The Saints

It’s really quite amazing that I haven’t written about my beloved football team.  Having been a New Orleans Saints fan since I was able to speak, I find myself wondering, “what has taken me so long…?”

Friends of mine know that I follow professional football somewhat extensively.  Many would even confirm that even though I do love watching me some LSU football, Saints football is still number one in my book.   Many people prefer college ball over pro, I however am the reverse.   I love the competitiveness that surrounds professional football.   To me, it’s just a cleaner and funner game to watch.  With that said, I feel compelled to spread my thoughts on the phenomenon going on in the NFL right now, namely the Saints.

Several people would vouch for me when I say this, but I knew before this season started that the Saints were going to be a team to reckon with.   I can recall several conversations that I have had with different people when asked how I felt the Saints were going to do this year.  To all of them, I said the following, “I really like what they’ve done in the off season.   They’ve made some good pickups and I feel that they’ve done enough to get themselves back into the NFC Championship game.  What they do beyond that is going to be up to the Saints.”

Having been wanting to take my wife and Trace to watch a Saints game, I told my wife that this would be the year to go, because I had such high aspirations for the team and it would be great to say later on that we saw a Saints game during that 2009 year.  With that, I purchased tickets to the Saints game scheduled for October 3, 2009 back in July (as soon as they became available).

As luck would have it, my plans on attending that game were halted.  My boss decided to send my wife and I to Orlando for some training and it conflicted with the Saints game that I had tickets for.  So, I had to sell them to a friend.  It was ok though, I would simply buy tickets for a later contest.  However, I could never find a game that would fit with our schedule and as time went on, tickets became scarce and much more expensive.

The Saints game on October 3rd featured two unbeaten teams: The Jets and The Saints.  The Saints went on to win that contest as I watched it from a bar in Orlando.  I knew as I watched that game that my friend that purchased the tickets from me was certainly enjoying herself.

From that point on, the Saints just kept winning.  Beating insurmountable odds, they find themselves overcoming HUGE deficits to eventually win the game.   How? These are the Saints.  The Saints don’t come back in games.   In fact, historically they’ve been the team that blows leads.  Who are these guys?

So, week 8 rolls around and the Saints find themselves on Monday Night Football playing the Atlanta Falcons in the Superdome.  The commentators are beginning to give the Saints some credit.  However after beating the Falcons and going 7-0, the talk commences about the possibility of being 10-0 when they face the New England Patriots the next time they’re on Monday Night Football.   LA LA LA LA LA LA. I don’t want to hear it.  LA LA LA LA LA LA. Don’t jinx them.  LA LA LA LA LA LA LA. One game at a time please.

Four weeks later, I find myself in Disney World with my family and the Saints are 10-0.  That Monday Night Football showdown that the commentators were salivating for is here.  I get the pass from my wife to break free and watch the game at the ESPN Sports Club at Disney.  I couldn’t even get into the door at the place.  It was packed.  I had to get pitchers of beer and watch the game outside.  What was even more amazing was the number of Saints fans that were there.  And not just Saints fans, but people from New Orleans.  It was crazy.  I befriended another poor soul that couldn’t get a seat inside.  So one pitcher turned into six.  I had a great time watching the undefeated Saints knock off the marquee New England Patriots.

After that, I had to start thinking that maybe, just maybe these Saints can win the rest of them and finish the rest of the season at 16-0 (an accomplishment that the same New England Patriots did just a mere 2 years ago).  Why stop at 16-0 though?  Why not roll through the playoffs and *gasp* reach the Superbowl?

Really?  Am I finally able to use Saints and Superbowl in the same sentence?  Can it be possible that this really is their year?  I mean, I knew they were going to be good, but not undefeated.  Not by a long shot.

As I watched the game yesterday against the Washington Redskins,  I have to admit that I was indeed worried about the Saints.  I have a friend that is a huge Redskins fan and he’ll acknowledge that I was giving his team props the day before.  I felt that the Saints would win it, but I didn’t think it was going to be a walk in the park.

So, with under 2 minutes to go with the Redskins up by 7 and in position to kick the field goal to go up by 10 and thus ending the magical ride, I walk into my home office with my head down, I hold back the tears as I tell my wife that I don’t think they’re going to do it this time.  11-1 is nothing to be ashamed of and that 30 other teams would be happy to be where the Saints are at.  I walk back into the living room in time for the commercial to end and back to the game.  Washington lines up for the field goal…. holy fucking shit! Suisham missed it! Oh crap!   Saints ball!  Come on Brees, let’s score that fucking touchdown! Brees proceeds to drive the Saints right down the field to score and tie the game up at 30.  Wow!

Uh oh, too much time left.  Saints kick the ball off and the entire Saints nation patiently wait to see if the defense can finally stop the Skins.  INTERCEPTION!!!  Oh my fucking god!   The Saints can win it in regulation.  This is insane!  Missed the field goal (too long of an attempt anyway).  That’s ok, let’s win it in overtime…

Brees calls tails, the coin toss is heads… Washington wins the toss.  Shit.  Campbell starts moving his team with a quick pass for a gain.  Then a run for another gain.  Campbell then throws the ball to Sellers where he is tackled and fumbles the ball and recovered by New Orleans, but the officials rule him down before the fumble.

Timeout Saints.  Oh Brilliant!  Overtime rules dictate that coaches cannot challenge plays as all replays will be handled by the booth.  So in order to buy more time, Payton calls a timeout in order for the officials to take another look, they decide to review the fumble….OVERTURNED and the Saints have the ball.  Holy fucking shit!

Hartley kicks the field goal and the Saints improve to 12-0.  The have now tied the franchise record for wins in a season and the NFC South Division.  Yay!!!!

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