Tampa – Regardless whether it is statistics, current mortgage rates, the fluctuating stock market or the monthly minutes of his cell phone, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees knows his numbers.
The Black-and-Gold's signal-caller, who passed for a team-record 5,069 yards in 2008 (the second-most in NFL history), hosted students from a local high school today in Tampa to help teach them the art of fiscal responsibility.
Brees, in conjunction with Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Warrick Dunn (a Baton Rouge native), Visa, the NFL and the NFL Players Association kicked off Super Bowl XLIII by playing a different type of football-"Financial Football." The initiative spearheads an effort to improve the money management skills of teenagers by distributing free copies of "Financial Football," an NFL-themed, interactive, money management video game.
The program is part of Visa's nation-wide educational initiative with the NFL and PLAYERS INC., "Financial Football" helps students tackle their financial futures via a computer-based game accompanied by a classroom curriculum and can also be downloaded for free on cell phones.
Brees began the session in front of nearly 60 students from Armwood High School in Florida and took a few moments to talk about decisions he made financially as a college student that he regrets.
"I walked onto campus as a freshman at Purdue and saw all these credit card booths and they were giving away free things if you just filled out an application," Brees said. 'My motto was: if it's free, it's for me.' The next thing I knew I had about 10 credit cards."
Brees said that at first he enjoyed the liberty and the freedom that he felt with the new found source of wealth. At least until the bills started to roll in, he said. "Then I had a problem," he stated rather matter-of-factly. "I had bills and no way to make the payments. It took me a long time to dig out of the hole that I created for myself and if effected my credit score."
Brees also playfully warned the students of the hidden dangers associated with cell phones and text messaging. "It all costs money and when you decide to switch services and phones, you have to remember that you have to fulfill your obligation to the previous provider you signed up with," Brees said.
"It doesn't matter whether you make minimum wage or millions of dollars," the Saints' quarterback said. "If you don't learn to budget, save, invest and pay your bills one time, the consequences can be devastating."
For more information on "Financial Football" or for information of Practical Money Skills for Life, please log on to www.practicalmoneyskills.com.
Notes: Brees's wife, Brittany, recently gave birth to the couple's first child, son Baylen. Brees reported that both mother and son are doing very well and that everyone is healthy … New Orleans Times-Picayune lead sports columnist Peter Finney penned a fantastic article today citing the relationship between Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist Cortez Kennedy and his relationship with the Saints. For a link to the article, please click here.