Commissioner Roger Goodell opening statement: “OK, we obviously had another classic game last night between two terrific teams. Also, preliminary feedback comes from the ratings – it looks like it may be a record audience, too, to see the Super Bowl. It looks like 10 percent up from last year, so we expect it will be over 151 million people who watched last night’s Super Bowl, which was clearly more than a game. I keep thinking of the word ‘magical.’ When you think about the relationship between the Saints and the Gulf Coast and the city of New Orleans, it was more than just a football game and more than just a football team. The hopes, the dreams and the struggles of that community were all reflected in that football game. It was really a great night for the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region. I think they all sort of lifted one another, so congratulations to the Saints and their fans.
“I think it also demonstrates the value of sports. As they say, it was more than a football game, and it talks about the relationship, and these two gentlemen over here – Coach (Sean) Payton and Drew Brees, I think, reflect that community and have given back to that community far more than they would as quarterbacks or head coaches. They really have given their heart and soul to that community, and I think it showed in the way that that community has responded to them. So, congratulations to both of them.
“Let me say something about Coach Payton first. And coach, again, what he’s done in his community is extraordinary. What he’s done for the NFL, what he’s done for the Saints on a personal level, that’s more important. He obviously is now a Super Bowl-winning head coach. But, he has really gone much beyond that, and he’s had an impact on that community that is extraordinary. And his impact on that game last night was extraordinary, too. He had some gutsy calls that will probably go down all-time in the history of coaching. So coach, congratulations on your victory.
“The MVP – you all heard the statistics, you saw the performance. It was extraordinary. What a player, but more importantly, what a guy. I had the good fortune of knowing him a little bit better a couple of years ago. In fact, we bunked for 10 days, or seven days, over in Iraq and Afghanistan. So, he got a lot closer to the Commissioner than he probably cared to. But, I will tell you this – you see the real, the guts of a guy, and what really he’s all about. And he demonstrates it on the field, but more importantly, demonstrates it in the way he lives his life. That’s what makes all of us so proud. This is not just an MVP, he’s the Most Valuable Person, and he is really a terrific young man. Drew, congratulations on, and if you want to bring that trophy up you can. Drew Brees, the MVP of Super Bowl XLIV.”
Super Bowl XLIV MVP Drew Brees opening statement: “Well, this is a first for me. Am I supposed to say a few words or just answer questions? (laughing) I’ll say a few words. I’m not sure if it’s completely sunk in yet. It seems like as the minutes go by, it slowly does. I had to wake up this morning and turn to my wife and say, ‘Did yesterday really happen?’ And she said, ‘Yes it did.’ What a special moment, something that you dream about as a kid, and to be blessed with the opportunity to be able to play in the NFL, to be a quarterback, to have the platform that I do not only as a team leader, but what I try to do in the community to try to be the best role model I can be, the best person I can be, the best teammate I can be. Our victory last night was the culmination of four years of hard work, fighting through a lot of adversity, ups and downs, and more importantly than that, representing a city that has been through so much – been through so many struggles and hardships. Along the way, people have asked me so many times, ‘Do you look at it as a burden or extra pressure? You feel like you’re carrying the weight of the city on your team’s shoulders?’ I said, ‘No, not at all.’ We all look at it as responsibility. Our city, our fans give us strength. We owe this to them. That’s made all the difference. The Who Dat nation, Saints fans across the country, and I think we probably even might have gained a few fans after yesterday, they’re the ones, they’re who we play for. They’re why were able to win the championship that we did last night. It was for them. There’s no city, there’s no organization, there’s no people that we would want to win more for than the city of New Orleans. It’s an honor and just an unbelievable feeling. I’ll take questions now if anybody has any.”
(on what he did last night after the game) “Well, I guess we can thank technology for text messaging and e-mail and everything that comes with a Blackberry and there was about 500 of those messages that I just tried to scroll through. Obviously so many of those messages coming from former coaches, high school friends, high school teammates that I won a state championship with, mentors, family members. Just everybody so happy, just talking about how we deserved it and it just made you feel like, throughout this journey, it hasn’t been easy, but we’ve always done things the right way. That has stemmed from our owner Tom Benson, our general manager Mickey Loomis and of course our head coach Sean Payton. I feel like we’ve always worked extremely hard, we’ve always done things the right way. It hasn’t been easy, but here we are, Super Bowl champs.”
(on how last night justifies the numbers he’s put up over the last four years) “You play this game to try to be the best and you play to win the ultimate prize, which is what we were able to win last night, a world championship, a Super Bowl championship. You think of all those that came before you, not only the teams and the coaches, but the players and those that paved the way for all of us to be able to play this great game that we do and be a part of this great league. Just to have this opportunity to hold up that Vince Lombardi Trophy and to call ourselves champions. We have one of our coaches (linebackers coach) Joe Vitt who is a very passionate guy, a very inspirational coach. He’s been in the league for 33 years and this was his first Super Bowl to even play in, much less to win. Starting back in 2006 when we kind of all came together post-Katrina and started bringing together this core group of players to build our team, and as we made that run in 2006, Joe Vitt talked about at some point we were going to win a world championship together and when we do, we will walk together forever. This is something that can never be taken away from you and as long as we live, even beyond our lifetime, our kid’s lifetime, our grandkid’s lifetime, this is something that will always be with us. It will be a part of our legacy and that’s special.”
(on his evolution as a quarterback and whether there was something that he did better this season) “I always try to improve every year and I feel like I have. I feel like each year I’ve become a better player and whether the statistics might not show that, the wins and losses might not necessarily, just the maturation process and as you gain experience, that’s the only way that you get better. Just constantly kind of focusing on the things that you can do to help your team win and improve as a player and a leader and just all those things that it takes to play the quarterback position. I feel like our team, as I watched it come together this offseason with the free agents coming, with the way our season started, to be specific our emphasis with the run game offensively, what we were able to accomplish there, our guys up front with our stable of running backs. I just felt like my role, not only as quarterback, a leader throwing the football, obviously, but just kind of being the guy that needs to manage things on offense. I can’t say enough about our team, our offense, our guys that take the field with me every Sunday. They earned this.”
(on his place in the among the elite quarterbacks and whether he has an understanding of how this title will change how he’s looked) “Well, that’s what everybody’s telling me, but I’m trying to just take it one day at a time and I’d like to be able to look back on that, years from now when I’m done playing. Hopefully, I’ve got many more years ahead me. I’m going to try to play this game for as long as I can, until they kick me out. It’s been an unbelievable journey thus far, it’s gone by so quickly. This was my ninth year and it’s hard to believe because I remember when I came in as a rookie and just the journey since then. I’m just going to try to relish every moment and I’m going to try be the best player that I can be and the best quarterback and try to win a few more.”
(on being a role model and spreading that lesson throughout the League) “Yeah, I believe we can. I think it starts with the type of guys you have and we have the right type of guys on our team – unbelievable character. That all started back in 2006, when Sean Payton was hired as our head coach. With him and (GM) Mickey Loomis and our owner Tom Benson, they made the commitment to really start over at this point. Post-Katrina, the city had been relocated to San Antonio and now they were coming back with so many things in question. Here we are, and we’re going to bring in the right type of character people because when times get tough, it’s those people with strong character and strong morals and strong values that are going to be able to pull you through. We faced our fair share of tough times and it’s because we’ve had the right type of people on our team. That’s what’s allowed us to be at this point and those guys were not only great teammates and great players and did things the right way in that regard, but they also understood the value of and the platform that we had as role models and as leaders in the community and the opportunity we had in New Orleans to not only be a part of the rebuilding of an organization and a team, but also of a city and a region, and everything that we could give back to that community. Like I said before, New Orleans gave us so much strength. The people, we knew what they had been through, and yet they continued to fight, continued to believe and continued to have faith and they helped instill that in us.”
(on his relationship with Saints HC Sean Payton) “Sean is a special guy. You get so caught up, obviously in that working relationship, you know, just kind of the day-to-day game plan and your constant communication and all those things. On that level, I feel like its ESP. I feel like we communicate so well together. I have so much trust and faith and confidence in him, and I feel like he has that same confidence in me, to the point where when we are on the field, I feel like I know the play that’s going to be called before it’s called because we talk about it so much. He’ll tell you, ‘Listen, this is what I’m looking to do, this is when I’m looking to do that,’ and sure enough the game comes around and here it is. He’s such an aggressive play-caller and when you have a guy like that, you know how much confidence he is putting in you to call those plays, to dial those things up, and that’s why I think we’re able to play as we do as an offense, because we have that faith in him and we know all the time and energy that’s gone into the game plan. By the time the week comes to an end, we trust that plan like no other, and we trust him. But even beyond that player-coach working relationship, Sean is a tremendous person. He’s a tremendous family man. To give you an example, Saturday we had our walk-through at the stadium and Sean said, ‘I want all the guys to bring their sons. Bring your sons to the stadium. Let them run out on the field. I want them to have a pick-up game going on while we’re doing our walk through. Let them enjoy this moment with you.’ So he’s one of those guys that is constantly allowing guys to bring their kids into the locker room, to Saturday walk-through, have their families around. He wanted this week to be as much about the families and about this experience for them as it was for us as a team. That’s a guy who gets it. Its more than just about the game, it’s more than just about football. It’s about being a great person and being a great family man and how that all comes together and ties together and plays an important role in our lives.”
(on going 16 for 17 in the second half and his thought process and was what going on in the huddle) “Well, the first thing I’ll say is just to get to the end of the second quarter, we got stopped on fourth and goal, but that was a very calculated decision because here we are with a couple of timeouts. We know where we can stop them and get the ball. But we need some points going in at the end of the half. Sure enough, we get the two-minute drive going, we get a little bit of momentum going in at halftime, which I think helped the decision to kick this onside, get the ball back, which is an unbelievably gutsy call, but one that we all believed that this was going to work. Sure enough it does, we then get the ball, right down the field and score a touchdown and gain momentum on our side. Then at that point you just felt like okay, the game has come to us and now we can take it over. Sean just continued to dial it up and we just got into that rhythm and I think he recognized that and just knew that we can have our way with this defense underneath just spreading the ball around, moving the chains. We have to be patient because they’re not giving us any big plays, but we’ll just continue to earn it, earn it, earn it all the way down the field, and once we get down there, we have to score a touchdown and that’s what we did.”
(on his vision for the future) “We’re going to enjoy this for a while. I think New Orleans is enjoying it right this second, still. Don’t expect anyone to go to work this morning in New Orleans, or maybe for the next two weeks considering Mardi Gras is next week (laughing). This is something that I think we all deserve to enjoy for a while, and reflect on what it’s taken to get to this point, and all that we’ve been through and all that we’ve fought so hard to get. This is the pinnacle, and yet come late April, May, when you get back into the swing of things with lifting, and offseason program, conditioning, OTA’s, and mini-camps, it’s all about that 2010 season. There are 32 teams out there that feel like it’s going to be their year. So we know what it’s like to build something from the ground up and just feeling like this is our time, this is going to be our year. I think what’s going to be fun is using the term, ‘repeat’ all next year.”