After Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, it was widely assumed that NFL free agents wouldn't want to sign with the city's NFL team. There was too much baggage, too much drama and too many question marks. But Drew Brees(notes) didn't let that deter him when he chose New Orleans over Miami in 2006. On Sunday, his decision paid off when he led the franchise to its first Super Bowl title with a record-setting, MVP performance in Super Bowl XLIV. The Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17.
Brees finished the night 32-of-39 with 288 yards and two touchdowns and was named the game's most valuable player. The 32 completions tied Tom Brady's(notes) Super Bowl record. During one stretch of the game the former San Diego Chargers quarterback completed 21 of 24 passes.
In one of the greatest quarterback matchups in Super Bowl history, Brees was lightly overshadowed in the pregame by Indy's Peyton Manning(notes). This was supposed to be Manning's coronation, the second title in the QB's illustrious career. But Brees and the Saints played spoiler, delivering New Orleans its first title in any professional sport.
On that March day four years ago, Brees told reporters about signing in New Orleans:
"I just felt that energy in New Orleans. From the very beginning, there was a genuine feeling that they wanted me there. They believe I can come back from this shoulder injury and lead them to a championship. They were as confident as I am, and that meant a lot."
The confidence was warranted, on both the part of Brees and the Saints. He uprooted his family to move to a city just struck by disaster. He now plans on putting his famiy's roots in the New Orleans area and anticipates raising his family, including son Baylen whom we celebrated with after the game (above, with another picture after the jump), in the NOLA area.
As for the Saints, signing Brees was the best free-agent move in NFL history. And tonight it led to one of the best performances ever in the Super Bowl.
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