The same shoulder that was busted, giving him a 25% chance of ever playing again after he got hurt playing for the Chargers—the last time he was so franchised-tagged. After that injury, his career was on the line as he had a bum wing and no long-term contract. He ultimately landed with the New Orleans Saints, a team desperate for a play-maker, a team still drowning in Katrina sorrow after going on a losing spree after the storm which left the city wondering if the owner Tom Benson would return to the heavily damaged dome stadium.
Back then, the Superdome received more TV coverage than the team. Odds were, the stadium would return in better shape than the rag-tag bunch of players in black and gold whose hopes were still black and blue.
But Brees and company transformed the fans, the city and the world into true believers that sometimes horrible things have heavenly endings and that some things are simply worth the sacrifice.
Over the past five years, Brees personified dedication and sacrifice. He inspired the team to win games when all thought everything was lost. He was awarded with the team’s first NFLC championship and then the world glory forever fastened as an NFL moment in history when he raised his son in victory as Super Bowl victory-confetti hit the gridiron floor.
But, now, the longer he stays negotiating with his team over his multi-million per year contract, the less of a team player he is perceived to be.
Reportedly, somewhere between five million dollars per year is the gap between his demands and the Saints willingness and ability to come to terms.
Never mind the appearance that he appears on more endorsements now than any other sports figure in the world and that as long as he keeps winning and playing somewhat at the same level of performance, he will never, ever, need to go wanting.
Never mind the realities of the salary cap which limits what the Saints can pay its first-ever super-duper star. Brees wants what he believes (and I submit most believe) he deserves.
It does not help the cause when Calvin Johnson and Mario Williams sign mind-boggling long-term contracts this week with the Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills. Johnson reportedly landed an eight-year, $132 million deal with $60 million guaranteed. For his future toil, Williams hauled in a reported six-year, $100 million deal with $50 million guaranteed.
Those kind of numbers only fuel the egos of super-talents such as Brees to demand the sky although NFL rules of caps keeps the club management grounded to the realities that it must please the receivers who catch his passes and the lineman who keep that shoulder intact the kind of money they expect to make for their weekly work.
So far, Brees’ heroics on the field has only been matched with his heroics off the turf.
However, however, he must somehow show the team and the fans that he should be paid what he deserves while keeping his supporting cast members happy and maintaining the image that the whole is certainly greater than the sum of the parts.
In reality, succeeding at that task could be more magical and miraculous as pulling a water-soaked football team out of the floods of despair and uncertainty made possible by a powerhouse offense, called Katrina.
by Stephen Sabludowsky, Publisher of Bayoubuzz.com