Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cradle of Quarterbacks

On Tuesday evening, David, Shylah, Matthew and I went to Purdue to the National Football Foundation Honors Dinner, "Celebrating Our Legends VI." Honored guests included high school scholar-athletes, Hall of Fame Selection Mark Hermann, Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award winner Joe McConnell, and Gold Medallion recipients, Purdue's Super Bowl Champion Quarterbacks, Len Dawson, Bob Griese, and Drew Brees. We didn't want to miss that!

Many Purdue former and current football players were in attendance, along with the football and basketball coaching staff, and a special current basketball player who is nursing a sore knee. Matthew was able to ask Robbie Hummel to sign his jersey. We sure hope his knee is getting stronger every day.

Matthew thought he was pret-ty tall, so Robbie bent down a bit for the picture.

David and Shylah wanted to get pictures with the coaches to frame for their Purdue-themed bathroom. It will remind them of home while they're living in Tarheel/Blue Devil country. Joe Tiller and Danny Hope were happy to comply.

Gene Keady and Matt Painter posed for a photo as well. That's Mark Hermann just over the shoulder of Coach Keady.

The three Super Bowl Champ quarterbacks were set up to offer a photo opportunity to those who purchased tickets to the special reception. The four of us had our picture taken with Len Dawson, Bob Griese, and Drew Brees, and we will receive copies of the photo in a couple weeks. Obviously, I couldn't take a picture of THAT, so I took a similar one of Joe and Arnette Tiller with the quarterbacks. I will have to post our picture when it comes. I was standing by Drew, in case you were wondering. :)

Drew and Joe seemed to be enjoying a little catching up.

Of course I had to try to get a picture of the brand new Super Bowl ring!

There were four little boys at this reception, and they each had a football that they asked Drew to sign during the photo time. He told them he would do it when the pictures were finished. When we saw that the photos were almost done, we moved to that part of the room to try to catch him on his way out to the dinner downstairs. The man in charge/escort/doorman/guard kept insisting that there would be no autographs. We waited patiently for Drew to finish his visiting, and when they tried to whisk him out the door, he said, "I'm going to take care of these guys first." He stopped, asked each boy his name, and personalized and signed each of their footballs. You had to know he would. He's just that kind of guy.

Matthew and I had stopped at the bookstore and purchased a couple of books for Drew's son, Baylen. After Drew signed the ball, Matthew gave him the books, and I was able to get a quick picture. Priceless!

The dinner downstairs was for an intimate group of 800 or so, and filled the north and south ballrooms in the Purdue Memorial Union. Most of my pictures from the dinner are of the screen, which was closer to me than the stage. Each of the SBC quarterbacks had the opportunity to answer some questions and share special memories of Purdue and the NFL. Len Dawson shared about beating Notre Dame. Always a highlight!

Bob Griese was entertaining as he shared a special memory of calling the National Championship game at the Rose Bowl when his son Brian was quarterback for Michigan. He was working with Keith Jackson, and as the game wound down he recalls Jackson saying, "Whoa Nellie, I think I know who our MVP will be, and I'm standing right next to his proud papa!"

I took a few shots of the stage with my zoom, but we were waaay back there... in the next ballroom. This is Bob Griese.

And Drew, of course.

Drew shared the news that they are expecting a little brother for Baylen in October. He also told about the whirlwind days following the Super Bowl, and all that he was able to experience. He laughed when he told about his son Baylen, who, at 17 months old, has no idea of the magnitude of the things he has done in the last few months. He says they imagine him at show and tell some day saying, "...and here I am on the cover of Sports Illustrated."

Drew told a bit about his Brees Dream Foundation, and the book he has written, Coming Back Stronger, due to be released July 6. He will be back for a book signing on July 9 at Meier in Lafayette and Follet's Purdue West Bookstore. I've got mine pre-ordered, do you?

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I bet you were on cloud 9 ;)