NFL Network Analyst*and former Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Rams running backMarshall Faulk *can relate to what the New Orleans Saints will deal with this upcoming season as defending Super Bowl Champions. The New Orleans native won a Super Bowl title with the Rams in 2000 and experienced the over-the-top media tour and expectations that accompany earning the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Faulk talked to NewOrleansSaints.com earlier this week about dealing with the high expectations, "repeat" questions and what he saw out of his hometown team during his visit to training camp.
NOS.COM: You visited Saints training camp a couple of weeks ago. What did you see out of this squad that impressed you the most?
MF: "What makes you think they will have a chance (at repeating) is that they have 20 of 22 starters coming back from last year and so many other guys that can contribute. The thing that normally derails a team are injuries and they faced injuries last year but still found a way to be the best team in the league. They played the best at the right time. They have a lot of things going for them but I always say and the question is 'how hungry are the guys that now have the championship?'"
NOS.COM: After you won a Super Bowl with the Rams in 2000, how did you and your teammates deal with the constant "repeat" questions and concerns of a "Super Bowl hangover?"
MF: "That is what you play for – to be Super Bowl champions. You play for it and after you get a taste of it, you want to get it back. At the same time, you want to enjoy it. So how do you kind of not look in the review mirror and not think about what the last three or four months have been like for you. You have to understand it's a new year and what's done is done."
NOS.COM: You got a chance to sit down and talk with QB Drew Brees during your training camp visit. What did you see or hear from him that intrigued you the most?
MF: "Drew is focused. I have known Drew for a long time. I was playing for the Colts when he was at Purdue so I have watched him for a while. I have got to know him pretty well. I think this is a great opportunity for him and I believe he will only get better."
NOS.COM: You experienced the same media blitz that Brees is experiencing after winning a Super Bowl. Did you give Drew any advice on dealing with the extra attention?
MF: "Drew has always had great balance between his football life and family life. Now, even after he has won a Super Bowl, I think the balance will continue. He understands where his focus needs to be. I think for him, it was definitely a challenge for him this offseason because there are those fun things you want to do but you understand what comes first – family then football. After that, you can enjoy the fun things and I think he has done a great job of that."
NOS.COM: As a New Orleans native and growing up as a Saints fan, what did it mean for you to witness your hometown team win their first Super Bowl?
MF: "It was great. I grew up on "When The Saints Go Marching In" by Louis Armstrong. As a Saints fan, you never thought it could happen. To have it happen when I was there and to experience it as a fan on the field during the presentation, it was fun. Regardless of the fact that I played the game for 13 years and experienced winning a Super Bowl, it's a whole different feeling to be a fan and watch your childhood team accomplish the ultimate goal. It was a whole different feeling."