For anyone who watched the Saints and Redskins game, they got to witness a moment in history. On a 62-yard touchdown pass, Drew Brees became the all-time leading passer in the NFL. For someone who many considered too short to play in the NFL or called him done after a shoulder injury, Brees has come a long way and has victimized opposing team defenses. He is also on his way to joining the 500 touchdown club that is home to Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, and Tom Brady. Throughout the game, current and former players were tweeting their support for Brees and how happy they are for him. As someone who grew up two hours from New Orleans, I can admit how happy I am for Drew Brees but he was not just having a record-setting night he was showing the city of New Orleans how much they mean to him.
The NFL is weird. People who are considered experts try to determine who will be successful in the NFL and who won't. Tom Brady was told he didn't have a strong arm and lacked a tight spiral. Drew Brees was told he seems more comfortable in the short/intermediate passing attack and wasn't tall enough. Whoever these experts are must not do a good job looking over these guys. Drew Brees journey to being the all-time passer is an interesting one. He grew up in Texas where he leads his high school to a state championship, was 28-0-1 as a starter and was the honorable mention for the USA Today All USA High school football team. However, despite his accolades, only two colleges were interested in him and ultimately Brees went to Purdue.
After excelling for four years at Purdue, Brees was drafted in the second round of the 2001 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers. After some up and down seasons with the team Drew Brees showed his dominance and was invited to his first Pro Bowl in 2004. This seems like a great start to the career for Brees, however, despite his success the Chargers went out and drafted Eli Manning with the first pick in the NFL draft in the 2004 NFL Draft (later traded for Philip Rivers) this event seemed to spark Drew Brees and now it looked like San Diego had their quarterback.
In the 2005 season, things would look bleak when in a game against the Denver Broncos Brees fumbled and jumped for the ball. After jumping on the ball one of the Denver players Brees in the shoulder causing a labrum injury. He needed surgery and at the end of the season, Brees decided to find a new team.
So what does this have to do with New Orleans? Well in 2005 New Orleans had experienced one of the worst hurricanes in the United States known as Hurricane Katrina. The city of New Orleans was broken, the Superdome was a mess and there was talk of the team moving to San Antonio, TX. The Saints were not a successful team and needed help. Enter Sean Payton. Payton was a well known assistant coach and if there was anyone who could revive New Orleans it was Payton. He needed a quarterback though and he was willing to take a risk on Drew Brees, the quarterback claimed might not play again.
So I have told you the story of how Brees got to New Orleans but you're probably wondering why people view him as the hero of NOLA or why so many people love him. Being told you're too short and that there is a chance you may not play again motivated Brees to become one of the best but remember when Brees became a free agent there weren't many people who were interested in him. When Brees came down to New Orleans to visit the city was still pretty damaged and he realized the city and the team needed a hero and that is why Brees came to New Orleans.
As much as I want to say that Tom Brady is the best quarterback of all time being able to see your hometown team rally behind someone like Drew Brees still brings me happiness.