Saints quarterback Drew Brees is looking to lead his team to its second Super Bowl championship in franchise history. The team will get that much closer this Sunday when the Saints play the Rams in the NFC Championship at 3:05 pm ET.
New Orleans' first Super Bowl title came in 2010, when the Saints, with Brees at the helm, beat the Indianapolis Colts.
But the 40-year-old quarterback and his team haven't always been on top: When Brees first joined the Saints in 2006, the team was coming off a dismal 3-13 season.
It was during that low point when Brees cemented his leadership, his former teammate Steve Gleason tells ESPN. "We were meeting as a team," Gleason recalls of the start to the 2006 season. "And as Coach [Sean] Payton was wrapping up, unplanned and unannounced, Drew said, 'Hey, Coach, can I talk to the team for a bit without the coaches?' ... He was willing to stand in front of uncertain teammates and set lofty, even outrageous goals, for a team that had gone 3-13 the year before."
"I remember being nervous for him," Gleason continues. "Drew listed the characteristics that he saw as vital to achieve the goal he set for us: courage, resilience, poise, discipline, unity, etc. Not only that, as he listed each characteristic, he talked about players in the room who embodied those characteristics. The team was captivated. We had our leader."
That year, the Saints not only improved their record, they went 10-6 and won their division.