Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Last Football Blog From The City Of Champions

I think I just wrote an 900 word post just to get a chance to put up a picture of the Lombardi trophy but I couldn't help myself. I’m sorry this season had to end. The beauty of how everything turned out is that six months ago if I would have titled this post the way I did everyone would have thought I moved. Deep down everyone in New Orleans, from New Orleans, or around New Orleans felt like champions already inside. They were just looking for a way to show the world how they felt. That is the key ingredient of Saints Fever. How else can you explain people that don’t know a touchdown from a free throw coming up to me to talk about how many times Gregg Williams blitzed Brett Favre? 800,000 people lining the streets in the cold last night just to get a glimpse of these guys pretty much put the exclamation point on it. Let's finish this football blogging strong.

I have a few more things to say before we close out the season and move on to other things. My years as a season ticket holder taught me that it was not a good idea to watch the game with anyone but family or close friends. I’m too into what’s going on and I may say something out of character. I watched all but two of the games this season in the same spot. The week after the NFC championship game my favorite hobby was going online and finding video clips of people’s reaction to going to the Superbowl. It was cool to see how other people reacted to that moment like I did. There is one clip I ran across that sums up what this season did to the vibe of this area. Somewhere under the interstate after that game there was this group of about 20 young black men celebrating. They were in this circle jumping up and down singing the chorus to one of my favorite Saints songs from the season, “Ya’ll boys ain’t messing with dem Saints!!” They were hyped. It wasn’t a normal New Orleans hype either. It was first time Saints are going to the Superbowl hype and that’s a whole different kind of energy. They were so energetic and jumping around so much that unless you were prepared to get knocked down you shouldn’t be getting in the middle of that. While I was smiling and feeling jealous that I wasn’t in the middle of it out of nowhere came this white guy and his female companion. They had to be in their late 30’s or early 40’s. They jumped right in the middle of those brothers and started getting bucked up too! I think the lady got a chest bump and everything. That couple didn’t look the least bit afraid and those brothers were not the least bit puzzled about why they jumped in. They were all there together representing their city. That explains why sports make so much money. Nothing else in our society has been structured to generate that kind of reaction between different kinds of people. I don’t know how long the feeling can last but at least now we have a point of reference of what it could be if things start going downhill.

Now that the season is over the question becomes ‘who dat’ among us is going to do what we have to do to keep the winning spirit going and change the conditions in the city. Are we going to translate our championship spirit into our own personal performance and good deeds? The one thing about the Saints team that I admired over everything else is that they were a team and everyone did their job. They didn’t just wait around for Drew Brees to win games for them. He deserves his time in the spotlight since he’s the leader but everyone chipped in to get to the top. We have to be just like that. We all have to do our job and take care of our own individual responsibilities and everything will be okay. The day before the game I went to a pretty informative parent meeting at my baby’s school and there were less than ten families there. It doesn’t take over 24 hours to get ready for your Superbowl party. Sean Payton may be the best coach in the NFL right now but he can’t help us with these real problems. We have to do all that hard stuff ourselves. Eventually we are going to have to talk about things as bluntly and honestly as possible and it won’t be warm and fuzzy. It might get a little ugly but that shouldn’t be expected after all these years of division. I don’t have a problem with that as long as we are working towards making progress. If everyone starts bitching and moaning just to keep their supporters divided enough to hide their incompetence I’m going to put in my Superbowl DVD and watch Tracy Porter’s intercept another 500 times to refresh my spirit again.

I guess after waiting 43 years for a title, getting washed out, rebuilding homes, rebuilding sanity, trying to find a way to sleep more than two hours a night, dealing with all kinds of other problems and being a Saints fan through the Ditka and Haslett coaching years, I guess I can chill to the end of Mardi Gras and bask in the glow of my team winning it all. I think we earned that much.

I’m a proud member of the Who Dat Nation since 1980 and we are the NFL champs. It's been a glorious time.


All you fans from the 31 teams looking up at us ask yourself this question. Would your quarterback show up at a bar full of regular folks and do this? I don’t think so. That's why he's the MVP.


Beauty Jackson said...

I have a total fan girl crush on Drew. They are the heartbeat of the city. I'm one of those folks who believe in two seasons: Football season, and everything else. It's hard to watch it end, but we've got next year.

Pistolette said...

I have no interest in football and yet I'll never forget this week. I rarely even cry but I keep breaking out in tears over the lamest shit right now. I love this crazy city.

Leigh C. said...

Bless you, Cliff. We need to keep that good feeling going for all our sakes, truly.

Helluva season.

mominem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mominem said...

Those weren't regular people in that bar, They were Saints Fans.

K. said...

Great post, Cliff, from beginning to end. It's wonderful the way that sports can bring a city together across all of the things that divide us. For that moment in time, at least, that couple would been in greater danger on Main Street, USA in Disneyland. And you're right: We need to figure out a way to keep the momentum.

Anonymous said...

Cliff, I justwanted to drop a note and say how fantastic your writing has been throughout this. Really, thank you so much for conveying what a true Saints fan feels so well.

Anonymous said...

I love all your posts, but this one was extra special. Thank you for writing it.