Last night was Super Bowl Sunday, and what a Super Sunday it was as the New Orleans Saints went “marching in” down in south Florida. They bested a juggernaut called the Indianapolis Colts, who time and again this past season had proven they could find ways to win.
It was a hard-fought game and I have to give Peyton Manning all the credit in the world. The man is the epitome of the term “field general.” Under his leadership, the Colts seemed to be able to move the ball almost at will. His offensive line punched huge holes for his running backs and protected Manning as if their very lives depended on it. All told, the Colts put forth a mighty effort, and had it not been for a few untimely mistakes, they may have walked away with the championship.
But the Saints were not to be denied. Their defense bent like it was made of rubber but never broke, and Drew Brees was equally commanding with his offense. Once their first quarter jitters went away, they began making the kind of plays they had been noted for all year. The receivers dove for catches and the runners made second and third efforts for those precious extra yards. Many times this past season they had come from behind to win, and last night they showed they still had some of that magic.
Saints owner Tom Benson has been around from the beginning, and he has watch his beloved team be the doormat of the league for many seasons. Before this year, the Saints had only won two playoff games in 42 years of existence. This year however, they bested that number by an all important one more. That one additional victory is not only a sweet, long-awaited joy for a faithful owner, but vindication for a quarterback some said was past his days, and a glorious celebration for the battered city they call home.
Last night opened a page in a new book for the City of New Orleans. The book that tells the long, hard story of a team that came from the city that sings the blues. The Saints have come from the bottom of the barrel. Risen above the days when ever faithful fans attended games with brown bags over their heads and calling their team the “Aints.” They have suffered through the seasons of glimmering hope, when Peyton’s father, Archie Manning mounted a one man show in a gallant effort towards victory.
With the Saint’s version of the blues now behind them, they have brought Mardi Gras to their adoring city early this year. New Orleans has always known how to throw a party and the celebration this year will be one for the ages. The image of a faithful owner, a bold head coach and a never-say-die quarterback hoisting the Lombardi Trophy will be forever etched in the hearts of the “Who Dat” nation. For a city wrought with heartache and loss, the New Orleans Saints have given their homeland a reason to stand up and cheer.
Fat Tuesday will never be the same. Hats off to the new World Champions of the National Football League, The New Orleans Saints!
(Who Dat say dey gon’ beat dem Saints?!)
-T. August Green