Friday, November 6, 2009

Call Him the Brees

At 211 degrees, water is merely hot.

But at 212, it boils.

And few NFL quarterbacks are boiling over right now like Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints.

His preparation habits are becoming legendary around the NFL as Brees does everything he can to compensate for being somewhat slight of stature and possessing what could be politely described as a modest arm. But, working with coach Sean Payton, the hyper fit and superprepped Brees is the unquestioned leader of the league's most explosive offense. The Saints are averaging 40 points a game as New Orleans stands as one of the NFL's two remaining undefeated teams, along with Peyton Manning's Indianapolis Colts.

Could the Saints be Brees-ing their way to their first-ever Super Bowl?

Part of the answer may be discovered by any visitor to Coach Payton's office who notices a book sitting on a nearby shelf that explains part of the story. It's titled "212: The Extra Degree". A gift to the coach from Brees, who wanted to thank Payton for convincing him to come to a Hurricane Katrina-ravaged city and become the on-field leader of a once-lost franchise.

Since coming down the road from San Diego, there may not be an NFL quarterback more seamlessly aligned with his head coach and the city he represents.

Brees is more of an ordinary Joe than any Joe Cool. Married, with a young son, the former Purdue Boilermaker usually turns down endorsement offers unless they promote his charitable foundation, dedicated to helping children with cancer and upgrading playing fields for post-Katrina challenged youth.

There is that extra degree again.

Drew Brees and his New Orleans Saints will be out to turn up the heat again this Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. It's an NFC South match-up that might be defined by a quarterback and a song from some southern rockers from way back.

"To me, there's nothing freer than a bird, you know, just flying wherever he wants to go. And, I don't know, that's what this country is all about, being free. I think everyone wants to be a free bird"

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