Brees goes to bat for new Pro Bowl format

Associated Press/CBS photo by JOHN PAUL FILO -- In this photo provided by CBS, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, left, joins host David Letterman on the set of The Late Show with David Letterman in New York on Wednesday.

Associated Press/CBS photo by JOHN PAUL FILO — In this photo provided by CBS, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, left, joins host David Letterman on the set of The Late Show with David Letterman in New York on Wednesday.

Drew Brees’ appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman” marked the second time Wednesday that the Saints quarterback voiced his excitement about the new Pro Bowl format the NFL unveiled this year.

“It was more like a real football game,” Brees said about the Pro Bowl, to which players for the first time were voted without regard to conference before they were then divvied up into two teams in a schoolyard-style draft. “You give guys an extra edge: ‘I’m here to produce and help my team.’

“You’re more invested by the score and everything else. (The hitting) was cranked up a little bit. We got hit a little more than we’re used to being hit.”

A few hours earlier, Brees appeared on Fox Sports 1’s “Super Bowl Daily” and echoed similar sentiments about this year’s Pro Bowl, which his team — overseen by Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice — won 22-21 on a late two-point conversion.

“I think some guys had their feelings hurt because of where they were drafted or weren’t drafted,” said Brees, who threw a touchdown in the game to All-Pro Saints tight end Jimmy Graham as well as an interception on 9-of-19 passing for 81 yards.

Brees was a player-captain who helped Rice choose his team, and he said, “I had at least five or six guys come up to me and say, ‘Hey, you drafted so-and-so ahead of me?’ And now they’ve got something to prove; so if they weren’t motivated going in, now they were.”

That was about all Brees said about the Pro Bowl on Fox Sports 1, however, because he strangely spent the rest of the segment sharing one story about how he accidentally struck former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin in the head with Mardi Gras beads during the Saints’ Super Bowl victory parade in February 2010 and another about how he stabbed Nagin in the hand with a pair of scissors at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Other topics Brees addressed with Letterman on Wednesday included:

— Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, whom Brees called “a smart, well-spoken guy.” Sherman tipped a pass aimed at 49ers wideout Michael Crabtree, resulting in an interception that clinched a Super Bowl berth for Seattle. Sherman then declared he was the “best corner in the game” and called Crabtree a “sorry receiver” in his post-game interview on the field, causing a national uproar.

Brees thought the media “probably built that up a bit more than they needed to.”

“Listen, he’s an outspoken guy,” said Brees, whose Saints lost to the Seahawks on Dec. 2 and then in a playoff game on Jan. 11. “That’s just his personality. That’s just the way he plays. … They just caught him at a bad moment.”

— Peyton Manning, who has Brees’ support to win Super Bowl XLVIII this Sunday with the Broncos. Manning, who’s turning 38 in March, set NFL records this season by passing for 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards. The second mark beat one of 5,476 yards that Brees posted in 2011, a campaign that Manning missed after undergoing a career-threatening surgery to alleviate neck pain while he was with the Indianapolis Colts.

“If this is the last game of his career or it’s coming to an end soon, it’d be an unbelievable way to go out,” Brees said about Manning, who was with the Colts when they were beat in Super Bowl XLIV by the Saints.

Brees noted that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is “an unbelievable player” who can expect to have more championship opportunities in the future. On Thursday night, he went on “The Colbert Report” and said Wilson is “mature beyond his years; he’s a true pro — the more success that comes his way, the more humble he becomes.”

— Lastly, Brees told Letterman he’s hoping he and his wife, Brittany, one day have a daughter to go with their sons Baylen, Bowen and Callen.