Coming Back Stronger by Drew Brees & Drew Brees

Coming Back Stronger by Drew Brees & Drew Brees

Author:Drew Brees & Drew Brees
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781414346885
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Chapter Ten

Winning One for the People

On paper, the week leading up to our first home game was just like any other game week. We spent the same amount of time preparing as we had for Green Bay. As usual, we showed up for practice, weight training, and team meetings. We watched film like we always did to prepare for the Falcons. But there was something different going on under the surface that week, and we felt it the moment we walked into the Dome.

On the Saturday before the Atlanta matchup, Coach Payton switched our practice venue from the Saints’ facility near the airport to the Superdome. This was our last practice to go over our game plan and fine-tune our attack for Monday night. He also changed the time of the practice to the evening so we could simulate the game experience. When we walked in under the lights, a kind of reverent hush fell over us all. Even under ordinary circumstances, the Superdome at night is a pretty impressive sight. There are seventy thousand empty seats, and the stadium is eerily quiet. And that night it held more drama than usual. Those walls held the echoes of what this city had come through already and where it hoped to end up.

I had never set foot in the Superdome, let alone played a game there. For returning team members, it was their first time in the Dome post-Katrina. Sean’s purpose for busing the whole team to the stadium was partly to let us try out the new turf that had been installed. But more important, he wanted us to experience the feel of the Dome before the game. He knew it would be better for any initial shock or awe to come now instead of on Monday night. It was going to be a big moment. Besides, he had something else up his sleeve for that practice under the lights.

Sean was right—we needed that trial run. It was emotional for all of us to walk onto the field and see how much work had been done to repair the Superdome. New seats had been installed for broken ones, all the video screens had been replaced, and new turf had been put in. They had used the latest type of artificial grass, which is thicker and more like real grass than what’s used at most stadiums. Locker rooms, vending areas, bathrooms—everything sparkled and shined. It looked and felt like a brand-new stadium.

Standing on that field going through our drills, we couldn’t help but think about what had happened here a year earlier. People had died at the Superdome, and in some ways the spot was like a refugee camp for a long time. I had seen pictures of water dripping from the ceiling and people huddled together under blankets. They were sleeping on cots scattered across the field where we now stood. Outside the Dome, thousands of people had searched for loved ones or scoured through the trash and debris for something to drink or eat.


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