Drew Brees and Joe Burrow

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (left) said he grew up a Saints fan in Ohio, and it was because of Drew Brees (AP photos)

As Joe Burrow collected his latest pair of awards to go along with a record-setting season, he made sure to send back some love for the No. 9 that worked his way into Louisiana football lore long before he even considered donning LSU's colors. 

As Burrow made his way on-stage to collect the Maxwell Award to honor college football's best player, he was asked about the praise heaped upon him by longtime Saints quarterback Drew Brees earlier in the day.

"Growing up in Ohio, somehow I was a Saints fan and it was because of Drew Brees. I idolized him growing up," Burrow said. "I always watched every Saints game that I could when they were on TV in Ohio, and that just means so much to me."

Brees was a Maxwell Award winner himself in the 2000 season as Purdue's quarterback, and he said there are several reasons to be a Joe Burrow fan, including the fact that he also wears No. 9. But he's also a fan of Burrow's story, which began at Ohio State before his shifting course brought him to Baton Rouge.

“You want to root for guys like that, that have to travel that tough road, face some adversity and overcome it, and come out better on the other side. He’s been fun to watch," Brees said Thursday afternoon. "It’s fun to watch him operate in that offense. Obviously there’s some carryover from [LSU assistant coach] Joe Brady being here and going there. You see certain things at times and you’re like, ‘wait a minute, that looks familiar.’ But he’s executing it to perfection, he’s making the most out of every play, out of every situation.”


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Burrow also landed the Davey O'Brien Award to honor the nation's best quarterback, which Brees missed out on in 2000 as the award went to Florida State's Chris Weinke. The LSU quarterback is also the prohibitive favorite to become LSU's second-ever Heisman winner this weekend. 

But while the award parallels ended at Maxwell, the No. 9s have one major thing in common: championship aspirations this season. 

Brees is next in action Monday as against the Colts as he leads the 10-3 Saints' charge toward the playoffs. New Orleans is still deep in the race for the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed with three games left in the regular season, but the Saints have already having clinched the NFC South title.

Burrow and LSU has some time off after winning the program's first SEC Championship since 2011, but they're back in action on Dec. 28 when they'll face Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl for the Tigers' first-ever appearance in the College Football Playoff semifinals. 

Despite the heavy pressure and implications, Brees said he has a good feeling about LSU's chances. 

“Obviously they seem to have a great team. And what I mean by that is they seem to really play for one another," Brees said. "They seem to really feel like they’ve got something special, and I hope they go all the way.”

“You want to root for guys like that, that have to travel that tough road, face some adversity and overcome it, and come out better on the other side. He’s been fun to watch. It’s fun to watch him operate in that offense. Obviously there’s some carryover from Joe Brady being here and going there. You see certain things at times and you’re like, ‘wait a minute, that looks familiar.’ But he’s executing it to perfection, he’s making the most out of every play, out of every situation. He’s highly efficient.”

Email Jeff Nowak at jnowak@theadvocate.com

Twitter: @Jeff_Nowak