FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Some, including the Miami Dolphins, figured it wasn't worth outbidding the Saints for Drew Brees' services when he was a free agent coming off shoulder surgery back in 2006. The people of New Orleans would probably say he was worth every penny and more after leading the Saints to two NFC championship games in the four seasons he's been with the team. Brees had another remarkable year in 2009. He led the league in touchdown passes (34) and set a league record for completion percentage (70.6). The Saints simply wouldn't be anywhere close to Super Bowl-caliber without him. Brees spoke with reporters on Thursday about how it feels to be considered an "underdog" in the Super Bowl, and he described his close-knit relationship with head coach Sean Payton.
Q: Are there any benefits that come along with being considered the 'underdogs' on Sunday?
A: I don't look at it either way. In the end it doesn't matter if you win by one point or 20 points, or if you're the underdog and you cover the spread, but you lose. Who cares? We're here to win.
Q: Is it disrespectful to call the Saints the 'underdogs'?
A: You could look at it like the guys who think they know what they're talking about think we're going to lose. Whatever you can to provide extra motivation, I'm all for it.
Q: How is Sean Payton when it comes to getting your team motivated for a game?
A: Sean is awesome at that. He finds every little thing. Whatever it takes to motivate and inspire. However, he can narrow the focus down to something that's very singular, saying 'This is what we need to do. Or let's use this single factor as our motivation.' He's great at that.
Q: How do you stay focused before the Super Bowl with all the distractions surrounding you?
A: Everyone talks about pregame taking forever — the flash blubs going off at the kickoff and all the things that surround this where it could overhype it or take your focus off the task at hand. It's really about getting past all that stuff initially and being able to get to the game. You have to say to yourself, 'It's football. It's another game, and we know how to go out and play well and win these types of games.' It's really about taking what you prepare all week in practice and going out and translating that to the game field and getting through all the peripheral stuff in the beginning, just to be able to get to that point.
Q: Does being in Miami make you think about what might have been had you signed with the Dolphins instead of the Saints back in 2006?
A: Maybe a little irony, but I don't think about it, other than a lot of media asking me about it the past three days. Everything happens for a reason. I'm happy to be here.
Q: Are you nervous at all this week?
A: You can call it nerves or butterflies. I definitely have all those things throughout the course of a game week and into the game. The nerves and those butterflies, slowly as the week goes along, they continue to diminish, and what replaces it is confidence. The more you know that you are prepared and ready and you visualized it and are ready to take on the moment, that's when the confidence comes in. A little bit of nervousness and butterflies is what gives you that edge to be able to go out and play fast and react. A little bit of that is very necessary. If you don't have any of that, it may be time to get out.
Q: How would you describe your relationship with Sean Payton?
A: Sean gave me the opportunity to be here. He believed in me when nobody else did. I feel like we've grown so much together. My first year here was his first year as a head coach. It was like a new chapter in both of our lives. We were both trying to feel our way through in the beginning. It's been fun for him to watch me grow and develop as a quarterback and a person throughout this journey in New Orleans. For me, I have had the pleasure of watching him grow and develop as a head coach. I feel like I've been around some great coaches — Marty Schottenheimer in San Diego and others. To watch him, I marvel at the way he is able to say the perfect thing at the perfect moment, whatever it might be, whether it's a motivational word or an inspirational story. He is able to always have his finger on the pulse of the team and know this is the time to press forward and work or this is the time to back off and have a little fun. He has a knack and ability to use humor or a joke to challenge you or motivate you. It's hard to explain unless you're around it every day. I wouldn't want to play for anyone else. I get a proud feeling when I think of him and the road he has traveled to get to where he's at right now and all he has invested and how hard he has worked.
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