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Story Archives: More than a Super Bowl
|More than a Super Bowl|
Not in my lifetime have I witnessed Louisianians come together like they did in support of the New Orleans Saints' trek through the 2009 season.
It culminated, of course, Sunday night in Miami when New Orleans captured its first-ever Super Bowl behind a 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
Men, women and children from all walks of life proudly displayed their support for the Saints throughout the '09 gridiron campaign.They communicated it verbally as well at literally every turn, in literally every nook and cranny in the state.
"Who Dat" should forever be burned into our psyche.
By the time the Super Bowl arrived, enthusiasm for the Saints reached a fever pitch. Only the most pessimistic among us (I was one of them) gave the Colts a fleeting chance to out duel New Orleans, a franchise that disappointed so many far too many times during its 43-year run in the NFL.
It was only fitting that Drew Brees -- a man who obviously is as committed to helping New Orleans rebuild in the wake of Katrina as he is to the New Orleans Saints -- was the team's leader all year long. His performance was remarkable.
It was only fitting, too, that Brees outplayed three of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL to pace New Orleans in the playoffs. His performance against Indianapolis in the Super Bowl was nearly flawless. Grace under pressure comes to mind.
Ironic instead of fitting would be an appropriate description of the much-anticipated showdown between Brees and Colts quarterback Peyton Manning whose father, Archie, remains widely popular so many years after his playing days with the Saints came to a close. It's a made-for-TV script.
Some two weeks ago when New Orleans held off Minnesota in overtime to win the NFC championship I would be less than honest if I didn't admit I was sorely disappointed to hear Saints owner Tom Benson not acknowledge the state of Louisiana and her people in general for the support they've extended to Benson's team. He made up for it Sunday night in the remarks he delivered as he accepted the Lombardi Trophy.
To paraphrase, Benson said the Super Bowl victory was for the city of New Orleans, her people, and he made it a point to declare that the world title belonged to the state of Louisiana, too. Louisiana is back, Benson said.
Though he has created quite a few detractors through the years amid efforts to secure lucrative incentives from the state to ensure the Saints remained in New Orleans, Benson proved Sunday that his heart is in the right place. Kudos to him.
Over the past couple of weeks as Saints fans got more giddy than they already were, I couldn't help but wonder what the state of the state of Louisiana would be if we channeled some of that energy into improving our lot in life here. The sky would be the limit if Louisianians got as enthusiastic about improving education, the environment, health care and the like as we got about the Saints over the past five-plus months, or the past 43 years for that matter.
Yet, on more than once occasion since the Saints won it all we've been exposed to interviews with people from all over Louisiana who said the big win in Miami gave them hope. That's certainly a start.
Suffice it to say that a Super Bowl win for New Orleans means much, and if it takes the Saints winning their first Super Bowl in the history of the franchise to motivate the people to insist on the best for Louisiana, I'm all for it.
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