It's been five days since the New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl 44. I think I've calmed down enough now to write a few words about this historic event.
First let me say, I was a bit surprised. I knew the Saints would play their hearts out and keep the game close, but I actually thought the Colts would come out victorious. I know, I know, I should have had faith. I should have believed in this team. I did, all year long! I just figured the fairy tale would end on the field in Miami with Peyton Manning directing the Colts passing game to a slim victory over the Saints. Man, I'm glad I was wrong! When Tracey Porter stepped in front of that Manning pass and high stepped his way into the end zone, I screamed at the top of my voice, "It's over! Saints win the Super Bowl!" After that I was kind of in shock.
I'm not going to recap the entire game, we all saw it, at least most of the country did. The game set a television record for the most viewers ever. It knocked off the 1983 series finale of the great M*A*S*H, with over 106 million households tuning in to see if the once lowly Saints franchise could step on the NFL's biggest stage and make history.
The energy that is pulsing through New Orleans and the entire gulf south region is amazing! As fans of this team, we know the Saints have become tightly woven into the fabric of this city and region for the last forty plus years. Now the rest of the world can see that as well. They can see it in the faces of the fans that made the trip to Miami and attended the Super Bowl, in the joyous revelers partying on Bourbon Street, the jubilation of fans in the still hurting 9th ward, the elation along the still unrecognizable Mississippi gulf coast and the celebrations of the Who Dats's going on in cities like Houston, Memphis, Atlanta and other cities where huge blocks of Katrina exiles now call home. The energy has indeed reached across the nation.
The Black and Gold "Bless You Boys" have given this city more than they may ever realize. It's not a stretch to say they have given the city its pride back. They have brought joy to people who at times thought they may never experience happiness again. They brought much needed positive exposure to a region still reeling from a natural disaster that has made the region unattractive to business and investors. This team has given the city its soul back. New Orleans, although still in need, has come full circle since Katrina blasted through the region and caused the levees to send the waters of Lake Pontchartrain surging through the Big Easy. All this thanks to a group of hard nosed, tough as nails, New Orleans loving football players!
Finally, my family and I were able to witness first hand this wonderful exuberance Tuesday afternoon. We made our way through the gridlock of traffic from the Northshore where we live, down into the city. A trip that normally takes forty-five minutes took us over two hours. But it was worth it. We stood amongst the throngs of revelers on Poydras Street in front of the Super Dome and celebrated "Lombardi Gras"! The city leaders and the Times -Picayune proclaimed Tuesday February 9th as "Dat Tuesday"! The fans didn't care what it was called, they just wanted to celebrate this amazing season with their beloved Saints in the best way they know how, a Mardi Gras style parade! And what a parade it was! From the first float carrying owner Tom Benson and his wife, to MVP Drew Brees on his Bacchus ride, to Garret Hartley signing autographs from atop the huge shoe float, to the final jewel of of a float with coach Sean Payton still waving the gleaming Lombardi Trophy to the screaming crowd! What an evening! What a team! What a city!
Can I get a "Who Dat?"