12:43 PM ET
Mike TriplettESPN Staff Writer
- Covered Saints for eight years at New Orleans Times-Picayune
- Previously covered LSU football, San Francisco 49ers
- Iowa native and University of Iowa graduate
Drew Brees said Wednesday on “The Ellen Show” that he thinks “the American people need sports right now.” The New Orleans Saints quarterback is also eager to return to the field this fall so he can compete against new NFC South rival Tom Brady.
“Yeah, well, the division just got a little bit better, didn’t it?” Brees said with a laugh when asked about Brady signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “And in addition to that, Teddy Bridgewater — who played so well for us with the Saints last year when I got hurt — he’s now the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. So our division has Teddy Bridgewater, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan and myself with the Saints.
“It’s always been a very challenging division, and it just kicked up a notch.”
Brees and his wife, Brittany, discussed a variety of topics with host Ellen DeGeneres, including home-schooling their four children and their $5 million pledge to help Louisiana get through the coronavirus pandemic.
Brees said he hopes that sports can return and be part of the recovery process.
“That’s typically something that’s really brought us through a lot of tough situations throughout our country,” Brees said. “I think people have been able to lean on their local sports teams or national teams to just unite them and get their minds off the challenges of daily life or daily struggle.
“We don’t even have that right now, and I think that’s another reason why this is so tough. And obviously we hope that football can be back to normal — or this can be back to normal so that we can play real football.”
Brees talked about the possibility of playing games in empty stadiums, saying he had never thought about the idea of playing without fans and that it would be “really weird.”
“From Texas high school football, through college in the Big Ten, to games now in the Superdome, you’re used to those loud, electric atmospheres,” Brees said. “And so I think it would be really weird. Maybe you just click in and you’re in the zone.
“But I tell you where the fans really help is whenever you get hit and knocked down and you’re wondering what happened, you just listen to the sound of the fans and they usually tell you whether the ball was complete or not. So that was one big benefit; obviously, we miss out on that. But it would be really weird. I hope we’re obviously beyond that, and we can get back to that level of normalcy.”