All three of us were holding our breaths. They didn’t know how important and monumental it was. My daughter covered her eyes, shook her head, and said, “He’s not gonna make it. He’s not gonna make it.” This has been a season rife with kicker screw-ups. I’d already willed that last minute interception. How could I ask for more?
Secret Service is going to have to carry that child out of the ‘Dome. We’ve waited so long for this. The guys have worked too hard to lose it this way.
Growing up, being a Saints fan meant having an intimate relationship with red faced frustration. We were frustrated because we had a good defense, with an offense that wasn’t worth snot. We had a good offense, with a defense that would all but lay down on the field. The coaches were either too conservative or too sloppy. Our oldest fight song only spoke of going to the playoffs, because we dare not dream of the big dance. The Saints just weren’t that type of team.
And what’s all this “we?” You don’t play football.
And that proves that you don’t know what it means to be a true New Orleanians. And yes, if you do not love the Saints, you are not a true New Orleanian, as they are entwined in everything that it means to be a part of this city. You know what’s going on in every bar in the city on a Sunday. You know that you probably shouldn’t bother your dad or your uncles on Sunday because they’re cussing Phillips and Mora and Ditka (remember that disaster). Our franchise started in 1967. We didn’t have a winning season until our franchise’s 21st year. A playoff win didn’t come to us until 2000.
As New Orleanians, we know what it means to be disappointed. We’ve been through the worst nature has had to offer. And when that horrible tragedy took place, our team came through for us. We showed up and showed out. As Saints before them had done, they wrapped themselves in the fabric of this city. The 2006 season was dedicated to us. Even though they didn’t win, we were proud of them, because we know that they value us as much as we value them. They are a part of the heartbeat of our city.
So it took me a moment to scream as I watched one of the most perfectly kicked field goals crown us the NFC Champs. And when I started screaming, I couldn’t stop. Because this was over 40 years in the making. It was my entire life. It made me a little misty thinking of my father, a life long fan, being emotional because he witnessed history. In actuality, it wasn’t just me that willed that interception. It was all of us. The fans. The Saints’ 12 man.
And so, WE’RE going to the Super Bowl. And we’re gonna win. BIG. I don’t care who we’re playing. Until the scoreboard says otherwise, we are the champs. You’ll be hard pressed to find a Saints fan that doesn’t believe this. So, is a football game that big of a deal? Hell yeah.
We don’t care who that other quarterback’s daddy is.