The Times-Picayune is marking the tricentennial of New Orleans with its ongoing 300 for 300 project, running through 2018 and highlighting 300 people who have made New Orleans New Orleans, featuring original artwork commissioned by NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune with Where Y’Art gallery. Today: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
The icon: Drew Brees.
The legacy: It all came down to timing. Drew Brees was coming off a major shoulder injury and needed a city to believe in him. New Orleans was on its knees after Hurricane Katrina and needed a champion. By signing a contract with the Saints in 2006, Brees showed a world still wondering whether New Orleans was worth saving that he believed, and in turn, he helped New Orleanians believe in ourselves again. Three football seasons later, the 2009 Saints – led by Brees and head coach Sean Payton – gave the city a once-unthinkable gift: a Super Bowl championship. Nine years later, Brees – the face of the franchise and a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer in waiting – continues to create moments Saints fans will be cheering long after his playing days end.
The artist: Sean Randall, WhereYart.net.
The quote: “Really, what it came down to was who I felt like believed in me the most. I really got a great feeling from the Saints organization and the head coach. And I really felt like I have the opportunity to do something great here.” – Drew Brees, in an interview with The Times-Picayune after signing with the New Orleans Saints on March 14, 2006
Explore more of Randall’s work online at WhereYart.net and in person at the Where Y’Art gallery, 1901 Royal Street in the Marigny.
- In high school, Brees was more of a baseball player than a football player. In his sophomore year, when he played backup quarterback, he almost gave up football entirely.
- Brees was a particular fan of legendary Red Sox hitter Ted Williams, whom Brees honors by wearing the same jersey number, No. 9.
- He went to college at Purdue, where he proceeded to set several school and Big Ten Conference records, including for touchdowns passes, passing yards, total offensive yards and completions.
- Despite his record-setting college career, his lack of prototypical height for a quarterback had many pro teams hesitant to draft him. (He is 6 feet even.)
- Brees ended up being drafted by the San Diego Chargers with the first pick of the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft. That made him the second quarterback drafted that year, behind only Michael Vick, who was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons with the No. 1 pick.
- Three years later, the 2004 Draft sent quarterback Phillip Rivers to the Chargers, but Brees held onto the starting job — until he shredded his shoulder in the last game of the 2005 season while scrambling to recover a lost fumble.
- As a free agent, and not feeling the love from the Chargers, Brees decided to test the open market. Along with the Saints, the Miami Dolphins — coached at the time by former LSU head coach Nick…