Brees was the MVP of the 2010 Super Bowl as the Saints won their first NFL title, but he was honored Saturday for his strong community involvement and most importantly his personal faith in Jesus Christ.
"You've heard a lot today about faith, family and football, but I've found in my life that without the first two priorities, than the third (football) would not be possible.
"My faith has given me everything and football would not be possible without it."
Brees' story of injury in San Diego, his move to New Orleans and his personal recovery, which mirrored the region's comeback from Hurricane Katrina, has been told many times, but Brees said it would not have been possible without God.
"We all have different journeys in our walk with Christ, but He always puts a purpose in our life," Brees said. "Adversity is in everybody's life ... and with God, you know it happens for a reason."
Brees added he has "the platform and the responsibility to share with others."
The sold-out crowd of 2,000 was also treated to a tribute to sports coaching legend Tom Landry, as his wife Alicia and his son Tom, Jr., represented their late father. Former Dallas wide receiver Drew Pearson said the Christian legacy of Landry had a significant impact on him.
Past winners of the Bart Starr award said Brees was being honored not for his considerable football ability but for his faith in Christ and his desire to help others.
"My mom always told me if you get the Bart Starr award you need to have Jesus in your eyes and that's the way I look at it," former Dallas Cowboy Darren Woodson, a former award winner, said.
Added another former award winner, Steve Largent, "I have four kids and I hope when they look at me, they won't see me as a receiver, but someone who loves Jesus Christ."
Art Stricklin is a Dallas-based sports correspondent.
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