There's a nurse that works in my office building who is one of the most upbeat people you will ever meet in the morning. Her face is usually full of life. This morning I got on the elevator with her and she looked like she had never been to sleep. As she was yawning and trying to get herself together I couldn't help but making a comment..."You haven't been to sleep either have you?" Turns out she was down in the French Quarters last night and had to get up this morning for work. I started with this story to prove that New Orleans is home to the people who can party real hard and grind out 8 -12 hour work days afterward with no problem. That's how we roll. I have never seen people look so tired and be so happy at the same time.
When I was seven years old I watched my first Saints home game on television. Back then the games never sold out so if you didn't have enough money to go you had to listen to the radio or follow the scores while watching another game if they were at home. We played the Falcons and I was real excited to see the home team actually play at home. The final score was 41-10 Atlanta. I don't know if the Falcons were running up the score but we sure didn't do much to stop them. This is my first solid memory of dozens that didn't end well. I could name them all but it doesn't matter now. If you follow the team you should realize like I do that the game last night played out exactly the way it needed to in order to close all the open wounds of things that went wrong.
It had to be the Vikings because the two of the Saints dream seasons were ended by them. I love Minneapolis as a city. I want to go there again but this morning I hope they feel just like we did after that playoff game in 1987. I hope all their fans tossed and turned thinking about every call and they have to avoid ESPN so they won't have to see Hartley's kick go through again and again and again. It had to be the Vikings.
How many times would something like the Reggie Bush muffed punt live on for years because it turned the game around and we lost? How many times did Jim Mora's teams dominate games in time of possession and statistics only to lose on a few mental mistakes? The botched hand off at the end of the first half had to happen.
How many games did the other team get the ball and drive for a winning score and we sat back praying for our defense to just make one play but it never came and we had to sit there and take the stomach punch? Tracey Porter's intercept had to happen.
How many times did referees call penalties on us that changed games and we couldn't see them even after watching the replay 20 times? A few of those happen last night. The interference call in overtime was legit and we paid dues for the referee to throw that flag.
How many times since Morten Anderson left have we been haunted by horrible field goal attempts? Anyone remember the River City Relay extra point try? Garret Hartley's kick had to happen.
How many times have the Saints signed free agents that couldn't play, made trades for people that never came through, gave up on draft picks too soon or had someone playing that no one ever heard of and they sucked? Jabari Greer, Darren Sharper, Jonathan Vilma, Devery Henderson, and Pierre Thomas all had to contribute to this win.
This may sound corny but I don't know what New Orleans would look like right now if the team would have moved. The Saints are the one thing that everybody connects with. The Colts and Archie's son are next. Win or lose this team doesn't owe me anything else. All I want to see is those shiny gold helmets run out of that tunnel in Miami. It's going to be a beautiful sight.