Top Inspirational and Motivational Super Bowl Memories
In the Super Bowl, a.k.a. the most watched American sporting event every year, everything a player does is magnified a thousand times. Every word, every play call, every pass or rush, every decision is scrutinized and meticulously picked apart by the media and fans to determine how, when, where and why something happened. Yet at the same time, these highly magnified moments also seem to live in isolation in our minds and the history of sports. They sit on a pedestal of fame as singular snapshots of the highest glory, often without the story of the path that was taken to get there. However, it is the moments that are most touching and moving that are but the final product of a string of critically important (and tough) decisions. On February 7th, 2010 when the New Orleans Saints won Super Bowl XLIV, the situation was no different. Even as Drew Brees smiled, child in his arms, watching the confetti fall from the sky and hearing the booming chant “Who Dat?” echo in the stadium, he remembered the journey even if everyone else might forget.
April 21st, 2001 – The NFL Draft Round 1 had just closed and Drew Brees was still undrafted. He had multiple Big Ten Conference passing records, a Rose Bowl appearance, multiple national awards and yet the biggest thing anyone could talk about was his size. Six foot nothing. Not able to see or manage an NFL offense. Drew didn’t care though. Whichever team that drafted him wouldn’t even know what kind of gold mine they’d have gotten until he had already got them to the playoffs…. “And with the first pick of the second round, the San Diego Chargers select: Drew Brees.”
August 2002 – One season under his belt and overflowing with confidence, the young and talented Drew Brees shows up to Chargers training camp with one mission in mind: earn himself the starting spot. And, by the time the Regular Season rolled around in early September, Drew in fact had been chosen as the starting QB over veteran incumbent Doug Flutie.
April 24th, 2004 – After sputtering to a 4-12 record with Drew Brees and Doug Flutie manning the show for the 2003 season, the San Diego Chargers elect to make a blockbuster draft-day trade to acquire NC State’s highly touted QB, Philip Rivers. Media and fans alike begin to spell the end of Drew Brees’ days in San Diego.
January 10th, 2005 – The Associated Press selects Drew Brees as its 2004 NFL Comeback Player of the Year after Brees helped transform the San Diego Chargers from a 4-12 lottery team to a 12-4 playoff team. Most remarkable of the statistics was Brees’ meteoric rise in passer rating from 67.5 in 2003 to 104.8 in 2004, the third highest passer rating behind only Peyton Manning and Daunte Culpepper.
August 29th, 2005 – Hurricane Katrina makes landfall in New Orleans, Louisiana as a Category 3 hurricane. Its storm surge and deluge of rain causes the New Orleans’ levee system to catastrophically fail leaving 80% of the city flooded, hundreds dead and thousands of others stranded and devoid of anything that they used to own. One of the five most deadly hurricanes in US history, Katrina’s effects are still felt in New Orleans today.
January 5th, 2006 – In the final game of another stellar season at the helm for the Chargers, Drew Brees decides to sacrifice his body in diving after a ball he fumbled after being hit by the Denver Broncos’ John Lynch. He recovered the ball, but tore the labrum in his throwing shoulder in the process. Whatever chances Drew Brees had at being a championship QB before the injury were now all but washed away. Not unlike the dreams and hopes of many families in New Orleans trying to recover from Katrina.
March 14th, 2006 – San Diego and Miami barely gave Drew Brees any respect or confidence during contract negotiations. That, however, was not on Drew’s mind as he decided to accept a 6-year, $60 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Instead, Drew was thinking about what he saw when he visited the Saints earlier in the year. The children and the families lost and torn apart, the homeless and the abandoned, the hopeless look in each person’s eyes. He had a mission and a responsibility. He was going to rebuild and reinvigorate a team and a city, one pass at a time. The rest of the world could doubt them together, but Drew was going to deliver glory and hope to each person in this city.
November 30th, 2009 – Saints vs. New England Patriots on Monday Night Football. The fantastical story of a humble QB and his unheralded team continues as Drew Brees passes for five touchdowns enroute to a perfect passer rating and a 38-17 beat down of the three-time champion New England Patriots. The Saints move to 11-0 and become the beacon of hope and change as the city of New Orleans finds new motivation to rebuild and recover from its team’s improbable run.
January 16th, 2010 – Saints vs. Arizona Cardinals, NFL Playoffs Divisional Round. Doubts clouding the media airwaves and pressure breathing down his back after the Saints lost their final 3 regular season games, Drew Brees knows this is statement game. Actually, he knows it’s a re-statement game. The Saints’ sterling 13-3 regular season record was the first statement and a resounding win over the Cardinals to start the playoffs would be a confident and bold re-statement that this team and this city were ready to be great. Two hundred and forty-seven passing yards and three touchdowns later, Brees had finished his re-statement and, in doing so, directed his team and his city to keep their eyes on the prize.
February 7th, 2010 – Super Bowl XLIV. New Orleans Saints versus Indianapolis Colts. Drew Brees versus Peyton Manning. The city of New Orleans versus doubt, despair and destruction. The journey had many twists and turns, but it all led to this. Brees had endured the ups and downs. He had taken and owned his responsibility to his city. Now he had to write the final scene, take the final step to glory. And that he did, to the tune of 288 yards, 2 touchdowns and one Super Bowl MVP. The New Orleans Saints were NFL champions and Drew Brees could finally breathe the fresh air of recovery, of new hope. He could lift his son up through the confetti and smile and think about the story that he’d one day tell his young boy. The story of a man and a city, broken and battered by life’s set-backs, but resilient in their recovery and triumphant in their ascension to glory.
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