This may be one of the most exciting times to ever live in Southern Louisiana, particularly in the New Orleans metropolitan area. Just ask New Orleans Saint Quarterback Drew Brees, he’ll be happy to share with you the journey that he and his team made these past few years that led them to their first Super Bowl victory in the franchise’s history.
I personally have been watching the Saints since the time I started to walk. For years, friends and family dreamed of how exciting it would be to see our team win a Super Bowl, but we would often walk out of home games in disgust because the team could never win. For us, it was simply a dream.
Then the unimaginable happened to New Orleans and the surrounding areas. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina wreaked devastation leaving 80% of the city flooded and thousands homeless – including the New Orleans Saints. There were rumors of the team moving to San Antonio, Texas, and many believed that the Saints had given up on the city and the elusive championship title.
Fortunately, the Saints and the National Football League came up with a plan to keep them in New Orleans, but the team’s journey had just begun. Adversity seemed to be their theme that year. The saints had a new coach, new players and had to play in Baton Rouge, about 45 minutes west of New Orleans, and in San Antonio, Texas. The team became nomads as their home games became away games. But, none of that mattered. They were determined and united in their purpose and their fans were the 12th man on the playing field with them every Sunday.
In my eyes, three people played key roles in the team’s rebirth – New Orleans Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis, Coach Sean Payton and Quarterback Drew Brees. Drew Brees is the individual that became the leader of change for the Saints. He suffered what many believed to be a career-ending injury while playing with the San Diego Chargers before joining the Saints. His story is an inspiration to us all.
I remember watching him for the first time at a news conference when he first joined the Saints. There was something in his eyes that made me realize he would be the team’s catalyst for success. You could tell he was a winner. A warrior. A dreamer. Even with the weight of the team and the city of New Orleans on his shoulders, Drew continued on his determined path. He not only gave his heart and soul on the field, but also on the streets of his community. He and his wife, Brittany, are enthusiastic philanthropists and strive to make the city they live in a better place.
Drew made a promise to the city that he would succeed. He kept his promise. None of the team’s accomplishments would have been possible without having a commitment to a goal and having a dream. The entire city experienced the fruits of their labors when the New Orleans Saints achieved the impossible. After 43 years, they won the Super Bowl. Against all odds, this young team marched onto the field and into the hearts of America.
I remember watching Drew raise his son, Baylen, above his head with the word, “champion,” highlighted on the video board behind him. It brought a tear to my eye and taught me what hard work, dedication and a positive attitude can accomplish.
I believe that we can all learn from Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. God can put a dream in our hearts and minds and it is up to each of us to pursue every possible avenue to make it come true. He is one of my personal heros that I have learned a life lesson from that is invaluable. Always remember that dreams are what we live for – we live for that moment and it can happen to anyone.
Drew is definitely a person that “Got Off His Attitude” and overcame tremendous odds to achieve his dream. So, the next time you are struggling in some aspect of your personal life or professional career and need to refocus your energy on what you can do to accomplish your goals, just ask Drew.
“Remember that it is up to you to choose everyday to Get off Your Attitude and to create a positive lifestyle for yourself and others.” Ryan C. Lowe