Monday, November 28, 2011
Brees, the Mannings and New Orleans
By Ian Begley
Drew Brees gets a text from Archie Manning before almost every Saints game. Manning, one of the faces of the Saints franchise, usually offers a few words of encouragement the night before Brees hits the field.
"Just really trying to reach out and make sure that I knew that he was thinking about me, thinking about [the team] and wishing us luck and that kind of thing," Brees said, describing the texts from the elder Manning.
But Archie delivered a different message in late December, 2006.
It was the night before Brees and the Saints played Archie's son Eli and the Giants.
"His text was, ‘You’re on your own this week, buddy,’ " said Brees. "It was kind of funny. But Archie has always been great."
Brees may have received a similar text on Sunday as he prepared for the Giants.
Manning and Brees will go head to head in New Orleans for the second time on Monday night.
In 2009, Manning and the Giants were smoked in the Superdome, 48-27.
Both teams were 5-0 at the time.
This time, the Giants will be looking to stop a two-game losing skid and keep pace with the Cowboys in the NFC East.
Brees, of course, will be a handful for the Giants' defense.
Under Brees' guidance, the Saints' offense leads the league in yards per game (436.9), passing yards (319.4), first downs (24.5) and third-down efficiency (53.3 percent, 72 of 135). They are second in scoring at 31.3 points a game.
He currently ranks among the top 10 in the league in completion percentage, passing yards, touchdowns and quarterback rating. And he's led the Giants to a 6-4 record despite a ground game that ranks 31st in the league.
"Just from afar, watching some of the games on film when we play similar opponents and that kind of thing, I think Eli’s had a great season," Brees said. "I think he’s playing very well."
Brees learned early in his time with the Saints that New Orleans is a Manning town.
"Archie, obviously having played here and lived here ever since and being very involved with the community and Eli and Peyton [Manning] both, with everything that they’ve accomplished. People definitely take a lot of pride in saying those guys are from New Orleans," Brees said.
But they also take pride in saying Brees is their quarterback.
It will be interesting to see how many cheers Eli gets in his hometown on Monday night.