Power Players

Drew Brees reveals the daily routine he hopes will let him play football until he's 45

Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints runs off the field after beating the Atlanta Falcons in overtime at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Daniel Shirey | Getty Images

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a Super Bowl-winner in his 18th season with the NFL.

At 39, he's roughly 13 years older than the average player in the NFL, according to ESPN. But the star quarterback has no plans to leave the field any time soon.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Brees says that he plans to continue playing football until he's 45, and wants to win at least one more Super Bowl. To make this possible, he follows a strict daily routine that includes mental preparation, physical conditioning and a healthy dose of what some might call superstition.

For Brees, everything has to add up — literally. He performs 53 reps of various core exercises every day, because that's the number of the next Super Bowl. For a long time, he completed numbers of reps and throws for the day that could be evenly divided by nine, his jersey number.

"I feel like I'm constantly counting," he says. "It has to hit a certain number. If I get that number in my head, then I'm like, 'I'm not stopping until I get to this number.' And that number on a daily basis might have a different significance."

Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints throws a pass during the first half against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on January 1, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Maddie Meyer | Getty Images

"I know where I'm going to be at a specific time," he says. "I know what I'm going to be doing; I know what needs to be accomplished for me to feel confident and go out there and play at the highest level."

Take a look at his schedule for the week:


Having played on Sunday or Monday, Brees allows himself a bit of quiet time in the morning before spending two hours checking emails, completing personal tasks and reading one of the 20 or so books he has on his reading list. In 2017, he told The Huffington Post that he usually wakes up during the off-season around 4 or 4:30 a.m. so that he can get things done before his kids wake up. During the season, he says he wakes up around 5 a.m.


On Wednesday, he studies film, including first and second downs and the running game plan.


On Thursday, he studies third down plays, looking for ways to improve.


Fridays are for studying red zone plays, and looking at yard shortages and goal line plays.


While Saturdays are usually a day off for NFL players, Brees sometimes creates his own practice sessions. Zach Strief, Brees' former teammate, tells The Washington Post that a few years ago when the team was asked to gather on a Saturday before a home game, he found Brees in the weight room practicing his plays for the next day.

"For a half-hour on a Saturday, when most everyone else had prepped enough and moved on, Brees kept at it: a new play, how the defense might react and reactions and adjustments at game speed," said Strief.

Brees' extreme focus has paid off. He has 11 Pro Bowls and led the NFL in passing yards for seven seasons. Earlier this year, he became the NFL's all-time passing leader, breaking Peyton Manning's record of 71,940 career passing yards, according to ESPN.

"It's hard for me to reflect too much right now because my career's not done," he told ESPN in October. "There are still goals to be accomplished, there are still challenges to be met. So I'm still very focused on that. And yet when something like this happens, and there's so many people that are responsible for that, that can be a part of that, that makes me happy."

This is an updated version of a story that originally appeared on Oct. 6, 2018.

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Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints runs off the field after beating the Atlanta Falcons in overtime at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Daniel Shirey | Getty Images
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