I’m writing this post up where I do some of my best writing…up on a “35,000-foot spa retreat.” I’m on a Southwest Airlines flight from New Orleans to San Diego pondering the last few days and reflecting on Drew Brees’ amazing record-setting performance Monday night as he eclipsed the NFL All-Time Career Passing Yards in a Career (71,940 yards). WOW!
Watching that LIVE in the Superdome on Monday Night with my wife Melanie and Drew’s family and closest friends, was an amazing experience. It was the loudest sporting event I’ve ever been to – 80,000 people in the Superdome, plus all of New Orleans, absolutely rocking!
This moment and seeing Drew accomplish this feat is certainly amongst my career highlights around football. This includes “LT” (LaDainian Tomlinson) winning the NFL League MVP in 2006, Drew winning a Super Bowl in 2010, Aaron Rodgers winning a Super Bowl in 2011, LT getting inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2017) and now Drew attaining this… NFL Career Passing Yards leader.
Which makes me sit here and think, “How did I get here?”
There are 3 reasons WHY and I’d like to share them with you. I’ll just share from my soul:
1. It’s a God thing. I can’t explain it any other way. I’m not sure how/why Drew Brees came into my life in 2003 other than LT brought him into Fitness Quest 10 at the beginning of his career. There are a lot of things in life you can’t explain and this is one of them.
I can say it’s “because I always wanted to work with NFL quarterbacks and athletes” or “I knew I could help his game” or “I was a former QB with a work ethic similar to Drew’s” or… it really doesn’t matter. Listen, there are a lot of other coaches and trainers who could have been in that boat and helped Drew’s career also. I was chosen by Him and I firmly believe that.
I could go on and on here but I won’t. I’m a man of Faith who believes I was given a unique opportunity at a young age to help coach Drew. And I’ve continued to be obedient and grateful for that. You often hear that people come into your life at the right time and I believe it was a blessing for both me and Drew to have met back in ’03.
2. Rocky. Yeah, you laugh, but it’s true. I have often professed that there is no other human being in the world who has watched more of the Rocky series than yours truly. You see, the grey hoodie, the early morning workouts, the training in the cold, the overcoming the odds… all of it is true.
And ever since 1976 (that’s when Rocky I came out) when I was just 5-years old and I watched Rocky in the movie theater with my Dad and brother Paul, I was intrigued by Rocky and his trainer Mickey. And while for many years I saw myself as “Rocky,” the athlete who had to overcome all odds to make it, nowadays it’s not. Now I see myself more like Mickey. The coach who knows his athlete and what it takes to get the most out of him/her. Hence, the legendary workouts, the videos, the hoodies and beanies, the text messages….everything but the cigar. Now, it’s protein shakes and gluten-free sushi. 🙂 Man, I loved Mickey. And I still love Rocky!
3. It’s a Drew Brees thing. Folks, I don’t need to brag on Drew anymore than what you have heard and read the last few days, and over the last 18-years. But the man you see on TV and read about in the paper is WHO he is.
There are so many words to describe Drew but here are “9” of them that make #9 special:
1. Hardest-worker in the room. Just ask anyone who trains with him. Beast. Gym-rat. Competitive as heck. Hates to lose. Strives to get better.
2. Focused. Drew can compartmentalize better than anyone I know and focus in better than anyone I know. And when it’s training time, the look in his eyes tells you nothing else matters.
3. Prepared. The best example is a few years ago when the family and I went to see the Saints play the Bears in New Orleans and Drew invited us over to the facility at 5 pm on a Friday afternoon (before a Sunday game). There was ONE CAR in the parking lot. It was Drew’s. He was in the facility still watching film; while everyone else was gone. #LifeLesson #Preparation
4. Family-man. Drew is a great father to his four kids and a loyal and committed husband to his wife Brittany. It’s obvious how he lives his life that his family is one of his biggest priorities.
Heck, I love how even after they stopped the game Monday night, he whispered in his kids ears the same thing he says every single night before going to bed, “You can do anything in life you want if you are willing to work hard enough to get it.”
5. Philanthropic. Man, Drew and Brittany have given back so much. To New Orleans. To Purdue. To charity organizations across the country. To their Brees Dream Foundation that gives back millions of dollars every year.
To me, nothing exemplifies their charitable spirit more than what Drew & Brittany did for the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2009… and their continued efforts to create massive IMPACT on so many levels.
And by the way, it’s not just money. I have never seen Drew say no to one autograph for a kid or anyone in the military. He once spent an extra 2-hours AFTER a workout to sign for all the military men and women who serve our country. Literally.
6. Leader. If Drew was a Marine, he’d be a high-ranking officer. He knows how to get the most out of people. And he knows what teamwork is all about. It’s exemplified every summer when he sends his wide-outs and running backs out to San Diego for “training camp” and fosters some great team bonding/camaraderie BEFORE actual training camp.
And it’s exemplified every day and week during the season in practice, in the team-room, and in the weight room. He just has the uncanny ability to make other people better. And that is LEADERSHIP!
7. Mindset. I love studying the champion’s mindset. Drew brings out the best in his teammates. He works his tail off. Still, at the age of 39, he’s a workout warrior. An animal in the gym. And he studies the great ones who have gone before him. As your self-professed MindRight Maniac, DB9 is a poster-child of what it takes to #GetUrMindRight.
8. Overcomer. A lot of people forget that Drew has overcome a lot. First off, he was only offered one football scholarship coming out of high-school. And it was LATE in his senior year.
He was too small. Too slow. Not strong enough.
Then he got benched in San Diego for a few games early in his career.
Then he got his shoulder ripped out of his socket and the doctors told him that he had little chance to play again in the NFL.
Then his mother committed suicide.
ALL of this is public knowledge and you can read about it in his “Coming Back Stronger” book he wrote sharing these parts of his life.
See, most people think “these guys” are just gifted and things are handed to them. NO WAY. Most of them have had serious setbacks and have had to OVERCOME a ton in life. Drew Brees is a great example of this and serves as a wonderful role model to young men & women who aspire for MORE in life.
9. Faith. Several years ago I was interviewing Drew for my Mastermind and he was driving his car to training camp in Jackson, MS. I’ll never forget this moment when he shared that one of his secrets to success was having “FAITH.” Not just faith in God but F.A.I.T.H. as an acronym.
F= Fortitude. STRONG.
A= Attitude. Positive attitude at all times.
I = Integrity. Doing what is right when no one is looking.
T = TRUST. Trust in the process. Trust in your teammates. Trust your preparation.
H = Humility. Be humble. Be Hungry.
And I’ll add in “1” for #10. LEGACY. Drew Brees cemented his legacy this past Monday night. And the scary part is that he’s far from done. While he will forever be etched into “immortal” status amongst football gods, he is a mere mortal man doing extraordinary things.
Whether you are a Saints fan or not, or even a football fan or not, may you glean some motivation and inspiration from a man whose work over the past 18-years is no different than what Picasso, Spielberg, Disney, Jobs, or Oprah have done. Changed history and forever gone down as one of the most IMPACTFUL people to ever roam the earth. That is IMPACT!
And to me, that’s why I’ve been blessed to know and work with Drew Brees.