Later, Daniel laughs about it, but there’s no mistaking that Brees’ always-on, game-time intensity can catch even his friends by surprise.
“That’s just the way he is, man, and we wouldn’t want it any other way,” Daniel says. “I know he really is trying to make me better.”
More than the way all men in his presence defer to him, or the omnipresent urgency of his voice, what you always notice about Brees are his eyes—bright spheres of sharp, crystal blue, focusing like lasers on whatever the task at hand might be. They make no distinction between looking deep downfield in the Super Bowl or telling the Men’s Fitness photographer where to stand to get the best pictures. It’s an intensity that brings friends and teammates into the moment with him. Likewise, it’s not hard to imagine how many a young defensive back lost his nerve through the error of making eye contact with him.
By all accounts, this focus is unshakable. Multitasking—that 21st-century buzzword meant to be a positive character trait of the highly successful—is of little interest to Brees. He doesn’t steal a glimpse of an ESPN story about him that’s airing in the gym during his workout, and he doesn’t futz around with his iPhone during conversation. Whatever he’s doing at that moment is truly the most important thing in his world.
“I’ve always been somebody who puts a lot on my plate,” Brees says, “and the fact is you have to be able to manage your time extremely well and compartmentalize at times. You have to find a way to bear down and focus on that one task at one time. It just has to get done.”