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Tuesday, 30 November 2010 10:36
New Orleans Saints Brees Gets SI Honor; Atlanta Falcons Top In Power
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Summary: Drew Brees get honored by Sports Illustrated; Atlanta Falcons are tops in power rankings and given their schedule, they are likely to win the NFC South.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees is recipient of Sports Illustrated's 57th Sportsman of the Year award, it was announced on Tuesday morning.

Brees will be honored at a ceremony on Tuesday evening in New York City.

The award comes as Brees and the Saints have won four consecutive games with an 8-3 record and have moved solidly into playoff contention in defense of the Super Bowl they won a season ago. Brees, 31, was MVP, but he wins this award for much more than just his football abilities.

Brees not only led the Saints to the first Super Bowl title in the franchise history, but also helped lead the city of New Orleans' rebirth after the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina,{sidebar id=4}

Nearly five years ago, in the early spring of 2006, Brees was a broken player. After surgery to repair a catastrophic shoulder injury,, the Saints were the only team that offered to make him their starting quarterback. Miami didn't think he could last a season.

Meanwhile, New Orleans was a desperate city, trying to find traction after one of the worst natural disasters in U.S, history,  Brees would say later, his landing in New Orleans was more than just an athlete's change of venue. "It was a calling," said the quarterback "We were brought here for a reason."

Brees and his wife, Brittany, showed love for New Orleans when the city felt abandoned by so many others. Not only did Brees help the Saints make the playoffs in his year in the city and begin the four-year climb to the Super Bowl title, but he also threw himself into helping the city recovery, and its people to feel like they were not alone.

"He symbolizes the people of New Orleans in many, many ways," said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. "Drew believes in that community. He believes in doing what's right. He's one of the most genuine people I've ever met."

"New Orleans was a perfect fit for Drew," said Brian Schottenheimer, who coached Brees in San Diego and is now offensive coordinator for the Jets. "There were questions about Drew and there were questions about New Orleans. But things happen for a reason."

SOME hither, others yon:  According to the national media, the Falcons are No. 1 in this week's NFL power rankings. The Saints are No. 6.  The 9-2 Falcons have an easy schedule remaining and should finish at least 4-1 in their remaining five games, three on the road and two the Georgia Dome. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is 19-1 as a starter in the Georgia Dome. They play the worst team in the NFL 1-10 Carolina twice. Their only true challenge is a rematch with the 8-3 Saints in the Georgia Dome on Dec. 27. The Falcons should win the NFC South and home-field advantage through the playoffs like the Saints enjoyed last season The Saints are at Cincinnati on Sunday against the 2-9 Bengal's, who bypassed a 47-yard field goal because they didn't have faith in kicker Aaron Pettrey. Why have him on the roster if he can't make a 47-yarder?...



by Ed Staton
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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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