Drew Brees has been named 57th Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated after his super performance helped bring a Super Bowl trophy to New Orleans.
In addition to his dominance on the gridiron, Brees has provided support to a region looking to forget the painful memory of Hurricane Katrina.
His charitable work helped him become the third NFL quarterback to capture SI's prestigious award since 2005, joining Tom Brady and Brett Favre.
Compared some of the other nominees, Brees looks like a very deserving candidate.
But should Sports Illustrated really have perpetuated the most overblown sentimental story in sports by selecting Brees as Sportsman of the Year?
The only way to clearly answer that question is to play a little point-counterpoint.
Drew Brees was the biggest reason the Saints won on the biggest stage in sports.
That makes him a deserving recipient of the award, but he wasn't the only worthy candidate.
One of the other nominees, Evan Lysacek, also embodied athletic brilliance and sportsmanship.
Lysacek became the first American male to win gold in figure skating since 1988 by defeating ice diva Evgeny Plushenko.
After it was over, Lysacek withstood an avalanche of criticism by his opponent and handled his victory with class.
It's important to remember the wide, wide world of sports extends far beyond the NFL.
Drew Brees outplayed counterpart Peyton Manning to help the Saints shock the Colts in Miami, bringing a storybook season to a memorable end last February.
Sure, his overall numbers weren't historic by any means, but Brees' efficient outing was symbolic of what he had done all season.
One way or another, he found a way to make big plays when his team needed them most.
Drew Brees doesn't have ideal size or the strongest arm.
That doesn't mean he has the skills of a third-string journeyman quarterback.
For all of his lofty accomplishments, Brees is still commonly called an overachiever who maximizes his limited talent.
Nothing is more appealing to sports fans than siding with David in the battle against Goliath.
But is Brees actually an underdog who possesses limited talent?
Not a chance.
Similarly, those scrappy Saints were applauded for pulling off a win of the mighty Colts in Miami.
In this day and age of parity in the NFL, anything can happen.
We should hardly be surprised.
After suffering a serious shoulder injury with the San Diego Chargers in 2005, Brees was set free with some experts believing he would never return to form.
Not only did he recover from his surgical procedure, he also took his game to new heights and became one of the most accurate passers in NFL history.
Brees has exhibited the kind of competitive drive that should personify a great sportsman.
Why does there always have to be a human interest story to coincide with athletic achievements?
Simply put, Drew Brees is a fabulous football player who put up great numbers while leading his team to a championship.
There is no reason to dwell on the image of him holding young son Baylen as confetti rained down.
Based on SI's take on Brees, he won the award as much for his relationship with New Orleans as his accomplishments on the field.
It's a script we have read all too often.
There is a difference between the media crafting a sentimental story and actual charitable effort.
Brees and wife Brittany deserve to be praised for what they have done to raise money for cancer research and care.
Since forming the Brees Dream Foundation in 2006, the couple has worked to raise more than $6 million for the cause.
Not all great athletes are as selfless as Drew Brees.
We've heard the quotes over and over again.
Brees has said he believes he came to New Orleans for a reason, that he needed New Orleans as badly as the city needed him.
He has been praised for embodying the spirit of the Big Easy.
In order to come back to earth, we need to remember what happens when great athletes do great things.
They are embraced by the fans and come to represent the city they play in.
The love-fest between Brees and the Saints is hardly surprising.
The fame and admiration Brees has gained by starring in his city certainly isn't unusual.
At the same time, the condition of New Orleans is far from ordinary.
As the Big Easy continues to rebuild, Brees has ended up representing the grit and determination of the people who stayed behind or returned to pick up the pieces.
Whether it's right or wrong, there is no debating Drew Brees is in fact the face of New Orleans.
In the days after the Super Bowl, we were ambushed by media reports documenting how the "championship spirit" has taken over New Orleans.
We want to believe Drew Brees has helped a city begin to heal.
We want to believe things are getting better in New Orleans, that the city is coming together and beginning to erase the painful memories of Katrina.
We want there to be happiness in the ninth ward, with the Super Bowl success providing a brief respite from the struggles to rebuild.
But ultimately, nobody should believe a sports team is enough to resurrect the city.
Life isn't that simple.
Ultimately, Brees brought a championship to a franchise that has never known success.
From the days of Aaron Brooks throwing the ball backwards to Mike Ditka mortgaging the future of the franchise to put Ricky Williams in a wedding dress, the history of the New Orleans Saints hasn't been filled with much happiness.
Even Archie Manning's productive days in the Bayou ended with many more losses than wins.
Suddenly, an unwanted quarterback came to town and helped engineer one of the most efficient and exciting offenses in the NFL.
Along the way, he even managed to win a Super Bowl.
There is no question Brees deserves a great deal of credit for changing the culture of the Saints.
Although the emotional component in Drew Brees' Sportsman of the Year award seems to carry too much weight, you can't argue with what he did on the field.
He became the face of a franchise that desperately needed to find direction.
In the end, Brees was the best player on one of the most polarizing NFL teams in recent memory.
It's just that simple.