New Orleans Saints Super Bowl-winning quarterback Drew Brees will be the featured speaker of the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl Kickoff Dinner.
The Kickoff Dinner will take place Tuesday, June 12, in the Captain Shreve Ballroom at the Shreveport Convention Center. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for a cocktail hour, and the program will begin at 6:45.
Tickets to the Kickoff Dinner – which had been hosted as the Kickoff Luncheon the previous eight years – are $50 for individuals or $400 for tables of eight. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl office at (318) 221-0712 or toll free at (888) 414-BOWL. They can also be purchased online at independencebowl.org/shop/kickoff-luncheon/
Brees has been a co-owner and partner of Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar since 2015.
“We are excited to welcome Drew Brees to Shreveport for our ninth-annual Kickoff event,” 2018 Walk-On’s Independence Bowl chairman Trey Giglio said. “Drew has a distinguished career on the field, and has a significant impact off the field as an ambassador for Louisianans.
“We are honored to have him join a list of some of the best players and coaches in football to speak at our annual event.”
Brees led Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, to a 16-0 record and a state championship as a senior, earning 5A Offensive Player of the Year honors as well.
Despite his successes, he was not heavily recruited. He accepted a scholarship offer from Purdue and proved that he could continue to have success at the next level. As a three-year starter for the Boilermakers, he finished his career with 11,792 yards passing and 90 touchdowns, and he still holds numerous school records.
He led Purdue to a Big Ten Championship in 2000, and its first Rose Bowl appearance since 1967. That year, he also won the Maxwell Award as the nation’s best all-around player. He was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year in 1998 and 2000, the Alamo Bowl MVP in 1998 and the Outback Bowl MVP in 1999.
After a highly successful collegiate career, the San Diego Chargers selected Brees with the first pick of the second round in the 2001 NFL Draft. Brees had mixed results in his first few seasons, but blossomed in his final two years with the Chargers.
He signed a free agent deal with the New Orleans Saints in 2006, and quickly became a fan favorite of the people of New Orleans and all of Louisiana.
He became the face of the franchise as the team became a beacon of hope for the city and region still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Three years later, he led the team to its first Super Bowl victory.
Ten of Brees’ 11 Pro Bowl appearances have come as a member of the Saints. In his 12 seasons as a Saint, he has led the NFL in passing yards seven times and touchdown passes four times. He is a three-time first-team All-Pro selection and two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
He has topped 4,000 yards passing in a season each year with the Saints, which is an NFL record for most consecutive seasons with 4,000 yards. He holds a number of other league records, including: most 300-yard passing games in a season (13), most consecutive 300-yard games (nine, twice), most completions in a season (471) and most consecutive games with a touchdown pass (54).
In his career, he has completed 6,222 passes for 70,445 yards and 488 touchdowns. He is third in league history in touchdown passes, yards and attempts, and second in completions.
His on-field accolades are numerous, but Brees has prided himself on also being a pillar in the community, as evidenced by his being named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2006 for his work in the rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina.
He and his wife Brittany founded the Brees Dream Foundation in 2003 and have contributed almost $25 million to “help improve the quality of life for cancer patients and provide care, education and opportunities for children and families in need.”
Brees joins a distinguished list of featured speakers for the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl’s annual Kickoff event, including fellow quarterbacks Terry Bradshaw and Archie Manning, legendary coaches Bobby Bowden, Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier, and all-time greats Jason Witten, Emmitt Smith and Herschel Walker.
— Stephan Nolet, Walk-On’s Independence Bowl Director of Public and Media Relations