When Drew Brees led the New Orleans Saints to their first Super Bowl championship four years ago, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was cheering him on. Wilson has been an unabashed admirer of Brees for years. He even used to wear a Saints hat when he was in college.
And now that Wilson has graduated on to the game's biggest stage himself, he turned to his idol for a little advice.
“We've been in communication over the past week, just about the experience,” Wilson said when asked about Brees on Sunday after arriving in New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII. “Like I said, he knows I look up to him. He's a great individual and he was just talking about the experience, and it's no different. The biggest thing is taking care of all tickets and taking care of all family early in the week last week, which I was able to do last Monday and just focus on the game.”
Wilson said his father first turned his attention toward Brees when Wilson was in middle school and Brees was at Purdue. Wilson naturally gravitated toward Brees at a young age because they share one obvious trait in common -- their height. Brees (6-foot) and Wilson (5-11) are currently the NFL's two shortest starting quarterbacks.
Wilson said in the past that he has studied just about every throw Brees has ever made in the NFL, trying to learn from him and pattern his game after him. But obviously it's the other traits they share in common that have brought them both to this level -- leadership, determination and work ethic, an uncanny ability to see the field and make quick decisions under fire.
That's why Brees has quickly become an admirer of his younger challenger, as well, after they first met at last year's Pro Bowl -- even though it was Wilson's Seahawks that kept the Saints from getting back to the Super Bowl this year.