ThePostGame: What were your thoughts about the replacement referees?
DREW BREES: There's no possible way you can get them trained fast enough or well enough to put them in the position ... They just don't have the instincts. This is their first go-round. They've never done this before. It's not like a seasoned, NFL referee, who we all know by name. We all know them by their first names. For that matter, we know these refs other occupations; we know how long they've been in the league. We've played multiple games with these guys and established a rapport. There's a relationship there and you know they are the best at what they do.
TPG: Is the team's bounty controversy still an issue with you?
BREES: They accuse us of having a bounty program and all this other stuff, and yet they have no evidence to really back that up. To be honest with you, I'm really focused on the season and trying to win football games. We've had kind of a tough start here, but we're trying to get things back on track. I'm very much focused on what I can do as a quarterback to help this team get back on track.
TPG: If you ask the average fan who the best quarterbacks in the NFL are, you will most likely hear Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, and even Cam Newton and Michael Vick seem to be talked about more than you. As a Super Bowl champion and the guy who broke Dan Marino's passing record just last year, do you feel underrated?
BREES: I try not to worry too much about that. Obviously, you want to be respected as a player, but more importantly, you want to be respected for the way that you handle yourself on and off the field and how you represent your team and your family. Those are the things that are most important to me.
TPG: So you're competing against yourself, trying to get better every day, rather than comparing yourself to the competition.
BREES: Always. Never satisfied, never complacent. Always striving for more and embracing the challenges as they come.
TPG: And you're playing for wins, not stats.
BREES: Yes, although certainly your on-the-field performance is important because it's what gives you the platform and the opportunity to do some of the things you're able to do off the field, like what we do with our foundation (The Brees Dream Foundation).
TPG: A lot of fans don't really care about the Pro Bowl, especially compared with other leagues' All-Star games. What do you think about it?
BREES: As a player, I enjoy the experience. I enjoy being around the guys, I enjoy the week -- practices, being around guys from other teams and being exposed to other offenses and coaching staffs. For me it's a learning experience. And the Pro Bowl is supposed to be a reward for a hard-fought season, for playing well.
TPG: What about the level of competition during the game?
BREES: I guess the complaint is that the level of competition is less than what people want to see. I would say that for at least the first three quarters, guys are definitely taking it easy. But when it gets to the fourth quarter, guys kick it up a notch, because everybody's competitive and everybody wants to win. But also, guys are worried about getting hurt. I hurt my elbow in the Pro Bowl back in February 2007, which is not what you want to do. And I know other guys who have gotten hurt. So there's certainly guys who, maybe their contract is up. You're telling me they're going to put themselves at risk in a game that doesn't mean anything for the rest of their career? And it's not like the NBA, MLB, where the games are midseason. Some of these guys [in the Pro Bowl] maybe haven't been practicing for four or five weeks.
TPG: What do you think could help increase the Pro Bowl's popularity?
BREES: Some people say to move the game prior to the Super Bowl. I know some of the problems could be maybe alleviated by moving the game, but I know that I enjoy the experience with the guys. Certainly when I'm playing, I'm trying to score. I'm trying to help my team win, and in the process put forward my best effort.
TPG: And I'm sure it's fun to play with all of the greatest receivers in the league.
Brees: Absolutely, it's awesome. It's a blast.
TPG: You've been a guest on "Entourage," but what are some of the other cool things that being an NFL star was allowed you to do?
BREES: "Entourage" was a cool experience. I've been able to go on five USO trips. One of them was to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which was a thrill. I got invited one morning to get up and do PT [physical training] with the Marines, which is actually what inspired our pregame chant for the 2009 season when we won the Super Bowl.
TPG: Tell me about some of the other USO trips.
BREES: I got to go skydiving with the Navy Seal Leapfrogs and the Army Golden Knights. I got to fly with the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds.
TPG: What's the significance of wearing No 9?
BREES: Ted Williams. He's a guy who I really looked up to growing up. He's a left-handed hitter. He's the best hitter of all time, in my opinion. I tried to model my swing after him. My brother and I had this little VHS tape that we used to watch every Sunday morning before church, called "The Golden Greats of Baseball." Ted Williams, No. 9, along with a lot of the other greats in baseball history. I've always been inspired by his career, his military service, in World War II and the Korean War, so my baseball number became number nine, and I just carried it over to football when I made it in the NFL.
TPG: What do you want your legacy as a football player to be?
BREES: I'm so focused on day-to-day, living in the moment. I'm hoping I can have a very long, healthy career. Play as long as I can, try to stay at as high a level as I can. When it's all said and done you can evaluate me at that point, but right now it's about making the most of every day and trying to win.
TPG: You just did a commercial for Pepsi, and we understand there's a secret involved.
BREES: Filming the commercial with Pepsi was really fun. There's a band in the commercial with me, and I'll tease you with this: I'm a member of the band for a short period of time.
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