances.
Everyone will want the "hottest" star and story of the week
because it will give them broadcast cred and perhaps a bump
in the ratings.
The record is nice and Brees is a bona-fide superstar, but all
the glitzy highlight reels, features, and accolades by the networks
will never be enough to illustrate just how much one man has
meant to a city. It's not just because Brees is a great athlete, but
more importantly, a person of great strength and character. He
has help change the face and perception of a Saints organization
that had been inept, insecure, and in need of savior. Brees helped
energize New Orleans and aided in it's recovery from Hurricane
Katrina. No athlete in the history of sports has been more important
to its city than Dree Bress. That includes Michael Jordan, Magic
Johnson, and Derek Jeter. Those athletes played in stronger-than-
Atlas cities, ones that already had an identity and resources to
After Hurricane Katrina, he didn't flee New Orleans, he embraced
it. He didn't bolt to a ritzy suburb, he stayed in the heart of the
city and helped it rebuild. Many of us thought the Big Easy would
never recover, but Brees made sure it not only recovered, but
flourish. He helped lead the Saints to a place where they had
never gone before, beating hometown hero Peyton Manning of
the Colts in the Super Bowl. He became the king of the Mardis
Gras parade and a person that parents wanted their kids to emulate.
It's not about the record with Brees. It's about the person.
In a sports world that has been riddled with scandal,
sarcasm, and superstars without a moral compass, Dress Brees
is everything right about sports. Thank you, number 9.