this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Drew Brees, Peyton Manning take center stage at Pro Bowl By Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. - Drew Brees and Peyton Manning squared off face-to-face in Sun Life Stadium on Sunday night, but they were a whole lot ...
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|02-01-2010, 09:53 AM||#1|
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Drew Brees, Peyton Manning take center stage at Pro Bowl
By Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune
MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. - Drew Brees and Peyton Manning squared off face-to-face in Sun Life Stadium on Sunday night, but they were a whole lot friendlier than they promise to be on this same field next Sunday in Super Bowl XLIV
The quarterbacks for the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts were on hand for the Pro Bowl, along with the rest of their all-star teammates. They didn't play in the game, but they were introduced before kickoff and got together for a halftime interview during the ESPN broadcast.
The closest they came to trash-talking was when Manning inadvertently referred to Saints safety Darren Sharper as "Jamie," his brother's name.
Otherwise, the top two finishers in this season's league MVP race lavished each other with praise.
"He's fun to watch on film," Brees said of Manning, who won his fourth MVP this season and is now seeking his second Super Bowl ring, while Brees is aiming for his first. "It's an impressive offense, and he's one of the best of all time."
When Manning was asked if it helps the Colts that they won the Super Bowl on this same field three years ago, he said, "I don't think just because you're staying at the same hotel it's going to help you stop Drew Brees and the passing attack. I think we are playing on a level playing field. I am excited to be back here. This is a great venue for it, great football history down here. So we are just excited to be a part of it."
The Saints had seven players in attendance Sunday - Brees, Sharper, safety Roman Harper, linebacker Jonathan Vilma, guard Jahri Evans, offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb and center Jonathan Goodwin.
They were like an elite group on a reconnaissance mission for the rest of their teammates, who are scheduled to arrive shortly before 11 a.m. Central today before holding their first practice this afternoon at the University of Miami.
They were introduced along with the actual participants of the Pro Bowl, though they were dressed in jeans, golf shirts, rain jackets and ball caps. They exchanged high fives and handshakes with their teammates on the NFC squad. Goodwin, Evans, Harper and Vilma were flipping open cameras to videotape the experience.
"I'm really excited about being here," said Stinchcomb, a first-time Pro Bowl selection who was perfectly happy to skip the game. "It is such an honor to be recognized for the Pro Bowl, but ultimately this is a work week, and the real game is next week."
It's not clear if the Saints' players were being held to any curfew restrictions. Darren Sharper was the advertised host of the Making History Pro Bowl After Party, but it wasn't clear how involved he and his teammates were in the festivities.
Most of the Pro Bowlers insisted that they were treating this like a business trip, with the real celebrating ideally being saved for next Sunday.
When Brees was asked what New Orleans has been like since last Sunday's NFC championship game win over Minnesota, he said, "It's been crazy; it's been nuts. The Who Dat Nation came out in full force during the playoffs to help us get to this point. Since then it has just been euphoria. So, obviously, we are excited to be here. We definitely have a job to finish."
The Saints and Colts served as guinea pigs this year, as the NFL experimented for the first time with holding the Pro Bowl the week before the Super Bowl. It wasn't an ideal set-up for the two championship teams, with Colts President Bill Polian being especially vocal about what a "stupid" idea and a disruption it would be to split up the teams during such an important weekend.
But Manning was gracious when asked how he was balancing the responsibilities Sunday night.
"This is a fun evening," Manning said. "Getting to see all these guys, these great players, guys I've gotten to know over the years playing in the Pro Bowl, I've formed some special friendships with these guys. It's fun to be here. It's always fun to play in the game.
"Obviously, I'm excited tonight to know that I have a real game next week."
Manning said he feels good about the first week of his team's preparation for the Saints. He said, "It's important not to peak too early" because of the two-week period between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. But he said the extra time is welcomed for this particular match-up.
"This is a tough team to get to know," Manning said. "You really can't study them enough. They give you so many different looks and it's so important to use the entire time."
Colts receiver Reggie Wayne joked that Manning has "absolutely too much time on his hands."
"On our way down, he was watching film, so that right there tells you be ready for anything," Wayne said.
Sharper and Vilma both talked about what a tough task it will be to defend Manning, but Sharper did take an optimistic approach.
"He throws the ball a lot, so that's always going to give me an opportunity to try to read some of the routes he likes to throw," Sharper said. "He is so tough to beat. It's hard to predict when that could happen. But if he throws it up 50 times, I think we'll come down with a couple."
This field has been good to the Saints this season.
They played here against the Miami Dolphins in October, where they staged one of the greatest comebacks in franchise history, rallying from a 24-3 deficit to win 46-34.
Brees said he thinks that experience helped the Saints get here this week, in more ways than one.
"Certainly, when we were coming here, knowing that this was going to be the Super Bowl site, we all talked about, 'Hey guys, let's visualize being here in February,'" Brees said. "Sure enough, we came up with a big win there. We felt that locker room atmosphere after the game and said we'd love to be back here and feel that feeling again."
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|02-01-2010, 10:18 AM||#2|
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Gulfport, MS
Blog Entries: 1
Re: Drew Brees, Peyton Manning take center stage at Pro Bowl
They both seemed to be really uncomfortable, when they were getting interviewed. In fact, they looked like they were forced to do that whole thing! Game faces are on, and it's only Sunday. Freaking great.
|02-01-2010, 11:44 AM||#3|
Join Date: Jan 2010
Re: Drew Brees, Peyton Manning take center stage at Pro Bowl
I wouldn't read anything into the interview. After media tuesday, it will be all business for both teams.