New Orleans Saints star quarterback Drew Brees discussed a host of topics, including the potential return of the NFL and the role of sports in overcoming the coronavirus crisis in the US, during a wide-ranging interview on The Ellen Show on Wednesday.
Brees and his wife Brittany, who joined him for the appearance, detailed how the family is coping with home schooling and staving off boredom, before host Ellen Degeneres turned the topic to football.
"We're thrilled you signed for two more years," said Ellen. "Yay. I think we were all hoping that was the case. Now, what's going to happen? You're supposed to be training soon, at some point. Will you play games without fans? How's that going to work?"
Brees admitted he was put off by the proposal initially.
"You know, when that was first said -- and obviously they were talking about basketball when they first started saying that, 'Hey we might still play the games, but we can't have the crowds, so no fans in the stands' -- that was the first time I ever thought about playing a really meaningful game in a situation where you don't have any fans.
"From Texas high school football, through college in the Big 10, to games now in the SuperDome, you're used to those loud, electric atmospheres, and so I think it would be really weird. Maybe you just click in and you're in the zone."
Interestingly, Brees says having fans present provides not only energy for players -- but even a potential strategic advantage.
"I'll tell you where the fans really help, is whenever you get hit and knocked down and you're wondering what happened, you just listen to the sound of the fans, and they usually tell whether the ball was complete or not. ... But it would be really weird. I hope we're obviously beyond that, and we can get back to that level of normalcy."
The 19-year veteran said Americans need their sports fix now more than ever during the difficult times.
"I think the American people need sports right now. That's typically something that has really brought us through a lot of tough situations throughout our country, I think people have been able to lean on their local sports teams or national teams, just to unite them and get their mind off the challenges of daily life and daily struggle, and we don't even have that right now.