Drew Brees is the starting quarterback for the NFC Champion New Orleans Saints, and joined Sigma Chi 114 years later. He will lead the Saints in their first-ever Super Bowl appearance this Sunday. Many say that he saved the franchise.
NFL players, without even trying, are role models to young people. But, not every player is deserving of this. How do we know who to emulate, and who to ignore? Where do I as a father gain enough confidence in someone to share their story with my son?
What about the Jordan Standard? Brees was able to meet this standard many years ago when asked to be a member of Sigma Chi. Could we still use this standard as a way to judge him as a man today? Let's look at each of the 7 principles:
A Man of Good Character......
A man of good character can best be defined as someone that others want to emulate. Teammate Pierre Thomas talks about Brees in this way: "If Drew tells you to stay after practice, you're going to have to do it. He's our leader, but he's one of our coaches also. You strive to be just like him. Each and every day you wake up saying, 'What is Drew doing? How can I prepare myself today?' . . . He wants you to learn. He wants you to understand, to get to where the team needs you to be. We're all trying to get on his level."
A Student of Fair Ability......
Brees was one of the best college players of his era, setting Big Ten records and taking Purdue University to the Rose Bowl for the first time in over two decades. Meanwhile, he earned a degree in Industrial Management, and was honored as the 2000 Academic All-American Player of the Year. He also found time to join a fraternity. Not bad.
With Ambitious Purposes......
Brees joined the Saints in 2006, after Hurricane Katrina and a 3-13 season. There was some talk in New Orleans about the team permanently moving to another city – possibly San Antonio or Los Angeles. Brees signed up anyway. "An opportunity to come here and not only being a part of the rebuilding of the organization and getting the team back to its winning ways, but to be part of the rebuilding of the city and the region. How many people get that opportunity in their life to be a part of something like that?" he said. Wanting to carry a broken city on your back is the definition of an ambitious purpose.
A Congenial Disposition......
Brees is considered one of the nicest, most sincere, and most humble all-stars in the NFL. Consider this simple passage from a Sports Illustrated article:
The man has something important to say to Drew Brees. It is a warm afternoon early in the new year and Brees, the 28-year-old quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, is walking through Audubon Park, a 400-acre preserve not far from the century-old home that he and his wife, Brittany, bought last spring in New Orleans's Uptown. The man is walking with his wife and pushing an infant in a stroller. He extends his right hand to Brees as they pass on a walking path. "Thank you for what you've done for this city," he says. "I want you to know that we appreciate it." Brees squeezes the man's hand and nods. "You're welcome," he says. "And thank you."
Now a red SUV passing on St. Charles Avenue honks its horn twice and the driver leans out the window in slow-moving traffic. "Thanks, Drew!" she shouts, waving. Brees smiles and waves back. "That happens 10 times a day, at least," he says. "And it's never 'Good game,' or 'Can I have your autograph?' It's always somebody saying thank you." He looks at the ground and shakes his head, as if again humbled by the remarkable place where he has landed.
Possessed of Good Morals......
Where a man devotes his time and his resources is generally a good indicator of who he is and what he believes. His Brees Dream Foundation has given millions to New Orleans’ causes. Brees has helped build ballfields at schools that lost them in the hurricane. He’s funded playgrounds, participated in Habitat for Humanity builds, and has spent time with kids struggling with cancer. Brees was named the NFL’s Man of the Year in 2006.
Having a High Sense of Honor......
Many NFL players don’t live in the cities they play for. If Brees had just kept his house in San Diego and spent his offseasons there, not many would have noticed or cared. But, if you are trying to help lead a damaged city back to greatness, what’s the honorable thing to do? He and his wife bought and renovated a 100-year-old house in the city limits because, as he told writer Peter King, he’ll be able to do more good if he’s in the city year-round. He's now raising his first child there as well.
and A Deep Sense of Personal Responsibility
When Brees left San Diego as a free agent, he was considering several different NFL teams. He visited the Saints, and they pressed hard to get him to sign. The Saints’ executives could have tried to hide the devastation and despair that gripped the city at the time. After all, shouldn’t you always put your best foot forward when you recruit? Instead, they drove Brees and his wife through the city, which included tours of the areas most devastated by Katrina. This strategy worked because Brees has always carried a deep sense of responsibility. He said, "At some point in the process I started to believe that maybe God put me in this position for a reason. Maybe we were supposed to come to New Orleans and do more than just play football."
He has certainly done more than just play football (although obviously he has excelled at that as well). Brees has lifted a city and has served as a shining example of fraternal values in action. If the Jordan Standard is the minimum, Brees passes with flying colors. He goes beyond the standard to actually reflect words described in the Sigma Chi creed: fairness...decency...good manners...the spirit of youth. The creed asks members to pledge: "I will endeavor to so build myself and so conduct myself that I will ever be a credit to our fraternity." Well done, Drew.
No matter who you root for on Sunday, be proud of Drew Brees - a fraternity man of impeccable character, wearing the fleur-de-lis on his helmet, and carrying the Jordan Standard in his heart.
Drew Brees has embraced New Orleans, after being tempted by Miami three years ago by Mike Triplett
Marching In by Tim Layden
My Sportsman: Drew Brees by Peter King
Drew Brees: The New Orleans Saints' Miracle Man by Rolanda Cruz