This is an article from the Jan. 28, 2013 issue
I'M A BELIEBER
The Saints QB, who expanded his musical horizons by performing with One Direction in a Pepsi ad, will be an unofficial host when NFL fans hit the Big Easy for Super Bowl XLVII.
DAN PATRICK:You turned 34 on Jan. 15. How did you celebrate?
DREW BREES: It was also our oldest son Baylen's fourth birthday. He was born on my 30th birthday. My birthday went out the window the minute he was born. We took him to a Justin Bieber concert in New Orleans. I believe the loudest sound in the world is the piercing screams of thousands of teenage girls when Bieber walks onstage.
DP:How did the sound compare with a Saints home game?
DB: My wife is used to sitting in the Dome and hearing the fans scream every Sunday. She said [the concert] was far louder.
DP:Do you have a pregame ritual you do every week?
DB: Oh, yeah.
DP:Is it OCD?
DB: Very much so. I lay my clothes out the exact same way every time. I get dressed. I sit down and go through certain sections of the game plan. I tie my shoes the same way. I do warmups the same way with the receivers. I [put] the uniform on the same way. It's pretty sick.
DP:Why didn't the Saints make the playoffs?
DB: We didn't make the plays. I can point to at least three games. We lost our last game at home, against Carolina, but prior to that, I felt like we were playing some of our best football. Had we been able to sneak in, we would have been a tough team.
DP:Finish this sentence: If Sean Payton had been our head coach ...
DB: I really don't know how much of a difference that makes. [Payton] has an unbelievable ability to read our team and know exactly the message that needs to be communicated. We missed that. But it's hard to say how it would have affected us.
DP:Are you allowed to talk to Payton yet?
DB: I guess technically not. The rules have never been communicated clearly to us.... I haven't had any contact with him. The day after the Super Bowl, I'll call him.
DP:Has your success and Russell Wilson's rookie season changed how teams view shorter quarterbacks?
DB: That mind-set is going to be hard to break. There are some coaches with old-school philosophies [who look] for certain measurables. They don't see it any other way.
DP:Do you think Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel can play in the NFL?
DB: I don't see why not. The guy was unbelievable as a redshirt freshman. Success in college doesn't guarantee you anything in the NFL, but it seems there are a lot of intangibles that come with a guy like Johnny. Just as there are a bunch of intangibles that come with guys like Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson—guys who maybe are running a little bit different style of offense than what is traditional in the NFL, yet they are having a ton of success because they're great players.
Thunder star Kevin Durant commented on the pros and cons of social media. "[It's] very important to connect to fans and show people how normal we are," he told me. "[But] you have to be careful who you're talking to." ... NBC's Jeremy Roenick says NHL commissioner Gary Bettman gets results for owners but should be careful about damaging the sport. "I think hockey fans are going to come back," Roenick told me, "but this has to be the last [work stoppage] or he's going to have to move aside and let somebody else come in." ... I asked Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson what he learned about himself during his rookie season. "I'm gonna fight, every opportunity I get," he told me. "All I ask for is the ball with two minutes left. I love playing with the game on the line." ... NFL Network's Marshall Faulk finally explained one of the great sports mysteries. "People talk about the SI jinx or the Madden jinx," he said. "That's a very visible player who touches the football a lot. So the chance of his getting hurt is greater than [it is for] someone who's not on the cover."