Tom Pelissero, USA Today Sports
NEW ORLEANS -- Drew Brees says the pursuit of a second Super Bowl ring is "absolutely" his primary motivation to keep playing as he enters his 14th NFL season – and the New Orleans Saints' star quarterback doesn't see any reason he can't get it this coming February.
"We have as good a chance as anybody," Brees told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday.
"We still have a lot of work to do. But I know this: we are an extremely well-coached football team. We've got one of the best head coaches in the league, Sean Payton. We've got the best fan base in the league. And I think we've shown consistent performance over the last eight years.
"Why not the New Orleans Saints? Tell me why we can't win the championship."
They beat the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFC wild-card playoff in January – just the second postseason win for the Saints since their title run after the 2009 season – and then lost 23-15 to the eventual champion Seattle Seahawks in a game that didn't really feel that close.
The Saints have since retooled, moving on from four members of the defense that helped them win Super Bowl XLIV, adding coveted free agent Jairus Byrd and Champ Bailey to the secondary and also tweaking the offense with the releases of veterans Darren Sproles and Lance Moore.
Star tight end Jimmy Graham has been gone, too, though Brees said he remains confident Graham's contract fight will be resolved before Week 1. If anything, Brees said, all the roster upheaval would only make a second title that much more meaningful.
"It's one thing to have one (ring). It's a completely different thing to have two, especially when they would be five or more years apart," said Brees, who spoke by phone while promoting the Can-Am Spyder sport-touring vehicle.
"It's not like you win back-to-back championships with pretty much the same team and players, same core players. We've got a lot of different core players now that were not there in '09, so this will be a completely new team, completely new challenge. That's what keeps it fun."
At age 35, Brees doesn't have forever for that new team to find its identity. But he doesn't think he's running out of time either, despite a Can-Am Spyder ad campaign that spoofs him retiring to get around a clause in his contract prohibiting him from riding a motorcycle.
Brees' real-life contract runs through 2016. And while he admitted to reflecting on his longevity this offseason, he reiterated Tuesday he can see himself playing beyond that.
"As long as I'm healthy and playing at a high level and having fun, then I'm going to play as long as I can and there will be plenty of time for that stuff," Brees said.
"If I can play five more years and be 40 years old when I retire, I'm still a young man. I'd be ancient in the football world, I guess. But I'd be a young man in the grand scheme of life with all the opportunity in the world to do those other things when I'm done."