With Super Bowl win, Drew Brees proves he fits in Miami after all

Paul Jannace

As if what Drew Brees did last Oct. 25 wasn’t enough, he made his point again in the Super Bowl.

Brees found himself squarely on the scrap heap after major shoulder surgery in 2006, and very few teams were interested. The Miami Dolphins were apparently one of them but never made an offer.

The entire New Orleans Saints organization and fan base could never repay that type of kindness.

Brees showed Miami what they were missing earlier this season when he helped turn a 24-3 second-quarter deficit into a 46-34 victory. They probably got the point, but Brees did one better Sunday night – he won the Super Bowl MVP.

“Brees was magnificent tonight,” said New Orleans head coach Sean Payton about his quarterback, who completed a Super Bowl-record 32 passes for 288 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

Since being passed over by the Dolphins and into the hands of the Saints, Brees has been the face of the organization.

That face now helped deliver the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl championship, a little more than four years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

“Four years ago, who ever thought this would happen?” Brees said. “We played for so much more than ourselves.

“We’ve been blessed with so much. We said we were going to lean on each other, and this is the culmination.”

No stranger to leading comebacks, Brees did again in the upset of the Colts, guiding a record-tying rally from 10-0 down after the first quarter.

“You just continue to believe that you’ll find a way to win,” Brees said.

In the Super Bowl, Tracy Porter sealed the win with a 74-yard interception return for a touchdown. Coincidentally, Porter did the same in the regular season win in Miami, sewing up the rally with a 54-yard interception return for a score.

It might take a little getting used to considering the team’s history, but the New Orleans Saints, the league’s laughingstock for nearly all of its 43-year history, are the Super Bowl champions.

“I felt like coming to New Orleans was a calling,” Brees said. “It was an opportunity not many people have in their life.”

Despite five good seasons in San Diego, his shoulder injury and the arrival of Philip Rivers made Brees expendable.

He then became indispensable in New Orleans.

Brees has thrown 122 touchdowns – including 34 each of the past two seasons – in four years with the Saints, and has averaged nearly 4,600 passing yards each season since. He also threw for a near-record 5,069 yards in 2008, but he wanted his time in New Orleans to be remembered for being a winner.

“It was just bringing the mentality back that we’re going to come back, and come back stronger,” Brees said.

Brees has now led the Saints to the NFC Championship game twice – the franchise had one playoff win in its history before he arrived – and was the first New Orleans quarterback to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

However, despite carrying his team’s hopes on his throwing shoulder, along with the city of New Orleans, Brees had one specific person in mind he was playing for.

“There’s nobody I wanted to win this championship for more than Sean Payton,” Brees said.

Payton and Brees arrived in New Orleans the same season, and will forever be known as the building blocks toward an improbable championship.