Monday, February 8, 2010

Transcript from the Press Conference of Drew Brees

I have watched every Super Bowl since the first face-off between the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills back in 1993. The most fun I ever had watching the event - and without question the favorite game I have ever witnessed - took place four years later, when I was lucky enough to watch my team, the Green Bay Packers, defeat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI.

What I saw last night ranks a close second after that. When years have passed and the night of February 7, 2010 is nothing but a memory, I will fondly recall having spent Super Bowl XLIV in the company of an old Louisiana chum and his band of jubilant fellow Bayou Staters, all crammed in a tiny Manhattan apartment and glued to a beautiful flat-screen TV. All of the emotions that accompanied that evening remain palpable now - the communal frustration as we witnessed the Saints' first quarter struggles and failed fourth-and-goal drive, the vocal cord shredding cheers that followed the great moments of triumph, from the audacious onside kick and the two touchdowns to the successful two-point conversion and Tracy Porter's interception, and finally the over-the-top jubilation that I had the privilege of sharing with a room full of rowdy Louisianans as the clock ticked down to zero and the first of what will no doubt be countless nights of merry revels commenced. Add on to all of this piles of delicious fried chicken, gumbo, corn bread and cake, and you will have a pretty good idea of why the Super Bowl XLIV experience is one I will always cherish.

I'll let quarterback and game MVP Drew Brees take it from here.

On how it feels to be Super Bowl MVP:
"Is it me? It's such a tremendous honor, but to be a Super Bowl champion is enough for me."

On what this win means to the city of New Orleans:
"It means everything. We're here because of their strength and everything they fought through here the last few years. They've given us so much support, and so we owe it all to our fans."

On Coach Sean Payton's belief that in big games you've got to make tough decisions: going for it on 4th-and-goal and starting the second half with a surprise onside kick:
"That's the type of team we are. We play with a very aggressive mentality; we play with a lot of confidence. We came to this game knowing we had to play loose and take a chance in order to win and we did."

On no turnovers for the Saints:
"We knew that would be a key statistic coming in this game, win the turnovers, take care of the football, convert on third downs and score touchdowns."

On the defensive interception to clinch:
"That was huge. That was a game changer obviously. We've done that all year long. That's not a surprise to me at all."

On how it feels:
"It's unbelievable. It is. It is something that I don't really think has sunk in yet. Just to think of the road that we've all traveled to get to this--there was so much we had to go through--and how much adversity we faced along the way. Then again, (look) how many people believed in us and gave us the strength to go out there and do what we did tonight, and really what we've done all season long. Really, over the last four years since I've been in New Orleans, to be given the opportunity there when not a lot of people wanted to give me that opportunity, and to really start from scratch building a team, building a mindset and setting those goals we knew we could achieve through hard work and trusting one another. What can I say? We played for so much more than just ourselves­; we played for our city. We played for the entire Gulf Coast region. We played for the entire Who Dat nation that has been behind us every step of the way. What can I say? We've been blessed with so much. It's unbelievable."

On if the Saints turnaround the last few years mirrors what New Orleans has been through:
"Yeah, absolutely. That's probably a good comparison, a good parallel. We've had plenty of games this year when we've gone down at some point in the game--early, fourth quarter, whatever it might be. We just continued to believe in ourselves and found a way to win, and sure enough, we trusted in one another and our offense got it going. We had some big possessions there in the second half. Neither team had a whole lot of possessions just because we both possessed the ball a lot, converting first downs. Not a lot of big plays were given up in this game. The Colts defense does a good job of that. We knew we would have to move the ball, take advantage of the opportunities we were given, but really be patient and just kind of take what they gave us and move the ball and score points when we got the opportunity. Getting stopped on fourth down there in the second quarter was tough, but then the defense got it right back for us and we at least had an opportunity to go down and score points and gain some momentum going into halftime."

On continuing to believe even when they did start slow:
"Absolutely, I mean, are you kidding me? Four years ago, whoever thought this would be happening. 85 percent of the city was under water. People were evacuating to places all over the country. Most people left not knowing if New Orleans would ever come back, or if the organization would ever come back. Not only did the organization come back, the city came back and so many players, our core group of players that came in that year as free agents, we just all looked at one other and said, 'We are going to rebuild together. We are going to lean on each other.' That's what we've done the last four years and this is the culmination in all that belief."

On if he ever would have imagined being here four years ago:
"That was -- I look back on all of that and there is adversity that you face along the way whether it be injuries, whether it be may be getting shunned by another team. And really when I say that, I mean all of the guys who came in back in 2006. Obviously they were free agents because their other team didn't want them anymore, thought they couldn't play anymore and said 'heck with them.' That's really what our team was made up of, starting in 2006. So you look at those moments, and you just use it as motivation and strength. To be able to go forward and be able to accomplish what we've been able to accomplish, that's what molds you. That's what makes you the person you are and gives you that mental toughness and that strength. Going through hard times is what gives you the opportunity to accomplish something special. So forever now, all of us, we will walk together as Super Bowl champions, world champions and bringing home the trophy to New Orleans."

On how key it was that Peyton Manning was kept off the field:
"That was crucial. The more opportunities you give the guy, the more that he is going to find a way to take advantage of you. Priority number one coming into this game was to take care of the football; don't give them a short field, don't give them anything cheap. Number two was, be patient, take what they give us, convert on third downs, keep drives alive and chew the clock up and go down and get points. We did those things and it resulted in a win."

On the Saints defense getting the offense back the ball at the end of the first half for the quick field goal:
"That's huge. I think our mindset obviously was by going for it, if for some reason we didn't get it, we'd have them backed up on the 1. We had three timeouts, and maybe we could stop them, then get the ball back and have an opportunity at a two-minute drill. That was inevitably what happened. Obviously we would have loved to have the touchdown. When you get down that far and come away with nothing it's disappointing, but we needed momentum going into halftime. The defense did a great job of getting us the ball back, we used our timeouts and got the ball with enough time to go down and kick the field goal. So at least we go in halftime trailing 10-6, but we scored and we had this idea of an onside kick to start the second half. So we just had a good feeling that we could get the ball back and go down and score, and we did."

On the onside kick:
"We decided at halftime. It was something that we had worked on at practice for a long time--the last two weeks. It looked so good at practice that we thought we had to put it in the game at some point, and maybe this was the right time. Who would have thought to open the second half that we would do that? It wasn't quite perfection, but we got the ball and that's all that matters."

Plus check out this news update from
Move over, "M*A*S*H" finale. You've finally been surpassed.
According to
Nielsen ratings estimates published in Hollywood trade publications, Sunday's Super Bowl XLIV - in which the New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 - now holds the record for viewership. The event was watched by 106.5 million viewers, slightly more than the famed 1983 "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" conclusion to "M*A*S*H," which was watched by 105.97 million.
Yes, the usual caveats apply. The United States is a more populous nation than it was 27 years ago, and thus there are more TV viewers. But there are also more TV outlets - the fabled 500-plus channels - which means the Super Bowl crushed a lot more competitors than "M*A*S*H" (or the "Dallas" "Who Shot J.R." episode or the end of "Roots") did.
Even more startling were the ratings from individual cities. According to Nielsen, 82 percent of TV-watching households in New Orleans were watching the game; the figure was 80 percent in Indianapolis. Washington, Nashville and Columbus, Ohio, all topped 70 percent.
(Speaking as a person who grew up in New Orleans, and who received regular updates on how
Saints-crazy the city had gone, I have to wonder - what were the other 18 percent watching in the Crescent City?)
CBS has to be happy. Not only did the big game do tremendously well, but apparently 38.6 million watched "Undercover Boss" after the contest. Not a bad night for the Eye.

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